How to sync without conflicts? [A: don’t edit simultaneously on multiple devices.]

i’m using omnioutliner 4.1.4 on 2 machines.

if i edit one of my OO files on one machine, omnipresence duly uploads the changes.

if i have the same file open on both machines, then syncing falls down, and i get the conflicted version appended to the file name, requiring a manual check and deletion of the unwanted file.

is there any way of having each file update itself live without me having to remember to manually save the file each time i leave the machine?

i would love to be able to update on either machine (it’s just the way i work around the house/office) and have the changes update on the open file on the other mac.


Sorry for the trouble here! Conflict files are normally created when the same file is open on more than one device simultaneously, even if it’s not actively being worked on. OmniPresence syncing works best when only one copy of a document is open at a time. When simultaneous edits occur, a second copy of the file is created with the ‘conflict’ name added. Those are meant to preserve the changes from both devices and can be merged manually. The Mac’s OS X might be playing a role in the conflict files you’re seeing as well. The Mac’s ability to save ‘Versions’ of files and automatically save changes does trigger a sync which can be seen as a ‘simultaneous edit’ when working on another device. If you make a habit of quitting OmniOutliner on your Mac, or at least closing the file, before you leave your desk, you should avoid this issue entirely.

Hope this helps!

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hi anne

here’s the thing. i’m a thinking kind of person, and i focus on things that are important to me (same as everyone right ; )

i have devices and computers all over the place, and when i get an idea for one of my projects i want to capture it in the project first time, so i’m not copy-pasting for hours later aggregating all my inboxes and wondering if i’ve forgotten something.

i don’t remember to quit OO or close my main OO file - in fact i don’t want to because when i want to write in it i want to do so quickly.

i love omni, have for many years - even though there are things that have irritated me for almost as long! (sharing todos in OF, hello? true mindmapping in OG, hello? omnisuite interaction between all omni apps, from mindmapping to outlining to project management to individual tasks and any combination thereof, hello?) - and i’ve just made an edit in workflowy ( on my iphone, and the open file on my mac updated itself 4 seconds later (i timed it). the round trip works the same the other way round, without me having to save or do anything at all. that’s what i’m talking about!

omnipresence works for discrete files, but it doesn’t have version history like dropbox, and it doesn’t update open files live like workflowy does.

at the moment, i have to open screen sharing so i can see on either of my macs if my OO file is open, then close it, then write what i was going to write, then save the file.

it’s a luxury problem, but it’s a problem - i can’t be confident my data is going to be safe without jiggering about analysing sync versions, so it’s not a trusted system, and the small amount of friction of having to check if i’m overwriting anything is - sad to say, but explainable by behavioural psychology - decisive : (

please pass on my request for live autoupdate across devices wonderfulness in omnipresence.



would an OO autosave do the trick i wonder?

doesn’t OF do this already?


Its great to have OmniOutliner on my Mac, iPad and iPhone. However I get continual, unresolvable conflicts. I’ve seen OmniGroup’s suggestion elsewhere to always close files. That’s hard to do in practice and seems, well, onerous.

The conflicts wouldn’t be so bad if there was a way to resolve them but, as far as I can see, the only resolution is to randomly pick one conflict version and throw it away. Guaranteed loss of valuable information.

I feel that OmniPresence is a bold, commendable undertaking. Someday it may “just work” Until then it should come with a big, red warning: “You will lose information if you have a file open on more than one device”.



I’m using omni outline on several devices that I own, 4 in fact, and some of the file instances are multiplied with the word conflict added to them. Are conflicts avoidable? How do I deal with files that are conflicting? Should I delete them, which ones should I delete, how do I make sure the file I need doesn’t get deleted?

It’s the end of March already and still no answer to this question: How does one resolve conflicts in and orderly fashion?

Glad to see that Brian has moved relevant questions to this file but please give us an answer.

Thanks and kind regards,

Sorry for the confusion! OmniPresence is similar to Dropbox in that it is designed to sync arbitrary files you throw at it from just about any provider. Similar to Dropbox, OmniPresence detects and preserves conflicting edits in the files it syncs, but it does not attempt to resolve them.

Anne’s advice in her Feb. 17 post would be our recommended best practice.

Thanks, Brian.

@Brian or @anne: Could you clarify on the best practice?

I understand the need to quit out of the document in OS X. Do I need to do anything in iOS to minimize the chance of conflicts? Should I make sure to exit the document on iOS when I’m done with it, or is this less vital than on OS X?

Sure! You don’t need to close the document on both devices - in fact, I have to confess I find it kind of fun to edit one of my documents on the Mac, then watch the changes automagically show up on the iPad sitting on my desk after a short delay.

The thing to try to avoid is editing the document on multiple devices before they’ve had a chance to sync up. If your Mac and your iPad both have edits that the other doesn’t know about, that’s when you’re going to get duplicate copies of your files.

(In retrospect, the answer I added to the title of the thread wasn’t well worded; I’ll fix that!)

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The problem is I am getting Omnigraffle conflicts of same file versions on the same device. There looks to be grandfather-father-son versions of the files. The grandfather version is the one without the “conflict” label. Help.

hi brian

i may be in a “tiny minority” but i suspect that the manual step required in the best practice suggested is being viewed from the omni side as an acceptable workaround limitation, but from the user side, it’s actually a major issue, and in my case a deal breaker in how much i use OO.

each open omni/omnipresence file must be saved manually and synced automatically on all devices before its counterpart on those devices can be edited. this means it’s not a trusted system.

did i remember to save my OO file at home? can’t remember… best use another app or file until i get home.

this is a critical flaw in the sync workflow.

i strongly suggest that you review how workflowy operates - although there are aspects of OO which i much prefer, the fact that i can trust the workflowy sync between all devices means that that is what i work on. my work is always the same across all devices, within a 10 second or so sync window.

i can’t see any way round omni having to change the sync/file type approach in due course - the present arrangement is too clunky and unreliable, and seems outdated already.



I have a ‘conflicted-copy’ issue that doesn’t seem to be resolved in this thread.

I have OmniOutliner on my Macs, iPad and iPhone, though I have OO on my 10.9 Mavericks Macs, and not ready to upgrade to 10.10, I don’t (can’t) sync with any of the Macs, so the OO versions on the Macs are out of this issue.

I’m a constant user of shared docs and folders on Dropbox, and very used to explaining to others, not to edit while 2 versions of the same file is open on multiple computers, so of course I never do it myself.

I forgot to close OO on my other iOS device my very first time syncing, but definitely remembered EVERY other time since. I’m still getting conflicted-copy versions, so I double checked the other device, and it’s been closed and quit.

Just to note; I double click the home button on each device, then flick upwards on the OO app to quit it, go back to the home screen, and repeat the double click just to confirm it’s quit. I reopen OO so I can sync for the other device, then after syncing, I unfortunately get a new ‘conflicted copy’ version again. I did this many times to confirm with no new luck.

Please advise, please help, it’s really slowing down my work on my most-often used and favorite app on my Macs and iOS devices.


Sorry about this! It seems possible that force-quitting the app could be cutting the sync process short and leading to the conflict when sync resumes. (OmniPresence can continue to sync a document in the background after you switch away from it on an iOS device.)

I’m not an engineer, though, so this really is just an educated guess based on the information in your post. I think the best thing to do is to contact our support humans so we can investigate the problem in more detail. Apologies again for the trouble!