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OmniOutliner Pro is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It's like having an extra brain - one that doesn't keep losing the car keys.

You can use OmniOutliner's document structure to create hierarchies of main headings and subpoints that can be expanded and collapsed, which are immensely useful when it comes to brainstorming new ideas, drilling out specifics, and lining up steps needed to get everything done. But you aren't limited to outlines - you've got multiple columns, smart more...

What's New

Version 4.1.1: Release notes were unavailable when this listing was updated.

Requirements

  • OS X 10.9 or later

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Most Helpful Reviews...

MacUpdate most helpful reviews user icon

I rarely use superlatives in reviewing a particular software application or developer, because if everything is the “best,” then nothing can be better. But I have to admit that, as a writer, and as an inveterate list-maker, and as planner and a more...

4 people found this review helpful
Version 4.0.2
MacUpdate most helpful reviews user icon
from Kaidoh

I'm sad to say I can't follow the raves about Version 4.

After 9 years (!) of waiting, Version 4 is a disappointment. I've been using this programm for thirteen years and was really hoping for some evolvement. Nothing more...

14 people found this review helpful
Version 4.0.4
Sort by: Time | Smiles
Kaidoh Member IconReview+85
Kaidoh
+14

I'm sad to say I can't follow the raves about Version 4.

After 9 years (!) of waiting, Version 4 is a disappointment. I've been using this programm for thirteen years and was really hoping for some evolvement. Nothing happened: No cloning or bookmarks or saved searches or perspectives or in-document-links to ease working in bigger outlines. In their blog the OmniGroup told, that the new Version shares OmniFocus' data structure. That fueld hopes that some of OF's sorting and filtering powers would appear in OmniOutliner ("perspectives"). Boy, what a overestimation! Searching is so very basic in Version 4, it is almost a joke (even in the version that calls itself "Pro"). Filtering is simply not possible - you can't even hide lines which checkboxes are ticked (that alone would have been a big help).

The export options are still limited - they simply have not changed from V3. Export to Word is still erroneous and not customizable, export to Pages: only via Word format. Keynote export only gives you the old Keynote 09 format. When I try to open that in the new Keynote, all I get are error messages. The Focus Mode (the feature formerly known as hoisting) ist is buggy and shows me ghost lines from parts of the document that should be hidden away. And if you liked the snippet functionality from version 3, you have to be very strong now: this one is gone in version 4.

What you get is a a lot of UI polish, some nice templates, minor changes in stylesheets, the ability to zoom text (whoa!), improved URI handling (yeah!). I know, changing the innards of a programm is not trivial. But as a end user I'm judging software by the functionality and user experience it delivers.

Functionality-wise OO has not changed. Version 4 is basically the same program we got almost a decade ago. I liked it ten years ago but it failed to catch up with todays needs. It gives you a hard time integrating it with other software in a workflow (yes, you can do it all by yourself by hand using XSLT or Applescript, but: sigh!). Also, collaboration was obviously never an issue in planning version 4. It's a one-user-per-time thing, but hey, you can use Dropbox and kin.

After 9 years the OmniGroup did not manage to deliver anything that made me think "wow".

I paid for V4 and I regret it. I once loved this outliner, but I will abandon it, file by file. For me, the feeling of potential has stalled into the feeling of a dead-lock. What a pity.

Reply2 replies
Version 4.0.4
Simonm
+4

One of the best reviews I've read on this site! Lots of specifics to back up your assessment.

I followed the development of this for a while but was shocked at the pace and the fact they seemed content with basically making Outliner 3...again! They seemed to struggle with getting a relatively stable release out the door at all despite months (years?) of development.

Omni Group clearly aren't what they used to be. They were always about charging a lot of money for fairly basic software (remember Omniweb!) but even so they now seem completely bereft of ideas and direction.

Bowlerboy_jmb
+5

I, too, will give Kaidoh a "smiley" for taking the time to delineate his reasons for not being as impressed with OmniOutliner Pro as I am.

I give my "smiley" to his review, not as an indication that I agree with his overall assessment, although I do appreciate his critical insights into what he considers flaws and inadequacies in the product, but more as a sign of appreciation that someone actually takes the time not merely to express a useless opinion that is akin to a teenager saying something like "I like it. It's got a good beat. I can dance to it," but that he tells us the reason why he likes or dislikes something with specific references to the features, or lack of features, he chooses to address.

I have longed lobbied for me intelligent, in-depth reviews to be written here on MacUpdate.com to make this site more valuable to the entire community, but I have personally elected to withdraw from further participating, primarily because I have gotten sick and tired of witnessing too many visitors here (usually cheap non-paying bastards) taking personal potshots at me personally, or at my sincere attempts to provide insights into products or developers who really do need to be occasionally whacked on the side of the head to improve their product. Some people seem so desperate to accumulate "smileys" that they regurgitate pablum type commentary that provides absolutely no insight—either positive or negative—that helps a user decide whether it is worth buying the software or not.

And, as far as I am concerned, that is the only purpose of writing a review, or injecting a commentary. To talk about the product, its features and its benefits, its usefulness as an additional tool in a Mac software arsenal, and, ideally, how it compares to others in the same category, so that an intelligent buying decision can be made.

Kaidoh has presented a very nice model for such a review, so, ironically, while it seems that I am merely reviewing his review, not the product, which I have done in my own in-depth review of 2/6/2014, I am really just adding a comment that I hope others will appreciate if and when they get around to writing either useless Twitter-like remarks, or in-depth analyses like Kaidoh, which I much prefer.

Bowlerboy_jmb Member IconReview+212
Bowlerboy_jmb
+4

I rarely use superlatives in reviewing a particular software application or developer, because if everything is the “best,” then nothing can be better. But I have to admit that, as a writer, and as an inveterate list-maker, and as planner and a thinker, I really on OmniOutliner Pro to organize just about every aspect of my life.

With the recent arrival of version 4, the OmniGroup, which I consider one of premier software developers in the entire Mac software world based on the overall high quality of all of its products, OmniOutliner finally gives us the zoom / magnification feature that was missing in its otherwise excellent renditions. It was often tiresome trying to read the tiny font sizes—especially as you get older and your eyes can no longer see the threads of the baseball coming at you, like they once did. It required a little extra work, all that having to create documents with very large font sizes to compensate for that design flaw. After all, I used to complain, if a browser can blow up the text on a web page, why can’t OmniOutliner be just as flexible?

Finally, that lack of magnification problem is fixed!

Version 4 also includes a much better written, better illustrated tutorial on how to create and use styles, which is one of the program’s most powerful features (among many!), but can be tricky to set up and execute until you get the hang of it.

This program is always open on my desktop, no matter what else I am doing. I can pop into it to make a quick note, do some brainstorming, think through a project with all its sub-sets and details, draft a letter, write a chapter of a book, draft an email, or even sketch out my MacUpdate reviews, which I what I am doing right now in it. Or, I can copy a URL to a website that I want to check out later, or record a voice note, or insert an image, or just outline a variety of things can be organized by a parent topic, and sub-divided into children sub-topics.

Some people (myself included) have rightly complained that the OmniGroup took their sweet time upgrading to version 4 and implementing the nice, new zoom in feature. It’s hard to judge a company if we don’t know their staff situation and their company’s priorities. But I can personally testify that this new version must have their attention right now. It must be important to them to fix any bugs in this new release and to make sure customers are happy.

For example, over the past couple of days, I reported through their built-in Crash Reporter, that the program crashed when I tried to revert to a previous version of the document I was working on. Today, I got a personal response back telling me that the problem was fixed and a new version was ready to be downloaded, which, as you see from the description, was one of the reasons incorporate into the minor upgrade to version 4.0.2. So, as I see it, now is the right time to buy, because the more people who start using the program while the iron is hot among their programming staff, the sooner any minor bugs can be squashed and the application made as perfect as it can be.

I suppose that there are other fine outlining programs available, but I have been so content with OmniOutliner Pro that I am not even tempted to try them out, even though I’ve obtained licensed copies of competing products included in some of the bundles I bought.

In short, I have no hesitation in recommending OmniOutliner Pro as a superlative product worthy of your consideration, and I would recommend that you give the demo a trial run to see for yourself. Once you compare its wide feature set with the other outlining products available, you’ll then have to decide if you want to buy the premier application in its category, or settle for a less powerful—and undoubtedly cheaper—product. The “best” product always deserves to demand a higher price. In the case of OmniOutliner, I find their price worth it.

Reply1 reply
Version 4.0.2
Bowlerboy_jmb
+0

Hah! Decent writer, but not such a good proof-reader, it seems. First paragraph should say:

"I rely on OmniOutliner Pro to organize just about every aspect of my life."

Maybe that error was fortuitous in allowing that one line to get highlighted like this, since that short comment pretty well sums up the essence of my longer review.

Iliketrash Member IconComment+206
Iliketrash
+3

How does OmniOutliner 4 compare to NeO (which costs $9.99)? Aficionados in the past have complained of missing features in OmniOutliner < 4 relative to NeO. Has OO 4 closed the gap?

Reply0 replies
Version 4.0.1
Szeoli Member IconComment+34
Szeoli
+0

There is a bug in this app. I bought my upgrade, and have been trying to use it all weekend, but the inspector window does not appear. I only get a slender bar that says "inspector," but no control or anything underneath. I've been waiting for a response from support since Friday (admittedly, its a long weekend here in the states). I'll post when and if they help me solve this.

Reply4 replies
Version 4.0
Gestalt
+1

I've not used OmniOutliner Pro previously, but am considering a purchase. I can confirm that the Inspector window does appear here on a recent Retina Macbook running Mavericks, although the title of the window is either "Style", "Column", "Outline", "Document", or "Style Attributes" depending. The word "Inspector" is nowhere to be found on the window as near as I can tell.

Raro
+1

The inspector window works fro me! However, you have to activate it: Window > Inspectors and then choose on of the 5 available entries (Style, Column, Outline, Document, Style Attributes).

Szeoli
+0

I thought just clicking the inspector button would open the panel, but it doesn't. You are, of course, correct, Raro. Activating it from the Window menu got it to work. Thank you.

Powercc
+0

I bought it today - and it works very fine, very fast - looks great

Mar6473 Member IconReview+164
Mar6473
+0

A great app, but it seems like they've dropped it. There hasn't been a new version in four years. It's very dated at this point.

Reply0 replies
Version 3.10.6
1984x Member IconReview+17
1984x
+5

I bought this to brainstorm some solutions to life's problems. I needed to distance myself from a coterie of riff-raff that I was surrounded by and to figure out a way to make some more money. OmniOutliner Pro helped a lot. It kept me focused. I improved my life. For $70 that is amazing. Thanks Omni Group.

Reply0 replies
Version 3.10.4
Shidong Member IconReview+63
Shidong
+1

very good software, just do not understand why changed to this ugly icon......

Reply1 reply
Version 3.10.4
Thresher-The-Shark
+0

Looks fine to me. The old one was starting to look a bit dated.

Chris Walken Member IconReview+19
Chris Walken
+3

For basic outlining needs, it has a very nice and easy to use interface especially with the sections drawer in the Pro version. (Styles, however, are sometimes not so easy to use). In fact, it's surprising that other apps haven't really been able to match its basic features. Development of new features is absurdly slow, if they hadn't said otherwise I would have just assumed they were done with it. Still a very good app.

Reply0 replies
Version 3.10.3
Vandulus Member IconReview+44
Vandulus
+4

OmniOutliner Pro was one of the earlier programs I bought years ago when I switched over to the Mac. Since then I've found it indispensable and use it on a daily basis for managing lists, inventories and ideas.

While it's extremely easy to use, there are some powerful features it has especially in regards to formatting. Omni is a mature and responsive company with great support and an active community.

That said the only complaints I have are:
- It's taking forever for Omni to put out version 4
- It gets pricey to buy Omni's apps especially when you need to buy for the iPad and iPhone. Bundle deals would be very nice!
- No iPhone version. Even a view-only version would be helpful!

Reply0 replies
Version 3.10.3
kbaxxx Member IconReview+11
kbaxxx
+1

Really nice outliner. Some things are a bit non-obvious (like splitting some text into two items), and sometimes it just doesn't respond to my typing for a number of seconds at a time. Also, If find the hoist function confusing. Apart from that, it's well designed, and easy to use, and quick to create outlines.

Reply0 replies
Version 3.10
user icon+2
ErvinsS
Version 4.0.6
user icon+2
Jclerch
Version 4.0
user icon+0
Esidesign
Version 3.10.6
user icon+0
Alex Tsubota
Version 3.10.5
user icon+44
Vandulus
Version 3.10.5
user icon+44
Vandulus
Version 3.10.4
user icon+0
Version 3.10.3
user icon+599
Anon-Bud
Version 3.10.3
user icon+15
Mx
Version 3.10
user icon+0
Asotvguy
Version 3.10
> 4 39

Ratings

Overall
(39)
Current Version (4.x)
(4)

Details

Downloads 112,978
Version Downloads 630
License Demo
Date 09 Jul 2014
Platform Intel 64 / OS X
Price $99.99
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