I write a lot, both at home and at work. For something short (like this blog post) I don't always need an outline, but for longer posts and reviews or to take notes in meetings an outlining program is a must have. So I have been using the OmniOutliner tools (both on Mac and iOS) for years and I find them indispensable. Last month the Omni Group released OmniOutliner 5. There are a couple of significant features about the newest OmniOutliner that are worth highlighting:
- Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts
- Distraction-Free Mode
- Typewriter Mode
- Password Protection
- Excel Export
- New Pricing
The most significant feature from the list above is the new pricing model. There are two different versions of OmniOutliner 5, Essentials and Pro. Essentials is the reason the new pricing model is so significant...its only $9.99. Before Omni came out with Essentials the price for entry into a professional level outlining app was a bit cost prohibitive. Not any more. The Essentials version of the app has enough basic features to keep most people more than satisfied. I love this new model because I think a lot of people would really benefit from using a dedicated outlining app and now more people can justify paying a few bucks to have a really great to help them create outlines. So if you find yourself creating outline from time to time and would like a better way to do it I highly suggest buying OmniOutliner 5 Essentials. Omni Group also offers a free 14-day trial so you don't have to take my word for it...you can test it for yourself. If you are new to using an outlining app, the Omni Group has a great blog post that walks user who are new to outlining with a dedicated app through the basic features of OmniOutliner 5 Essentials.
Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts:
Now for the really fun stuff...the more advanced features. Right off the bat OmniOutliner brings a pretty amazing feature with customizable keyboard shortcuts. One of the difficult things with relying on professional apps day in and day out can be remembering some of the powerful shortcuts they have. Now that you can create your own keyboard shortcuts with OmniOutliner 5 Professional you can make just the ones you need and give them shortcuts you will remember. For those of you who don't outline as much as I do you probably think I'm a little crazy for making such a big deal about this, but trust me this is really nice.
Distraction Free Mode:
Distraction free mode is nice too because it removes the sidebar and the toolbar from the view so you can just focus on the text you are writing. This can also come in handy when you have a bunch of windows open and you need to shrink down the outline window to just as small as possible. Taking out the tool and sidebars make that easier to do now.
Speaking of optimizing screen real estate, the new Typewriter Mode does this exceptionally well. With Typewriter Mode it keeps the current line you are on in the middle of the page/window so it is in an optimal place even as you add line, after line, after line...
You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a story in the news about stolen or compromised data. Now you can password protect individual files you create with OmniOutliner 5 Pro.
This feature may not seem like that big of a deal, but if you have ever started listing things out and then later realized that you really need that list in Excel so that you can do more with it...this feature is really handy. I love having both outliner and brainstorming apps export out to formats that can be sucked into other powerful apps so I really love this feature.
I can't say enough good things about the OmniOutliner app. Even if you don't think you would use an outlining app enough to really justify buying a dedicated app I think you should give the new OmniOutliner 5 a try. For $9.99 you are getting one heck of a powerful app for a very reasonable price. I hope the Omni Group carries over this new pricing model to more of their apps as well because I'm a huge fan of all of them and I think more people would be too if their entry level prices were a little more approachable.