Review of Omnigraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials

Omnigraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials by Ruben Olsen from Packt Publishing.

I found the book poorly organized and the exercises in the first few chapters did not have clear objectives. It could really have used more information reviewing the “essentials” of Omnigraffle rather than spending so much time on the stencils that the author had placed on Graffletopia.

The information for the beginner is not as straightforward as it should be. Working through the exercises are not as useful to those who really need to get a handle on the overall flow and model of Omnigraffle.

The walkthroughs on OmniGroup Extras do a better job of pointing out key the tools and how to use them. It also provides tips on organizing your workspace.

I was hoping to get more advanced help with this book, especially with shared layers, printing preferences and apple script/interaction options. I found Diagramming Essentials was not helpful on any of these counts.

While I did find 2 or three nuggets of information that I was unaware of before, like being able to copy certain styles from one object to another and the duplicate command, I find that nearly every project I do opens up new capabilities of Omnigraffle, so “ah hah” moments come with the territory. Without a clear organization of the book that would allow me to use it as a reference, I cannot see the value to anyone who has used the software to do more than create a few flowcharts.

The sad part is that there really isn’t much documentation out there for Omnigraffle users. This is a downside of many open-source projects.

There is not much available outside of a 100 page manual (I hear its only 24 pages for the non-professional version) and the Omnigroup site which has forums, videos and walkthroughs.

My final word will be to say that until a definitive book comes out from the Omnigroup or another fastidious publisher  (I’m looking at you, O’Reilly), this book is the only one in town.

I would recommend utilizing the OmniGroup site, support and the forums to get your questions answered and do the walkthroughs there to get you started. $45 is a steep price to pay for something that is not likely to give you any more than you could find for free. This is especially true for those that have the free (non-professional) versions of Omnigraffle, since the only real value I got out of the book were about some features that are only available in Omnigraffle pro.

If you are still wondering if this book might be for you, a sample chapter from the book is available for you to review; “Making your diagram look good”.

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