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Brick Wall for new user :-( Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Never used Omni Outliner before but read some reviews, watched some video clips and thought that it was EXACTLY what I needed... so despite the (for the app store) high price, laid down my money and installed it on my iPad.

But I'm just hitting this brick wall - I was hoping for an app that would just work intuitively - to let the ideas flow and let me push into the outline what I wanted, how I wanted. Instead I'm fighting this thing every inch of the way and to be honest, just a couple of hours after my purchase I regret spending money on this.

I guess I should back all this bitterness up with some real comments so here goes:

(1) Named Styles - well I create a style with a certain background colour and font size... then when I use this style, no matter what font size the style is set to, it just goes to '20' regardless. I have to manually edit it to whatever I need it to be. This is pointless.

(2) I want to enter carriage-return on a list line? Nope - won't let me do this.

(3) Importing an image - could this have been made any harder? Don't think so. Why not just let me either take a photo or let me pick a file from my images on my device? Why do I need to leave and re-enter the app? This is such a crazy way of doing things and SO non-standard.

(4) Why can't I resize an image so I can see it all? This was mentioned in this forum and the response was to choose 'quick view' to see it - but no, I want to see my image completely in my outline. I should be able to do this.

(5) How can I import a mind-map from iThoughtsHD? I've seen lots of mentions on blogs that this is possible but I can't figure it out. Omni Outliner seems to be devoid of import options.

(6) PDF export - I've created this lovely outline. I'd like to save it as a PDF so I can distribute this. How?

(7) Minor point - I've emailed Omni Group from within the app - and received an auto-response to say they have the email. The auto-response contains an 'FAQ' which states that Omni-Outliner is not yet released for the iPad. Ummm... it might just be now, guys!

Look, I know I sound like I'm just moaning and complaining. Honestly, I'm not normally like this - and usually quite tolerant with App Store purchases - but this one chose to enter the store at a premium price and subsequently I thought I'd be buying a premium, polished product. This really isn't. It feels like it's barely been user-tested since it works GREAT for the OmniGroup canned demos but when you try to use this properly, for the myriad of uses we may come up with for it, it just isn't sufficiently flexible. Surely the whole point of this app is to be as flexible as possible - to make the organisation and collection of ideas easy and seamless? If I have to fight a tool like this, I simply won't use it. So I'm really disappointed by my purchase and REALLY hope there'll be some commitment to improving this product.

I was on the verge of also purchasing OmniGraffle but I'm really reluctant to do so now, fearing that I'll find the same incompleteness and awkwardness there also.

:-(

Jamie.
 
Sorry to hear you're having a bad experience with OO. Let me address a few of your points:

Quote:
Originally Posted by badmanj View Post
(1) Named Styles - well I create a style with a certain background colour and font size... then when I use this style, no matter what font size the style is set to, it just goes to '20' regardless. I have to manually edit it to whatever I need it to be. This is pointless.
This works OK for me... Remember the wrench changes the definition of the style and the i icon adds and removes styles on the topic. If I create a new style (with the wrench icon) and then apply that style to a topic line, it sets everything about it (font size, color , background, etc). Remember that you can apply more than one style at a time (using the i icon), so make sure you uncheck the styles that may be setting it to 20 for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by badmanj View Post
(2) I want to enter carriage-return on a list line? Nope - won't let me do this.
I think the idea here is that when you enter a carriage return, you are really trying to enter a note about the item, not really trying to create a two-line item. Tap the Note icon on the bottom bar to add a note. There you can press return and enter as many lines as you like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by badmanj View Post
(5) How can I import a mind-map from iThoughtsHD? I've seen lots of mentions on blogs that this is possible but I can't figure it out. Omni Outliner seems to be devoid of import options.
In iThoughts HD, tap the icon with the arrow inside the rectangle. You should see lots of options, including one at the bottom that says "Export Options". Go there and make sure "OPML" is checked. Then, tap the arrow again to export in to the place you want (email, iDisk). If you use email to send to yourself, you should have an OPML file in the email. Long tap the attachment from mail and you should see a popup menu with "Open in iThoughts HD" and "Open in...". Choose "Open in..." and you'll see a new popup, hopefully with "OmniOutliner" in the list. Choose it, and your OPML will be imported.

Quote:
Originally Posted by badmanj View Post
(6) PDF export - I've created this lovely outline. I'd like to save it as a PDF so I can distribute this. How?
This seems to be an often-requested feature, I'd imagine OmniGroup will be adding this due to popular demand, as I'd imagine DropBox support.

Work with it and I think you'll see the power of OO. Give OmniGroup some time to process, prioritize user feedback. The advantage of spending that much money is that you have a good company backing up the app and in my experience, they will listen to their customers.
 
All very well said Jaime,

I hope ssh's comments are able to help you out some.

Allow me to allay your fears about OmniGraffle.

First off, it's not a drawing app, it's a diagramming app. If you need a drawing app then look at iDraw. If you need to make flow diagram, ER diagram, or the like then there is nothing even approaching OmniGraffle as far as exceellents.

There are a couple of caveats:

1) No visio export - This is a serious failing for a premium product of this class. If you want to get Visio exports from the iPad then you'll need the Pro version of OmniGraffle desktop. Without THIS single feature it renders OmniGraffle significantly less value than it would otherwise be.

2) File management is still absolutely weak. They use cover flow which is a memory hog and an awful way to deal with more than a dozen diagrams. At least OG's cover flow is sorted alphabetically.

3) Alignment of shapes is funky. There are smart guides but it's much easier and quicker to use the grid, which has its own peculiarities. Once you get used to it things begin to flow but it doesn't just 'work' like you'd expect. Pasting with three-finger tap is the bomb.

Despite these things, and number one is HUGE, OmniGraffle is solid. If you need a diagramming app it is kind of a no-brainer. You can export as PDF and you can copy into OmniOutliner. Get iDraw for your doodles, OmniGraffle for your diagrams and you are set.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyCatMachine View Post
1) No visio export - This is a serious failing for a premium product of this class.
It's only a serious failing if you have the misfortune of working with Visio users. I suspect the number of users making requests for this functionality is actually pretty small.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by badmanj View Post
(3) Importing an image - could this have been made any harder? Don't think so. Why not just let me either take a photo or let me pick a file from my images on my device? Why do I need to leave and re-enter the app? This is such a crazy way of doing things and SO non-standard.
You do it in exactly the same way you attach an image to an email in the Apple email app.
Quote:
(4) Why can't I resize an image so I can see it all? This was mentioned in this forum and the response was to choose 'quick view' to see it - but no, I want to see my image completely in my outline. I should be able to do this.
And just like in the Apple email app, you get the whole picture at its original size.

I'm told there are plans to add additional functionality to allow seeing the entire image in the outline.
Quote:
(6) PDF export - I've created this lovely outline. I'd like to save it as a PDF so I can distribute this. How?
PDF output (and printing, too) will undoubtedly arrive at some point. For now, one approach is to download a free trial of OmniOutliner for Mac and use the print to PDF option there. The trial will allow you to open and print a document even after the trial is up, you just can't make changes or create a new document.
Quote:

If I have to fight a tool like this, I simply won't use it. So I'm really disappointed by my purchase and REALLY hope there'll be some commitment to improving this product.
If you aren't satisfied, you've got 30 days from the date of purchase to request a full refund from Omni. You might also browse the release notes for the other Omni applications, and see just how much additional development and support goes on, especially with a new app.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
It's only a serious failing if you have the misfortune of working with Visio users. I suspect the number of users making requests for this functionality is actually pretty small.
Are you living in a bubble?

Fact is the entire office I work for uses Visio. I can either convert my OG files and give them something to work with or maintain some snobbish attitude that they are not worthy. Which is better for workflow? Sure, I'd agree that giving them all Macs and OmniGraffle would be the absolute best solution but the reality of it is that it ain't going to happen that way.

Your kind of thinking stifles products.

Last edited by HappyCatMachine; 2011-05-16 at 04:20 AM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
You do it in exactly the same way you attach an image to an email in the Apple email app.
Because OmniOutliner is a utility application, not a serious document creation tool. Let's see: Pages, QuickOffice, Office2, Blogsy, iThoughts, Notebooks, etc... all access images through the camera roll.


Quote:
And just like in the Apple email app, you get the whole picture at its original size.
Again, that reduces OmniOutliner's functionality to utility instead of a documentation creation tool. Why are you making excuses for bad functionality?

Quote:
PDF output (and printing, too) will undoubtedly arrive at some point. For now, one approach is to download a free trial of OmniOutliner for Mac and use the print to PDF option there. The trial will allow you to open and print a document even after the trial is up, you just can't make changes or create a new document.
Because everyone in a Mac user's world has a Mac, right? As a Mac user since 1985 I understand this tunnel vision. How about printing to a PDF from a browser with an HTML export? That is something any user could do regardless of platform.
 
I agree on the images issue. Many other apps, such as some listed above, handle them much more easily and intuitively than OmniOutliner.

Let's not use Apple Mail as a defense as if it's the pinnacle of design and usability or even an analogous type of application.

I'm pretty sure one of the OmniOutliner screenshots shows what looks like image thumbnails:



I'd love to be able to do this- without having to duplicate my images with thumbnail sizes that are then worthless if I want to switch to the quick view.
 
Thanks for the replies, everyone. I've been able to do some of the stuff I couldn't do before. The one exception is 'named styles' - this for me still won't work and I always get font size 20 regardless of the setting in the named style - all other attributes seem to work though. I'm suprised I'm the only one experiencing this - must be me.

For images, I agree that suggesting it works this way and this is acceptable, because apple's mail app works the same way is completely wrong. Surely it should work 'right' and how we need to use images, not in some inconvenient, awkward manner? The screenshot above with the 'thumbnails' style view is PERFECT. This is what I'd like to achieve and it's actually quite deceiving to show a screenshot like this since it does give the impression that the app works that way.

Regarding OmniGraffle - I'm primarily after using a tool for drawing up wireframes for applications - anyone used it for this on the iPad? If so, what do you think? Is it better than iMockups (which I'm using currently)?

Regards,

Jamie.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by badmanj View Post
Thanks for the replies, everyone. I've been able to do some of the stuff I couldn't do before. The one exception is 'named styles' - this for me still won't work and I always get font size 20 regardless of the setting in the named style - all other attributes seem to work though. I'm suprised I'm the only one experiencing this - must be me.

For images, I agree that suggesting it works this way and this is acceptable, because apple's mail app works the same way is completely wrong. Surely it should work 'right' and how we need to use images, not in some inconvenient, awkward manner? The screenshot above with the 'thumbnails' style view is PERFECT. This is what I'd like to achieve and it's actually quite deceiving to show a screenshot like this since it does give the impression that the app works that way.

Regarding OmniGraffle - I'm primarily after using a tool for drawing up wireframes for applications - anyone used it for this on the iPad? If so, what do you think? Is it better than iMockups (which I'm using currently)?

Regards,

Jamie.
I am a user interface designer and I use iMockups and OmniGraffle both for iPad and both for wireframes. I tend to move to Illustrator nearer to the end game when I need more granularity. OmniGraffle has really changed the speed at which I work and can deliver something that is more than a sketch in a notebook. I can't stand carrying around a laptop and OG for the iPad is just what the dr. ordered.

As to styles, make sure that you are selecting the line you want to apply the style to. You can apply styles to individual words (or characters) on a line. In order to apply a style to the whole line you have to select either all of the text OR the line itself. I usually click in the right or left margins of the page to select lines. Sometimes just a simple tap will do.

Your issue sounds very odd. What happens if you try zooming the page?
 
 


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