Opening and Importing Files in OmniGraffle

This chapter provides you with a quick overview of the file and image types supported by OmniGraffle. To help make it easy for you to find the file type you’re looking for, we’ve listed them in a convenient table, along with notations about whether that type is supported by OmniGraffle Standard or Pro.

Table 1: List of supported file types
File Type Standard Pro How to Open/Import
PNG (.png) Drag onto a shape, layer, or canvas, or into the image wells provided in the Image and Background Image inspectors.
JPEG (.jpg, .jpeg)
GIF (.gif)
BMP (.bmp)
TIFF (.tiff)
EPS (.eps)
SVG (.svg)
PDF (.pdf) Use one of the methods above to add a .pdf file to the canvas as an image. Or, to add its individual elements as OmniGraffle objects, choose File ▸ Open or drag the .pdf file onto OmniGraffle’s dock icon.
OmniGraffle Document (.graffle) Choose File ▸ Open
OmniGraffle Stencil (.gstencil) Choose File ▸ Open
OmniGraffle Template (.gtemplate) Choose File ▸ Open
macOS Folder Structures Drag a folder from the Finder onto OmniGraffle’s app icon in the Dock
Framework Files (.framework) Drag the .framework file from the Finder onto OmniGraffle’s app icon in the Dock
Graphiz DOT Files (.dot) Drag the .dot file onto OmniGraffle’s app icon in the Dock
Adobe Photoshop (.psd) From the Finder, select and drag the .psd file onto the canvas
Xcode Files (.xcodeproj) Drag the .xcodeproj file from the Finder onto OmniGraffle’s app icon in the Dock
OmniOutliner (.oo3) Choose File ▸ Open
Microsoft Visio (.vsd, .vsdx, .vdx, .vst, .vtx, .vss, .vsx, .vssx) Choose File ▸ Open; select the Visio file, and then click Open

Importing OmniOutliner Files

OmniGraffle interprets the contents of an OmniOutliner file as a diagram. As such, you need to choose a diagram style when opening an OmniOutliner file in OmniGraffle:

  1. After choosing the OmniOutliner file to import, the Import Outline dialog appears:

    The Import Outline dialog box.
  2. Using the pop-up menu, choose a diagram style:

    Choose a diagram style
  3. When you click OK, OmniGraffle renders the contents of the outline as a diagram:

    The rendered diagram, after importing an OmniOutliner file

When importing OmniOutliner files in OmniGraffle Pro, use the table to assign objects in the diagram style to columns in an outline:

Importing an OmniOutliner file into OmniGraffle Pro

If you want to show multiple columns of information for each item, use a diagram style that has grouped objects. You can also assign a column to the objects’ notes, or choose whether to place the outline in a completely new document or in a new canvas on the open document.

Importing Microsoft Visio Files

When importing Microsoft® Visio® (.vsd, .vsdx, .vdx, .vst, .vtx, .vss, .vsx .vssx), it’s important to note that Microsoft® Visio® saves its files in an XML-based binary file format which can be read by OmniGraffle Pro.

While OmniGraffle Pro can open the binary Visio file, you are prompted to save the file as an OmniGraffle Stencil file (.gstencil). Once imported, you can edit and add to the stencil file as needed. If you need to use that stencil in Visio again, do the following:

  1. Open the stencil file in OmniGraffle.
  2. Choose File ▸ Export (Option-Command-E).
  3. Choose Visio as the export format at the top of the Export panel.
  4. Click Export.

OmniGraffle exports the file to Visio’s .vdx file format.

Also note that graphics in the Microsoft® Enhanced Metafile (EMF) format cannot be imported.

Supported DOT Syntax

OmniGraffle understands a subset of the DOT language used by Graphviz. This isn’t a full implementation of DOT, but it can be quite useful:

Table 2: Supported DOT syntax
Command Entity Types
URL (not on graphs) edge/line, node/shape
arrowhead edge/line
arrowtail edge/line
color edge/line, node/shape
dir edge/line
fillcolor node/shape
fixedsize node/shape
fontcolor edge/line, node/shape
fontname edge/line, node/shape
fontsize edge/line, node/shape
headlabel edge/line
label edge/line, node/shape
labelfontcolor edge/line
labelfontname edge/line
labelfontsize edge/line
orientation node/shape
rank node/shape
rankdir graph/page
shape node/shape
style edge/line, node/shape
taillabel edge/line
width node/shape

All Graphviz arrow shapes are supported, but a few do not correspond exactly to OmniGraffle arrow types. The inv, invdot, invodot, and invempty arrow types are replaced with the closest available OmniGraffle line ending.

Using LinkBack to Embed Content from Another Application

LinkBack is a way of embedding content between applications in such a way that you can always go back and edit the content with the software used to create it originally.

For information about LinkBack, and a list of applications that support it, see the LinkBack project page or the LinkBack repository on GitHub.

To embed OmniGraffle content in another LinkBack application, just copy and paste the content like you would normally. The same goes for embedding other applications’ content in OmniGraffle diagrams.

To embed OmniGraffle content inside a single object in OmniGraffle, select all of the objects on your canvas (Command-A), choose Edit ▸ Copy As ▸ PDF from the menu bar, and then Paste (Command-V). The objects you copied become a single image; double-clicking the object opens a new OmniGraffle window in which you can edit the objects to your heart’s content.

To edit OmniGraffle content embedded in another application:

  • Double-click the OmniGraffle content in the other application’s document; an OmniGraffle window appears containing the content.
  • Edit the content in the OmniGraffle window, just as you normally would.
  • In OmniGraffle, choose File ▸ Save; the content in the other application updates automatically.
  • To edit other LinkBack applications’ content embedded in an OmniGraffle diagram, just double-click it. When you save in the other application, the content in the OmniGraffle diagram updates.