How to migrate from Circus Ponies (CP) NoteBook to OmniOutliner?


Hi all.

I just found out that CP no longer lives.

I have several documents prepared with CP NoteBook. Two of those documents are fairly large (200 pages) and one of them is in use every day.

From the surface, I think OO would be a good tool for what I do.

But what would be the best way to migrate my NoteBook documents to OO?

I have downloaded a trial version of OO but couldn’t find an “Import” function. Nor could I find a mention of “import” in the documentation…

Any suggestions?



Does CPN export as OPML or RTF or some other format? It might not be a perfect transition with lots of massaging to do.

You should be able to get omnioutliner to “open” the exported document.


Hi wilsong. Thanks for the response.

NoteBook can export in the following formats: txt, rtfd, doc, opml, nbpb and nbml.

I was wondering which of these formats would preserve the most features I use in NoteBook: embedded external files (pdf, png, xls), linked external files, formatting (of course!), internal links (a link from one item to another item or another page in the same NoteBook document, tables, creation dates.

Any ideas?


I’ve wrestled with the same problem and there’s no good solution that I’ve found.

None of the export options work that well for this purpose. OPML doesn’t keep attachments, but it does retain the outline structure and creation/change dates. It doesn’t as far as I can see, retain internal links.
RTFD keeps the attachments and all the content, but doesn’t retain the outline structure. OO doesn’t open .doc, nor the 2 CPN-proprietary formats.

Export as Website gives you the internal links and attachments, with the outline structure, but loses creation dates etc. And can’t be imported into OO.

As fas as I can see, the least worst way to do this is to export to OPML, import that to OO and then add back in the attachments. But what you end up with still isn’t as good as CPN.

As wilsonng says, you use Open in OO to do the import.


Arrrrgh! (Sigh…)

Hi Nick. Thanks for the response.

Looks like this is going to be worse than I anticipated. I was kind of hoping that with six different export formats, I would be able to migrate with a minimum of fuss and that the most painful part of the process would be learning a new interface…

I’ve been trying a few things (on just a couple of pages).


  1. yes, keeps the structure, but: loses the formatting (in addition to the attachments)!
  2. Also: when opened with OO, it remains an .opml document; OO doesn’t have a “Save as…” function (Yes, it does! Found it by accident: It’s hidden in the File menu: you have to hold the Option key!!!)
  3. It also totally destroys NB tables: these would have to be re-done externally (Excel).
  4. It loses the cute NB numbers in numbered lists.
  5. It keeps URLs that appear as such in the document; however it loses a URL that was entered as a link (by highlighting some text and using /Edit/Link/Tothe Web).

RTFD: appears to preserve the formatting. However, I’m having trouble changing the font for the whole document. Probably my lack of familiarity with OO. And, of course, it loses the structure…

So… Either way, it’s going to require a significant loss of time. What a waste!

(Weird: I dragged an external link (an alias, really) from NB to the desktop. What NB put on the desktop is actually a copy of the original document, not an alias…)

[Related point: How can we protect ourselves against apps being abandoned by their creators? Apple has done this repeatedly; and did it again, recently, when they dropped Aperture completely. They did not even offer to reimburse me!

How long is Omni Group going to support Omni Outliner? I believe they’ve dropped products in the past…

Mind you, as of today my copy of NoteBook is working; on this iMac, with OS X (10.10.5. I’m not updating OS X). As long as the hardware holds out, I could keep using NB.]


Maybe you can keep the Notebook by just exporting/printing as a PDF document. It won’t be editable but you get to keep everything.

I think OmniFocus and OmniOutliner looks the most popular programs that OmniGroup has. So it doesn’t look like it’s going to go away that easily.

When I have to transition over to a new app, I set aside 30-60 minutes every day to transferring stuff over.

The most important things (stuff I’m actively working on in the last 12-18 months will get properly transferred over to the new app. The rest is preserved as a PDF document. This is mostly archival data that is useful for historical purposes and not being actively worked on.

It’s a matter of prioritising what sections of your Notebook are important and recreate that in OmniOutliner. Everything else is for historical preservation.

I remembered having a journal app and just exporting it as PDF for preservation. Then I just started with my new journal app (currently Day One). I guess that’s what you’ll have to do in this case.


Hi willsong.

Good suggestion, but PDF wouldn’t work in my case: the main document that I’m concerned with is pretty active. I use it every day and add material in several different areas of the document. It’s not like a book or a journal that I would be writing, for example.

However, I do have a couple of NB documents that are no longer active. One example is a NB document I used while managing a couple of rental properties for my old mother. Well… we sold those properties almost a year ago. After I figure out the final income and expenses for 2015, file her income tax return, then that’s it. That document will no longer change and it will be ready for “archiving”. Then your suggestion would be great.



Hi all.

Just a quick thought. I was thinking…

1- NB can export in html.
2- Would html be a good alternative (to migrate and thereafter maintain)? What would be required? A “html editor”?

Does anyone know about this?



I’m having a hard time getting OO Pro to always accept my CPN opml files. (I have a number of CPN to migrate.) Sometimes yes, and sometimes no, saying: “This does not seem to be a valid OmniOutliner document. If you need help opening it, please contact Omni Group support.” With Omni support (which has been supreme), I’m hoping to find a former version of the CPN, and see if that will help.

Other files, apparently too big, crash the program, making me have to force quit.

Has anyone found a work-around for this? One of the outliners I was testing (OutlineEdit) also couldn’t accept one of the problem opml files, claiming that “This OPML file contains an error - it can not be imported. Make sure the file is UTF-8 encoded.” Any clues to what that might mean?



CPN will export to an .rtfd file which takes the .pdf and .doc and .docx files with the export. So far so good if these are all your attachments. But importing into Scrivener leaves the .doc and .docx files behind. Does this work better with OmniOutliner?