OmniOutliner 4: Highlights?

OmniOutliner 4
OmniOutliner 4

So I installed OmniOutliner 4 on my MacBook Pro, which I have upgraded (regrettably) to Mavericks, required to run OO4. I then found the list of new features under the help menu. For those of you who would like to see the list BEFORE you buy and install, here it is:

Welcome to OmniOutliner 4! Some highlights of the new features include:

Zooming — Text can now be magnified on screen without changing your print layout.
A brand-spanking new UI — Yes, that’s right folks, we’ve totally redesigned the UI in OmniOutliner 4. Out with the old paradigms and in with the new.
Resource Browser — Use the new Resource Browser to browse recently edited files, choose templates, apply themes to existing documents, and import your templates from OmniOutliner 3.
Sidebar — We’ve done away with the old style drawer from OmniOutliner 3 and have created a new Sidebar that lists the Contents of your outline, Styles, and more!
Inspector redesign — OmniOutliner’s redesigned Inspector window is cleaner and fresher.
Styles — To be more in line with OmniOutliner 2 for iPad, we’ve retooled the way styles work to create a great cross-platform experience.
Theming — You can now apply the styles from a template (its theme) to your outlines.
Column visibility (PRO) — Have a document with a lot of columns that you only need to access every now and then? We’ve added the ability to hide columns when you don’t need them, and then make reappear when you want them back.
Smart Match technology — Pop-up List-styled columns benefit from the Smart Match technology we’ve used in OmniFocus. As you type characters in a Pop-up List cell, OmniOutliner tries to guess which item you mean—and the characters you enter don’t have to be at the beginning or contiguous. If you type a new value that you’d like to add to the Pop-up List, just enter Command-Return to add the value to that list.
Hyperlinks — URLs are converted into real links so you can click and open them in your default browser. What’s more, if you don’t want or like this behavior, you can toggle this off in OmniOutliner’s preferences.
Attachments — You can attach pretty much anything to an OmniOutliner document: images, video, audio, even other OmniOutliner files. Attached images autoscale to the column width, and you can attach audio clips which play right within the Outline. What’s more, we’ve added a new attachment popover to replace OmniOutliner 3’s tagging, so you can change the visibility of attached images, use alternative text rather than a filename, and direct how OmniOutliner 4 opens attachments.

These are all fine additions, but nothing in this list makes the app a better OUTLINER. They warned us that cloning would not be part of this upgrade, though that was three years ago. You’d think since the v. 4 release was delayed by two years maybe they could have worked it in. No, these are all ways to dress-up your outline.

But there also appears to be some problems with this initial release. Like the Inspector panel shows up only as the top bar… there are no controls. (Never mind: see update2 below.) And tool tips don’t appear, so you have to guess at what the buttons do. So far, I’m disappointed. If that opinion changes, I’ll post about it here.

Update: Please feel free to give me your opinion about OmniOutliner 4 in comments. I would truly welcome an argument for why it remains the best outliner for Mac.

Update2: Turns out the Inspector works fine. I expected that just clicking on the Inspector button would open the panel, but indeed you have to go to the Window menu and select which panel you want to view from the Inspectors drop down list. Who knew? Apparently everyone but me!

3 thoughts on “OmniOutliner 4: Highlights?

  1. You don’t have to go to the Window menu and select which panel you want to view. There are buttons on top of the inspector for that. You can simply hoover over the buttons on top of the inspector and you’ll see that the text on top of the inspector changes.
    I wasn’t able to attach a screenshots to this comment, but feel free to ask me if you don’t understand.

    Have a nice day 🙂

  2. I finally got around to trying OO4. I think you’re right… there’s almost nothing new in this version (which is very surprising, because OO3 first came out eight years ago or so) beyond the ability to zoom in and out, which you could sort of do before by adjusting the font size.

    It is still easy to use, which is a big plus, but overall it’s quite a letdown after all of these years. And they’ve bumped up the price of the Pro version to $100!

    1. For me the worst part of it is that it requires Mavericks, which I am reluctant to upgrade to, given how it slowed the performance of my MacBook Pro. Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting.

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