More on OmniOutliner

by Giles Turnbull

Well, by happy accident it seems I missed out on one teeny weeny aspect of the OO3 beta testing programme: the NDAs we signed have been scratched, so we can start talking about the app in public now. Phew.

OmniOutliner will be released in two flavours: version 3.0, and Professional. I've been using a copy of the latter, so all these comments are based on my use of that.

This is a significant upgrade, there's a great many new features that expand the abilities of OmniOutliner, rather than simply updating existing features. Consider how OmniWeb's recent releases have impressed reviewers; the application has earned a reputation as a powerful browsing tool for professionals, one that is worth paying money for, even in a market dominated by free alternatives.

OmniWeb has unique features that no other browser developer has even considered. OmniOutliner Pro is now following the same path.

OOPro's new Inspector panel
The new Inspector panel

OOPro document window
A document window

With Named Styles, you can apply a style to a document, or even just a row or column. Individual rows can now have their own gutter color, and there are three new summaries available per-row (minimum, maximum and average).

The File menu now lets you open one of your Document Templates. When recording audio clips directly into a document, you can choose from no less than 14 compression methods in the Audio Preferences.

Notes can now be displayed inline, along with the rest of the document - a potentially useful option for many writing tasks, at least in my working environment.

The whole thing looks so much nicer. Just moving through a document highlights each entry with a cool rounded highlight color. Email addresses and URLs appear in their own little curved blobs; the experience is very pleasing to the eye.

The only problem I had with OOPro was on opening a particularly large outline file (actually, the exported OPML of my efforts to use TAO as an all-purpose writing tool). Opening it took quite a while, and making edits within it was slow. However, I think this has more to do with my iBook's RAM and processor configuration than it does with OOPro itself.

Hands up if you like outliners


2004-12-02 09:45:08
Support XML and ZeroConf?
Since you're revealing some of the new features of OmniOutliner, does the new version of OmniOutliner support Rendezvous (aka OpenTalk or ZeroConf)?

I requested this feature, but I doubt it made it into the mix. We use OmniOutliner pretty extensively at work. Recently, we got one of our clients hooked on it. It's a fabulous app. It would be phenomenal if a group could all edit the same checklist at the same time.

I'm also curious about the OPML support in OmniOutliner. I have to confess my ignorance. Does OmniOutliner 2.2.6 support OPML? As far as I know OmniOutliner only supports it's own proprietary XML standard xmloutline.

2004-12-02 11:10:06
Yup It supports OPML

I use it a lot to export to OPML, particularly for web based presentations.

2004-12-02 14:17:25
Interaction with OmniGraffle Pro?
How well will OOPro interact with OGPro? Do you think they will be integrated enough to be able to switch back and forth between them, while working on a project?
2004-12-03 16:19:35
OO Typeface and Fonts
My big gripe with current version of OO is regarding typeface and fonts. If, for example, Verdana is chosen as text font in OO Preferences and you open a new document, type a few entries and decide that this document needs to be in different typeface, you encounter problems. If you select all and change typeface to, in this example, Optima, current text already entered changes to Optima. The moment you start adding new entries, however, new lines revert to Verdana, including content of Notes window. This, in my opinion, is a mistake and makes the usage quite cumbersome. Like other text editors, new documents should open in default fonts set through Preferences; however, if you "select all" and change typeface in a specific document or OO file, all existing and future content should be in this newly designated typeface, including Notes window.

I do hope this is corrected.