How do to this in OmniGraffle


This is a tip I got from an Illustrator user. I am putting a line on my drawing that shows the location and direction of a cross-section. It has an arrow, a turn, a line through the section of the drawing, a turn, and a line through the cross-section. On each side of the drawing and on each side of the cross-section, the line is ‘missing’ (or goes behind).

XC Ex.pdf (15.0 KB)

I was doing this with a line and placing a thicker white line on top and grouping. This is what I received from an Illustrator user:

“I usually draw one line of two segment ( the cross section line and the tic) straight through the cave ( and sometimes ) the cross section as well and then cut out the parts I don’t want with the scissor tool. That way the line is straight and you don’t have to keep track of a white line.”

Is there anything like this 'scissor tool" in OG? The challenge is keeping the line through the drawing straight, which is why I used the overlaid white line.


As far as I know, you’ll need to connect 3 different lines to do this, or group 3 lines. Don’t forget that you can set a line to “No Stroke” so that it has the same effect. If anyone else has a clever way to do this, I’d love to hear it.

Coming from Illustrator, the drawing tools are pretty detailed. I like OmniGraffle the best for diagramming, but there are some things I still use Illustrator for, because there are some things you just can’t do in OmniGraffle that you can do in Illustrator. I think OmniGraffle is pretty flexible, but things like the gradient mesh, and some of the drawing tools we don’t have equivalents for.


Ooh… That’s good. I forgot about the “No Stroke” option. Going to start working with that now.

That takes care of the gaps much better than the white/invisible line. Now, how do I keep the group of lines straight, esp if I need to resize the “No Stroke” line. Maybe if I leave it vertical in the Stencil and resize it using the grid, that will help.

But how do I do it without using the grid? Maybe have another “No Stroke” line as a guide?


Is there also a way to ‘lock’ the “No stroke” line to the end if the visible line? If I have to move or resize it, the end nodes separate. I am using the Connections property and allowing connections from Lines and other objects so if they get separated, they will join together fairly easily.


That sounds incorrect as if they aren’t connected? If the lines are properly connected, when you resize one line, the other line should resize to still connect. Zoom in and be sure they are fully connected.

Feel free to shoot us an example via email or post it here if you are seeing something unexpected and we can help you figure out what is going on.




Sending you an eMail with example.


I think there is a mistake. You can only attach one side of a line to another line. Otherwise you just lay a line OVER the other line. To fix that you need to make 3 lines that attach a short one on the left, then a no stroke line attaches to the end of the first line, then another short dark line from the end of the no stroke line to wherever it ends.

This is a bit hard to explain, so here’s an example: ExampleofLinesAttached.graffle (7.1 KB)

See how one overlaps where the other connects the end of a line with the start of the next line and so on? Lines are either defined with a set length in the geometry inspector, or the are defined by what they connect from and to. Both cases are in the example above.



This is almost identical to the version I eMailed and still has the same issue if I grab one handle (red), the two lines stay together, if I grab the other handle (green), they become disconnected.

I know there is a feature request to allow lines to be connected or joined and maybe this is what I really need here. As long as they are separate objects, they can be inadvertently pulled apart.


Yes, you can still disconnect the lines by moving one end. The point is, you can lengthen/shorten and move the 2 lines it is connected to and the middle part will automatically expand. Am I misunderstanding your intention?

Which part of that line needs to resize in response to the other parts?


It does work much better than the overlay I was using. Even stays to scale better than resizing the group.

And expanding the 'No Stroke" is makes much more sense. If I can remember to grab the correct node and keep them connected. I just have to remember that Red is good, Green means chaos ensues!

In the example I eMailed, the lines are connected (I hope) and grouped. Would you try grabbing one of the group handles and spinning the group? When I do this, I get some pretty interesting behavior (using 7.10.2). Doesn’t matter if I use a mouse/trackpad or type in an angle, the lines don’t seem to move as one unit, even though they are grouped.


Yes, there is a bug with rotation that the line doesn’t update until the rotation stops. The issue I know about it a redraw problem, so once rotation is over, the results should match. We don’t have a fix for the redraw issue yet available. If you want to try our latest beta build, you can grab a revision OmniGraffle v7.11.3 test (r337308) at or later which should have the fix for redraw while rotating groups. Please put the beta in a folder because the builds do expire eventually as a test build, so you don’t want to use it as your only OmniGraffle.

We fixed an issue with rotating lines in groups in 7.11.2, which may be worth you trying, but we are still working on a few more fixes in our beta version. Don’t get rid of 7.10.2 until you know if the beta fixes the problems you were running into.


Okay. I think I saw the issue in both 7.10.2 and 7.11.1. I have not tried the latest beta version but will grab the new version and install it.