Compatibility with Visio

I work with several clients who use only Visio (Microsoft users) and I have to import and export to Visio. With version 6, connector lines do not import or export correctly. When exported, the lines are no longer connected to boxes in the drawings. The older version of OG (version5) works better on these conversations. The newer version also crashes on many Visio diagrams (working with Visio 2010).
Are there ways to improve this compatibility?

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+1 on this issue and others to do with Visio file interoperability.


I am reviving this topic which is over 1000 days old because I have recently submitted some VERY simple OmniGraffle files and their exported Visio files to Omni Support. The Visio files were not converted correctly. In one example, lines connecting blocks in a block diagram were re-rerouted incorrectly. There can be other problems (e.g., rotated or flipped objects).

Omni acknowledges the problem and thanked me for submitting the files, but I suspect there are not many complaints about OG-Visio conversion errors. This is an old thread, and I only see a few other complains or conversion guidelines when I search the forums and the Web. Not anyone’s highest priority but mine! :-)

However, if any of you are having trouble with OG-Visio conversion errors, I’d be interested in connecting. I’m hoping to develop a more robust set of guidelines to help avoid such conversion errors (I have followed the guidlelines I have found on the Web, to no avail so far.) Thanks!

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@DeekinBlooz I was using OG 5 until today and having some problems with importing a vdx file. The shapes came in OK but all text is missing.

Interestingly Libreoffice Draw imported the vdx file better than OG5. Of course it doesn’t allow the same ability to work with the shapes as OG. Perhaps the developer peeps can use the import/open source library to better import Visio files?

So I thought that perhaps an upgrade to 7.x would help. With v7.5 I can’t even select the vdx file for import. :-(

I have send a help request from support so hoping they get back to me soon. I’m stuck on my project right now and quite disappointed.

Import/Export to Visio is a showstopper for me.

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Hi Nuke - I have been corresponding with the nice support humans from Omni. We’ve made some progress on identifying the parameters of my many export problems to Visio. They seem to be “on it,” and I am optimistic they will address the problems in a future release. I have not yet submitted any Visio-import issues because that is not my primary need, but I will submit any that I run across. I really want to use OG for my drawings, but if clients provide/require Visio drawings, I need to have confidence in accurate import/export with Visio format. Keep sending in examples of import/export errors. The support humans I have corresponded with have responded within 24 working day hours every time.

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Thanks very much for your detailed response. I wish I had known earlier. It’s a bummer that the only reason I did the upgrade was for the expectation of a better Visio import/export. My bad for not reading the forums.

With the support peeps I got the vdx open to work but then found out the file is missing all the text just like in the file opened using v5.4.4. :-( I suppose I could have rewritten all the text in the time I waited for support to reply.

If v4 was better at opening Visio, where do I get an installer/disk image? OG download cuts off at v5.4.4.

I have licenses from v2 through 5pro and now v7pro. So if v4 pro did the best at import / export for Visio, I’m going to use that to open the files. If I need to run Snow Leopard/Lion etc., I can use a VM. I have a number of VMs for solftware that has been abandoned but still work better than the replacements.

You are most welcome.

Best bet would be to request it from OG.

You could get it from another user, etc. but they might have problems creating a DMG file. Just to keep their nose clean, they would have ensure you have a valid licence and that OG has refused.

Be Aware That

  1. One caveat. The one nasty bug that V4 has, that might be annoying is this. When V4 was written, Retina screens did not exist. On a retina screen, the shadows of shadowed objects are stuffed. Depending on the ShadowColour, you can or cannot see them, if they are visible, they are the wrong colour (horridly wrong). But the colour printed or exported is the actual set colour.

  2. It uses the same "OG workspace "(not Apple Workspace, which is correct) as OG 5. If you leave any files open in one; quit; then open the other, it will open all those files.

    • No problem at all for me, because I have gotten used to mostly-running V5, and reverting to V4 as necessary. But I end up staying there (I love the MasterCanvas, I can’t stand the “SharedLayers” with its forced duplication … it is an insult to the intellect). Eventually the shadows get to me and I return to V5.

    • But that may be an issue for others.

  3. V4 uses the old library location, so you have to (once-off, at installation) copy your Stencils, etc into that location. I change my stencils on V5 only, just to maintain sanity.

  4. It uses the old Apple file handling library, not the freaky new Apple “Document Model”. Save means Save; no automatic overwrites.

  5. The main point is to confirm, V4 opens V5 files perfectly, and vice versa.

    • Which is very strange, until you realise, hey, it is just an XML file, and teh V4 XML handling, as well as the underlying file is streets ahead, and thus much smaller.

Perhaps just revert to V4 to perform the Export-to-Visio. Try it out and suit yourself.

  1. I had issues with Apple along exactly the same lines as with OG (a fish rots from the head down, and the head is Tim Cook, flowing down to constantly changing libraries, etc, and dictates to spp suppliers such as OG. It took a month to resolve, trying many major an minor releases, and eventually I settled on MAC OSX 10.10.5 Yosemite on a brand new 2017 Retina MacBook Pro machine.

  2. If you are that much of a geek, you might be able to provide instructions for making a DMG package.


Thanks for your help and suggestions. I’ve requested v4.x as I have a valid paid pro license. I can’t see it being a problem.

If that doesn’t work, I guess I can always us LibreOffice Draw to open current Visio drawing. It doesn’t do the progress mapping very well but it can read and export to Visio very well. Perhaps I can cut and paste the text etc. between the two programs and speed up my workflow. It may make sense for Omni to use the Visio library from the Document Foundation instead of trying to build their own. (Depending on the licensing requirements of course)

As to Apple rot, I suppose you’re about as ticked off as I am about the lack of fixing the Apple pdfkit framework. OSX 10.12 broke it and it hasn’t been fixed properly since. I can’t fathom why not when the so much on the Mac is dependent of postscript/pdf. I’m still stuck on OSX 10.11 and the max version of OG I can use is 7.5.

Now using Omnigraffle 7.12.1 (Dec 2019) and having issues with Visio. Take a document with a few objects and connections; export as Visio. No options available. Saves as .VDX.

Open that in Visio and there’s a few differences.

Now trying to open the .VDX file using Omnigraffle. File / Open shows that .VDX file type greyed out.

So open folder in Finder; The.VDX file (which was previously saved in Visio format from Omnigraffle); Get Info; Always open with “Omnigraffle”. After battling with the OS, get an Omnigraffle dialog “The.vdx file can’t be opened”.

Question: Does Omnigraffle work with Visio yet, or am I flogging a dead horse.

Supplementary question: how to best work with Visio users?

OmniGraffle will work with Visio, to some degree. For work we use Visio, but I start nearly all of what I contribute in OmniGraffle and then save out to PDF and Visio to work on from my work Windows machine (most often I just keep iterating it in OG and just keep updating the Visio version).

Last year’s OmniGroup roadmap included more attention on OmniGraffle and Visio ease working together, but iPad OS and updated iOS changes seemed to have bumped that out. I really hope improvements come along.