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OmniGraffle Logo.png
OmniGraffle Professional running under macOS.
Developer(s) The Omni Group
Stable release
7.2.2 for macOS, 2.8.1 for iOS / for macOS December 7, 2016; 3 months ago (2016-12-07), for iOS January 9, 2017; 2 months ago (2017-01-09)
Operating system OS X El Capitan+, iOS 9.0+
Type Charting software
License Proprietary

OmniGraffle is a diagramming and digital illustration application for Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch[1] created by The Omni Group. It allows users to convey ideas, organize thoughts visually, and communicate these thoughts and ideas to the world. OmniGraffle is an industry standard tool for User Experience[2] design.


OmniGraffle is used to create high quality graphics and visuals. It's an iOS desktop and tablet application that features several design tools, along with a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface and a notes function that can allow users to annotate and create specification documentation for prototypes and mockups.

While OmniGraffle can produce a wide array of graphics and visuals, it's often used as a tool to create content maps, screen flows, and wire frames. Visuals are often referred to as “graffles."[3]

Although OmniGraffle is an industry tool, it lacks interactivity capabilities and is not easily used for team collaboration due to its limitations as a desktop and tablet application.

Differences between Mac, Mac Pro, and iOS Versions[edit]

The regular Mac version of OmniGraffle includes the following features: Document Syncing with OmniPresence, Graphviz Layout Engine, Artistic Fills for shapes, Bézier lines and shapes for creating straight or curved lines, Custom Stencils, Custom Templates, Multi-Page Documents, Multi-Canvas Documents, Multi-Layer Documents, Unit Scaling, Export, Smart Guides, Automatic layout, Path-Following Text, Custom Diagram Styles, Outline View, Manual Guides, and Mini Inspectors.

The Mac Pro version includes all the features bundled with the Mac version, and also Resolution-Independent Display Scaling, Shared Layers to share content between canvases, Visio Support, Tables, Non-Destructive Shape Combinations, Notes and Custom Data to set key/value pairs on objects, Presentation Modes, Multiple Editing Windows, Subgraph Support, Xcode Import, Pro Export Options include SVG and Photoshop, Object-Geometry Controls, and AppleScript automation & clickable Action support.

The iOS version includes Document Syncing with OmniPresence, Graphviz Layout Engine, Artistic Fills for shapes, Bézier lines and shapes for creating straight or curved lines, Custom Stencils, Custom Templates, Multi-Page Documents, Multi-Canvas Documents, Multi-Layer Documents, Unit Scaling, Export, Smart Guides, and Resolution-Independent Display Scaling. Features such as Shared Layers, Visio Support, Tables, Non-Destructive Shape Combinations, and Notes & Custom Data are available to iOS users as an in-App purchase.[4]

Application Resources and Tools[edit]

OmniGraffle design tools include canvases, templates, stencils, vector drawing, and grid guides. These design options allow users to not only make high quality visuals, but also create these visuals efficiently and effectively. Other features include auto layout and document management.


Canvases are spaces where users can create shapes. Attributes to creating a canvas include canvas name, sizing options, grid and dimension selections, and diagram layout. Users may create and also share canvases and layers, with automatic updates available. This gives users the option to create layers once, toggle layers to appear on desired canvases, and update automatically if changes occur.[5]


Templates are OmniGraffle application resources. Template documents can be manipulated by users for their purposes. A wide variety of sample templates are preloaded and available for users. Users may also create, edit, and save templates for creating consistent graffles.[6]


Stencils are OmniGraffle application resources. Stencils are clip art files that serve as elements, such as icons or buttons, for OmniGraffle documents. A wide variety of sample stencils are pre-loaded and available for immediate use. Users can also create, share, download, and preview stencils online as well through OmniGraffle's Stenciltown[7] or other stencil libraries, such as Graffletopia.[8]

Vector Drawing[edit]

Because OmniGraffle visuals are vector-based, visuals are composed of mathematical representations of pixels. Rather than creating free-hand drawn work, users utilize vectors to create these visuals. To minimize user-end visual creation, vector drawing also allows for all graphic images to be recreated.[9]

Smart Guides[edit]

Smart Guides is a tool that can be turned on or off. While moving objects around the canvas, Smart Guides provides users with highlighted grid lines to easily align objects on the canvas. It also provides additional ease for users with a dynamic snap-to-grid functionality for accurately snapping objects into alignment around the canvas.[10]

Extra Features[edit]

Other design features in the latest versions of OmniGraffle include artistic fill and stroke styles, text and shape scalability, path-following text, shape combinations, diagram styling, auto layout features for treemapping, and documentation management.

Import and Export[edit]

OmniGraffle provides easy filesharing and Visio support for Mac Pro users and iOS users through an in-App purchase. All users can export their graffles to JPEG, BMP, EPS, GIF, HTML Images, Template, Stencil, PNG, OO3, TIFF, and PDF. Additionally, Mac Pro users can import Visio, Photoshop[11] with layers, and XCode.


In many respects, OmniGraffle is similar to Microsoft Visio. The Pro version of OmniGraffle can both import and export Visio files created using Visio's XML export function. However, Omnigraffle doesn't provide CAD integration like Visio, since it lacks some features such as DWG or DXF (AutoDesk file formats), import/export functions, among others. Also it is important to notice that layers cannot be shared among some versions of Visio and OmniGraffle.

Version History[edit]

Recent Updates[edit]

The April 2, 2014 release of the 6.0.5 Mac version is compatible for Retina displays and also includes a revamped user interface with a "one-window" design, syncing capabilities across iOS devices, presentation modes for business solutions, and multiple formats for exporting and Visio support.[12]

The October 10, 2014 release of 2.0.1 iPad version includes fixes to previous bugs and issues discovered from the 2.0 release. The current features of the latest iPad version includes updates for Stencil Window, Drawing Tools, OmniPresence, Import, Rendering, Inspectors, and Images.[13]

On of March 5, 2015 the iOS app was updated to be a universal app, adding support for iPhone and iPod touch.

Previous Versions[edit]

OmniGraffle 4 added Bézier shapes and text-based hierarchical chart construction to the range of available tools. The last release of version 4 was 4.2.3 in April 2008 and targeted Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger).[14]

OmniGraffle 5 added Bézier connecting lines; previously connecting lines were bent to fit between their points which made them relatively easy to create, but was difficult to control with any great precision[citation needed]. Currently, version 5 is still available to download from OmniGroup's primary "downloads" page.

OmniGraffle can output to PDF, TIFF, PNG, JPEG, EPS, HTML image map, SVG, Visio XML, PICT vector, Photoshop and BMP bitmap documents. It also allows mental-mapping techniques in organizing information, as well as a style manager, allowing layout of web page prototypes or PDF documents, as well as outlines or brainstorming documents. OmniGraffle uses Apple's plist XML schema to store the data. The extension is .graffle.

According to former Omni Group president Wil Shipley, Graffle "sort of stands for 'graph layout'... but in general it was a nonsense word invented just to counter 'Visio'." [15][unreliable source?]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]