Om­niOut­liner 3

A su­perb app for or­ga­niz­ing ideas

Mac|Life - - CONTENTS - Car­rie Mar­shall

Free trial. Af­ter from $9.99 From The Omni Group, om­n­i­ Made for iPhone and iPad Needs iOS 11 or later

Om­niOut­liner 3 comes in two ver­sions: Es­sen­tials, which of­fers the ba­sics, and Pro, which adds tools for power users. You don’t need to pick one im­me­di­ately be­cause the free trial en­ables you to try both. When you do de­cide, Es­sen­tials is just $9.99 — cheap for an Omni Group prod­uct — and Pro $39.99, or $19.99 for up­graders.

The name Om­niOut­liner is a bit of a mis­nomer, be­cause there’s much more to the app than out­lin­ing. Think of it more as a repos­i­tory for all your stuff, rang­ing from your project to-do list to study notes or the Great Amer­i­can Novel you’re writ­ing. If you go Pro you can also in­clude file at­tach­ments such as im­ages and audio record­ings, which makes it par­tic­u­larly handy for col­lege work and projects in­volv­ing meet­ings.

The app works on both iPad and iPhone: while us­ing the lat­ter means los­ing a lot of the space avail­able to the big­ger iPad app, it’s use­ful if you’re sync­ing via Omni’s own Om­niPres­ence sync or via Ap­ple’s iCloud Drive.

To start us­ing Om­niOut­liner, you just start typ­ing. If you want to in­dent, tap Tab or the in­dent but­ton; if you want to go the other way, it’s Shift and Tab or out­dent; and if you want a new line, just tap Re­turn or

tap the plus but­ton. Col­laps­ing and ex­pand­ing sec­tions is just a mat­ter of tap­ping the ar­row next to them.

So far so straight­for­ward. But it’s what you do af­ter you’ve writ­ten that’s in­ter­est­ing. For ex­am­ple, when you fil­ter, you don’t get the tra­di­tional high­light in a block of text. The app hides all the rows that don’t match, mak­ing it much eas­ier to see what you’re look­ing for. You can se­lect mul­ti­ple rows to drag and drop, which is re­ally use­ful, and in the Pro app you can drag im­ages and files as well as text from other apps.

There are tons of key­board short­cuts for for­mat­ting and high­light­ing if you’ve got a hard­ware key­board. You also get a small but de­cent se­lec­tion of pre-de­fined templates you can use — al­though ir­ri­tat­ingly they’re pre-pop­u­lated, so you need to delete con­tent to in­sert your own. You can now print and you ex­port to PDF, CSV, HTML, docx, pptx, and tabbed text. The Pro ver­sion adds Excel sup­port and OPML links.

Pro also ben­e­fits from the Om­niAu­toma­tion script­ing we’ve al­ready seen in Om­niGraf­fle and Om­niFo­cus, pass­word en­cryp­tion, cus­tom templates and themes. It also of­fers con­sid­er­ably more styling op­tions, the abil­ity to have more than one column and the op­tion to save fil­ters. It’s very pow­er­ful and feels closer to a ded­i­cated busi­ness writ­ing app than an out­liner.

Which is best? If you’re a stu­dent, Pro is the one to go for: it makes manag­ing even the most enor­mous out­lines a breeze, and the abil­ity to in­clude me­dia is a real plus. For us, though, Es­sen­tials does enough.

the bot­tom line.

Es­sen­tials is great for most users, al­though for­mat­ting’s a lit­tle lim­ited. If you out­grow it, go­ing Pro is very cheap.

The Pro ver­sion is a ca­pa­ble writ­ing and pre­sent­ing tool with me­dia em­bed­ding.

The pro­vided templates are crisp and clear but you’ll need to delete their text.

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