Sharing OmniOutliner Files with Other Apps

As we’ve mentioned, OmniOutliner is the bees knees when it comes to working with text. And for all of your text-hungry needs, we’ve made it easy for you to import text files and export in a variety of formats.

Exporting from OmniOutliner

You’ve finished working on your masterpiece, and now it’s time to share your OmniOutliner file with everyone else around you. For those times when you need to send an OmniOutliner file to someone who doesn’t have OmniOutliner (you have told them how awesome OmniOutliner is, right?), we’ve included a bunch of export file formats that you can choose from. To export an open file, choose File ▸ Export (Option-Command-E), and then choose one of the following options from the File Format pop-up menu:

When exporting a multi-column outline as CSV, OmniOutliner saves the .csv file using standard comma-separated values (CSV) conventions (i.e., each column is separated by a comma, and text with spaces is placed within quotations).
Excel 2010 Format (xlsx)
OmniOutliner exports the contents of your outline in an XML format that Excel 2010 can interpret and render.
Creates a like-named folder that contains an index.html file along with the necessary images and attachments that make up your OmniOutliner file. All of the styles you’ve used in OmniOutliner are converted to CSS and included in the index.html file.
HTML (Dynamic)
This option gives you everything that comes with the basic HTML export, plus an added outliner.js file. This JavaScript file is what makes the file dynamic, in that you can open and close the sections of your document just as you would in OmniOutliner.
Microsoft Word (indented) (Pro)
Microsoft Word (outline) (Pro)
Exports your beautifully-crafted OmniOutliner file into a .docx file that you can open in Microsoft Word. The difference between these two options is:
  • Choosing Microsoft Word (indented) creates a .docx file that opens in the default page layout view and retains the outline structure. Choose this option if you need to send your outline in a more common format.

  • Choosing Microsoft Word (outline) creates a .docx file that opens by default in Word’s Outline view. Choose this option to export an outline that can be readily expanded upon in Word. However, if your original outline contains images, Word detects the image resources in the file and renders the document in Page Layout view instead. If you switch that document to Word’s Outline view, you will see big blank spaces where the images should appear.

MS Word (HTML) (Pro)
Exports a .dochtml file which you can open in Microsoft Word.
OmniOutliner 3
Exports a .oo3 file which can be opened in either OmniOutliner 3 or 4 for Mac, and in OmniOutliner 1 and 2 for iPad. These files are not compatible with OmniOutliner 2 for Mac and earlier.
OmniOutliner 3 Template
Exports a .oo3template file which can be opened in either OmniOutliner 3 or 4. These files are not compatible with OmniOutliner 2 or earlier.
OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language)
Exports a .opml file, which retains the hierarchical structure of your outline. However, OPML files do not retain any of the styles you may have applied in OmniOutliner.

The Outline Processor Markup Language (OPML) is an XML document format that was specifically designed for outlines. Developed by UserLand Software for use as Radio UserLand’s native file format, OPML provides all of the structural goodness that you want in an outline, while making it easy to share outlines with other apps and services.

Despite its flexibility, the OPML file format only has provisions for structured hierarchical text; it does not recognize styles or attachments. While this might be fine for text-only outlines, if you’ve spent any amount of time styling your outline, you’ll probably want to preserve those styles by creating a Template Theme first, and then you can reapply that theme later. Just remember, however, that whenever you save or export to an OPML file, any styles (including that Template Theme) that you have applied will be discarded.

To create a Template Theme from a styled OmniOutliner document, choose File ▸ Save as Template. Later, when you want to reapply that Template Theme, choose Format ▸ Apply Template Theme.

Plain Text (fixed width)
Exports a raw .txt file without any styles. Child rows are indented with four spaces, and columns are aligned using spaces. You can adjust the number of spaces used in OmniOutliner ▸ Preferences ▸ Text ▸ Spacing.
Plain Text (with tabs)
Exports a raw .txt file without any styles. Child rows and columns are aligned using tabs rather than spaces, making this type of export useful for importing into spreadsheet apps such as Numbers or Excel.
PowerPoint 2012 Format (pptx)
OmniOutliner exports the contents of your outline in an XML format that PowerPoint 2012 can interpret and render. After exporting your outline as .pptx, you can then import the PowerPoint file into Apple’s Keynote app.
RTF (Rich Text Format)
Exports a .rtf file, which retains all of the styles you’ve applied in OmniOutliner. RTF is a standard document format that most word processors, such as Word and OS X’s TextEdit app can open. Export to RTF if your Outliner document contains only text and numbers.
RTFD (Rich Text Format with Attachments)
Exports a .rtfd file, which retains all of the styles you’ve applied in OmniOutliner. What sets RTFD apart from RTF is that an RTFD file can contain attachments, such as any images, audio clips, or anything else you attach to your OmniOutliner file. Most word processors, such as Word, Pages, and OS X’s TextEdit can open .rtfd files.

Importing to OmniOutliner

For those times when OmniOutliner isn’t handy, or for when you receive an OmniOutliner-compatible file from a coworker, it’s nice to know which filetypes you can open in OmniOutliner. To import a file, just use File ▸ Open and then select one of the following file types in the Open dialog:

  • .opml—A valid OPML file.
  • .oo3—Files created with OmniOutliner 3 or 4.
  • .oo3template—Template files created with OmniOutliner 3 or 4.
  • .txt—Plain text and tab-delimited files.
  • .rtf—All text styles and colors are preserved when importing an RTF file.
  • .rtfd—As with RTF files, all text styles and colors are preserved, and any images are also brought along for the ride. Images are automatically scaled to the column width.

OmniOutliner cannot open files created or exported as .csv (Comma-Separated Values). Instead, use a tab-delimited file and save it with a .txt file extension.

Sharing OmniOutliner Files with OmniGraffle

Additionally, you can share OmniOutliner files with OmniGraffle and create awesomely beautiful things from what on the outset might just look like finely-styled text. Now you can take those texty things and make them look even more awesome in OmniGraffle.

  1. Open OmniGraffle and choose File ▸ Open.
  2. In the Open dialog, choose any file whose extension is .oo3.
  3. Click Open.
  4. OmniGraffle presents you with the Import Outline dialog. At the top, be sure to select one of the themed templates, such as Circles or Lines, and then in the Outline Columns combo box, choose how you want column data to be styled (if your OmniOutliner has column data).

You can use OmniGraffle’s powerful Outline Editor (in OmniGraffle, choose View ▸ Show Contents ▸ Outline Editor) to add depth to the diagram you’ve created. When you’re finished, go ahead and export the OmniGraffle file as an OmniOutliner file and then open that up in OmniOutliner 4. The styles you’ve used in OmniGraffle should carry over to OmniOutliner. If you want to change those back to something else, choose Format ▸ Apply Template Theme and then select a template whose styles you’d like applied to the OmniOutliner file.