Help frustrated new user

I’ve used visio for 20 years and now I have a mac. The reviews said Omnigraffle was the most similar to visio, but it looks more like an adobe product. I need a quick way to get started. Visio is so similar to word, I click on the picture of what I want to create (in this case a swimlane) and go. I can’t figure out how to start a swimlane. Do I have to start from scratch or is there a template I am not finding for flow charts and swimlanes?

If you read the old forums, you’ll see that Omni’s official word on this is #sand. If you’re looking for a diagramming product that will allow you to apply sophisticated models that look sharp and can factor scaling across multiple domains (be they cross-functional, cross-channel, or multi-system), they refuse to see this as a function that occurs outside of their planning software.

The solution is to use their kludge with layers. You can visually make it work, but as a tool for mental modelling, Omni’s position borders on obstinate - e.g. “Why would you want that?”

Unfortunately, I don’t think what you’re describing is available to Mac users in any product, or I would have switched by now. I believe Omni feels that Graffle is first and foremost a tool for designers, and that those of us who have to factor a lot of BA thinking into our diagrams are just not who they care about.

But, Omni Product guy, yes, please add my name to the list that you guys claim to have but admit to ignoring asking for something that actually makes this as complete an mind-mapping tool as Visio is. Yes, you’re prettier. But this is a really painful miss. If there were a Visio for Mac still, I’d be over there in a heartbeat.


Me too. Microsoft is releasing more Mac oriented software, now that Balmer has toddled off. Hopefully a Mac version of Visio may be in the works. Fingers crossed.

I’m currently finishing my free trial period. Was hoping I could replace Visio, but the lack of user friendly swimlanes (or container-like shapes) is a deal breaker for me.

I read the old forum threads, and it’s kind of disappointing that apparently OG’s position is that it is a non-issue. Disappointing because as far as I played around with it, it’s a great application with only one huge flaw.

Have you tried using the new Artboards we added in OmniGraffle 7? Any shapes placed on the artboard will move with it automatically.

Thanks for the reply. I did play around with Artboards, and they gave partial container functionality, but it was very cumbersome. I had to create a group of shapes to mimic a swimlane (lane body and header area), then turn it into an Artboard and for some reason it would only create the silhouette and I would still have to manually drag the shapes into the Artboard layer.

It all seemed it took too much time to set up, when I’m looking for a quick solution for creating diagrams as fast as possible.

The elements needed for swimlane diagrams are probably there, but it’s I just couldn’t find an efficient way to do it, and that’s critical for me. Unfortunately our trial period just ended, so I’ve moved on to testing other options.

I agree with a lot of the comments regarding swim-lane diagrams. This is something that not only Visio provides but also on Confluence pages. I don’t think that it is simply a different kind of drawing, but there has to be some semantic capability around the drawing so that it is usable by designers- both Product Managers and Software Engineers. Swimlane diagrams are used to draw Business Process diagrams, Solution Flow diagrams, etc., with each lane representing a personna or an application, process, etc. The diagram should understand that a process should fall within a swim lane. It should understand that you cannot connect a process box or a decision box with the lines of the swimlane. Without this, you can make it work, but it defeats the purpose of being a usable tool- that too on Macs that are supposed to be extremely user-friendly and usable. So, if I had a 100 votes, it would go towards adding this capability.
Note that OmniPlan (which looks like a Project Management software) is not a solution. What people are asking is for depicting processes, not the sequencing of tasks and milestones that one does in project management.