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Photoshop-esque Smart Objects? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Is there any way to simulate smart objects that are found in Photoshop and Illustrator? The main functionality that would be useful is the ability to edit something once and have all instances of that object modified. I know this can be partially simulated with shared layers, but then you are restricted to having only one instance per canvas, and each instance will be at the same X and Y coordinates.
 
I realise that this is not exactly what you ask for. However, you do need to appreciate that (a) OmniGraffle developed and matured as a drawing tool in its own right, separate from other programs, and (b) there is a Apple- intuitive or OG way to do exactly what you want (but not in the exact same sequence of steps you request or that another program does).

You need to learn the Tool. You do the operation in Illustrator using Illustrator facilities; you do the same operation in OG using OG facilities; expecting either tool to operate like the other may not be a good idea.

1 Go to the Style:Summary Inspector
• read up on it (the manual is short and sweet; very good run-through at the beginning; can be downloaded), and play with it
• use the "wells" to pick up and paste the style-set you want onto an object
• get used to the method for copying Style-set from one object and pasting it to another object

2 Go to the Toolbar:StyleBrush
• read up on it, and play with it
• Learn the distinction between:
• a Tool chosen to operate once (one click)
• a Tool chosen to operate multiple times (two clicks) until it is cancelled
• the little down-arrow on the Tool icon (eg. ClearContents)
• get used to the method for copying Style-set from one object and pasting it to another object

3 Let's say you have proliferated an object 10 times. Whether it is on the same canvas or not, visible or not, matters, but now for now. Go to Canvas:Select Inspector
• choose your setting in the SortUsingStyles drop-down (you only need to do this once)
• choose your 10 objects by clicking, shift-clicking or command-clicking (not by selecting the objects on the canvas). Yes, because the 10 objects are not now the same, you will pick at least two Selections
• apply the Style-set you want, from either [1] or [2]
• often that will now make the 10 objects one Selection

Cheers
 
IncisiveOne,

Sincere thanks for the detailed reply. I was a bit familiar with those tools, but you have certainly illustrated just how powerful they can be. Unfortunately, I’ve realized that I may not have been as descriptive in asking my question as I should have. See the issue that I’m trying to solve pertains to groups of objects, not just singular objects. When I have something grouped together—say the header of a mocked up website—I may want to reuse that group at many places throughout the file. However, if I ever make changes to that group, I’ll have to manually replace each instance with the newly edited one. I was hoping that there existed some feature or workaround such that I could avoid that time-consuming and tedious procedure.

And again, thanks for the reply.
 
My pleasure.

Groups of objects.

Just so that you understand where I am coming from, I am actually a total IT geek, 32 years professionally (i.e running consultancies, not a salaried employee); normally I provide the architecture and the database, and 6 or 10 or whatever developers produce the code. OG is my drawing (and other) tool, 20 or so full-blown wireframes (sites not pages), and an awful lot of drawing before wireframes became the norm.

From your post:
1 You have decided on groups too early in the project; the titles, labels, ribbons, fontsizes should be stable before you proliferate them too much. Yes, of course you need a few copied instances before they settle down but do not render the entire site or large part thereof until the standards have settled down. Otherwise you end up with your problem, and the correction is tedious no matter which tool you use. If you have to make changes to large numbers of proliferated objects, I would say that by definition, your standards are not mature; and not mature enough to proliferate that many objects.

2 Separately. Once the standards are set, and you have drawn the site or large part thereof, you may still have to change (eg) the level-2 headings on many or all grouped objects. Given that your diagram (the entire site, not one page) is stable, you have to have a different attitude. It is no long a mock up, it is a rendered diagram, close to sign-off (and if it is not, then by definition, you are at [1] ).

First do this: View/CustomiseToolBar. Throw the Un/Group toggle out, and drag the Gruop and Ungroup buttons into the TolBar.

Select all the objects (which are each a group) you have to change via Canvas:Selection Inspector or by shift-clicking items all over the place. Let's say each group consists of 5 different shapes/lines, and you chose 10 grouped objects out of 100 on the canvas; you should have 1 well selected in the Canvas:Selection Inspector. Watch the Canvas:Selection Inspector during this next step. Hit the Ungroup button. You should now have 5 wells selected in the Canvas:Selection Inspector. Choose the shape/line/ribbon you want to change and <go back to my previous post, probably [3] >.

Do not bother grouping the 5 objects, 10 times; it is a rendered canvas.

Grouping is for convenience, not for fixing in cement.

3 You might find this thread useful. Suggest you read the whole thread.

Quote:
However, if I ever make changes to that group, I’ll have to manually replace each instance with the newly edited one.
Certainly not. I think you can figure it out from here.

Last edited by DerekAsirvadem; 2010-05-18 at 04:45 AM..
 
Thanks IncisiveOne

While this is a great way of modifying styles, I don’t see it working for text content and relative object size and positioning. Maybe I’ll throw in a feature request for that functionality.
 
Maz, welcome to the forums! OmniGraffle doesn't currently have support for these kind of smart shapes, but it is something we've gotten requests for.

If you email our support ninjas they can attach you to the item we have open on this in our development database.

The number of folks requesting a given change is one of the metrics the team uses by planning out their work, so by emailing the ninjas, you help this feature bubble up the priority list.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maz View Post
While this is a great way of modifying styles, I don’t see it working for text content and relative object size and positioning.
If you understand that the method does modify styles, then you need to accept that it modifies text-styles the same way (I do it, as detailed above).

Nothing changes text content except re-typing, so I am not sure what you mean (I think you mean something other than what you have posted).

It does change object size but not relative object size (assuming by "relative" you mean relative to the group size). but that brings up another issue: if you have the same object, proliferated in various places, as a different object size (as part of a group, and the group is a different size in each location), then you have a whole slew of different problems. I do not allow that in diagrams because it breaches standards, nothing to do with OG.

Nothing changes positioning except re-positioning, so that does not apply. If you mean relative positioning within the group, then it is back to the standards breach issue.

Cheers
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maz View Post
When I have something grouped together—say the header of a mocked up website—I may want to reuse that group at many places throughout the file. However, if I ever make changes to that group, I’ll have to manually replace each instance with the newly edited one. I was hoping that there existed some feature or workaround such that I could avoid that time-consuming and tedious procedure.
You can get close to what you want by leveraging OmniGraffle's LinkBack support. Copy the shapes as PDF (using Edit->Copy As->PDF), then paste them back into OmniGraffle in several places. The PDF images you paste back in will all refer to the same source objects, and here's the trick: you can double-click on any one of them to edit all of them.

Double-clicking on an image will give you a separate LinkBack source window where you can make your changes, and when you save in that window you'll see all of the images update at once.

It would still be nice to have true shared objects, of course, and that's what the request Brian mentioned is about—but I hope this technique is helpful in the meantime!

Last edited by Ken Case; 2010-05-19 at 10:22 PM..
 
Never tried that. Just did. Excellent.

In 4.2.3 there's a small bug: you have to Save the window, then Dismiss; if you dismiss the window, it goes through the SaveAs cycle and the change is lost. Submitted.

Last edited by DerekAsirvadem; 2010-05-20 at 03:41 AM..
 
I requested this essential feature some time ago, and also received the LinkBack recommendation. This does exactly what I want, but it seems a bit buggy and confusing. The thread is here:

http://forums.omnigroup.com/forumdisplay.php?f=10
 
 


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