How to make a new Adjustable Shape?

I’m relatively new to OmniGraffle, but I’ve been searching through the documentation and these forums and haven’t found what I’m looking for. Is there a way to create your own (custom) Adjustable shapes? As just one example, I’d like to independently adjust the size/aspect ratio of a Sloped Rectangle and the slope angle of the sloped side. In other words, I can resize the shape to be taller, but the position of the slope corner relative to its side length is fixed, and I’d like to be able to adjust it. I know I could draw my own sloped rectangle with a different slope, but it would again be fixed, and what I want is for it to be adjustable. And of course it would be nice to be able to make some other custom shapes with one or more adjustment points.

Is it possible to make these kinds of custom adjustable shapes? If not, is it part of the roadmap for future upgrades? Thanks.

Greetings tomn

Yes, we do that all the time. I can’t think of any limitations that OG has that prevents “custom adjustable shapes”.

Sorry, but your description is not specific enough for me to answer in specific terms. If you supply precise technical details, I can respond with a more specific answer.

On the face of it, what you are requesting is ordinary, pedestrian functions that OG has.

  • to change either the height or the width (but not both) just select the object, then grab one of the handles (in the middle of one side, or top, or bottom), and Drag it
  • to change both height and width at the same time, grab a handle in one of the corners and Drag
  • use Shift-Drag to maintain the aspect ratio.


Sorry, I don’t want to change the height or width of the object - I want to adjust a feature within the object. Just like the adjustable arrow lets you change the angle and width of the arrowhead independent of the overall object’s width and height, I want to make a shape (for example, an uneven trapezoid) where I could change the angle of one side independent of the object’s width & height. I hope that clarifies things.

The term “adjustable shape” tomn is using is correct. He refers to the 5 shapes in the second group in the shape inspector. These shapes show a double ring (“blue adjustment handles” according the manual) that can be moved around to adjust shape properties within the bounding box (eg. form of the arrows, thickness of the part between the arrows etc.) adjustable_shape Unfortunately I don’t know how to create such shapes but I would like to do so too!

Much better, thanks. But not really clear (changing one side will change the Object height and width. Also, the area usable for text (most of the middle) will change, thus even after you get the Object shape and Stroke as desired, you may still have to change the TextArea to get your text to fit.

Thank you, now I understand.

The manuals were bad to begin with, now they are falling off a cliff. Here the developer suffers from the same problem, being non-specific, and second, conflicting with the existing OG terms, out of ignorance.

Thus I reject the term “adjustment handle” for such Objects.

In order to maintain clarity, and to avoid verbose descriptions, I will use correct terms, first based on the English meaning of the word, and second the history of OG manuals and balloons (ie. not my opinion but the product terms), and give new labels to the new items (ie. my opinion). But the most important criteria is, it must be intuitive.

OG Terms

With reference to t_j’s example, a double-headed arrow:

  1. Handle: the six small squares along the outer edge of the whole,

    • that are used for resizing the Object, or dealing with the Object as a whole

    • Nothing else should be called a Handle, and a Handle must do only those things

  2. MidPoint: the small blue circles on a Line,
    that is not an EndPoint,

    • Pick it up, which turns it solid blues,
      and move it

    • It holds a Grid position (rather than a relative position on the Line)

      • unless SnapToGrid is off
    • Nothing else should be called MidPoint; EndPoint

  3. EditPoint: the small blue circle at each vertex of a Shape (demo)
    They are named as such because that is how you actually edit the Shape, and change it into something else (demo)

    • select it, and it turns solid blue
      pick it up and move it, etc

    • Nothing else should be call EditPoint

  4. The new kid on the block, the Configurable Shape, such as the double-headed arrow and the star.

    • It is a small blue circle (apparently a double-Stroke in later releases).

    • It is definitely not a Handle, and does not behave like one.

    • It shows up as a point, but it does not act as an EditPoint, it acts as a control to change the Configuration of the Shape.

    • Definitely not an adjustment

    • How about ControlPoint.

    • One or two Controls, as required for the Configurable Shape, Inner and Outer

    • But note, whereas [1][2][3] are Shape edit primitives, [4] is ‘advanced’, a Control that Configures the Shape.

Custom Shape

How’s that for a label, and how’s that for an intent !

I use OG 5.4.4, your version will have a slightly different GUI, etc, but it has at least the GUI capability of V5.4.4, we hope. It may be in some other Inspector, you just have to find it.

Demonstration movie.


I watched your video with interest. However the menu item Edit > Shapes > Make Points Editable is missing in OmniGraffle Pro v7(.18.5). After much poking around, I was unable to locate anything similar.

I would be grateful if anyone can point me to the correct menu location, if the command/feature has not been removed.

Many thanks,



I don’t have V7, but I do have the V7 “manual” (which is a pretty bad example of an OmniGraffle doc). It says there is a PointEditingTool:

  • image
  • “The Point Editor Tool moves aside the typical (length and width) bounding box to focus on each point on the selected object”

I don’t know if that exposes the EditPoints in a Shape, but that is implied by the few words.

  • Otherwise you will have to fiddle around
  • Otherwise draw a Shape from scratch: I believe such a Shape will have EditPoints wherever you click.


Manual? What’s a manual?

That is the solution, I believe. When selected, existing points on the shape become editable and additional points can be added. I’m uncertain whether this is equivalent to “Make Points Editable”, but it does seem so. The following shape began life as rectangle with rounded corners.

Many thanks,


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Bitte schon