Is it possible to have different columns or different numbers of columns for different sections?

Can I have a section with only one column, followed by a section with 4 columns, followed by a section with one column, followed by a section with 3 columns, etc.?

This is not possible in OmniOutliner. Columns extend the entire way through the document.
Without knowing exactly what your use case is or why specifically you want to do this, I can only make a few general suggestions:

  1. Simply do not add content to columns that aren’t needed for a given section/row. While it will still occupy horizontal space, there will be nothing there.
  2. If you have OmniOutliner Pro, you can hide columns. This could be used in conjunction with suggestion 1. Hiding columns not used by the section or row you are currently viewing could reduce visual clutter and reclaim some horizontal space.

Perhaps some more details about how you might use this feature could help us fellow users make some more precise suggestions, and might also help Omni staff in justifying making this into a Feature Request.

Hi @pruppert,

@scottisloud is correct, it is not currently possible to have different columns in different sections of an outline, however, I believe we have a request on file for something similar. If you email us at with your thoughts on what you’re looking for, I’d be happy to add you to the request, or file a new one if needed!


I think it would be extremely useful.

Sometimes we create tables within tables in word documents. This is something similar. The same number of columns isn’t necessarily useful across a whole document. We can of course export to Word and continue working there but that defeats the point of the outliner.

The simplest example is an outline only part of which needs checklist tick boxes. It’s ugly having tick boxes on the parts that don’t need them.

so +1 for this feature!



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A big +1 from me on this feature. I use a single outline to collect all sorts of stuff. I occasionally want to create columns for some of it, but a particular column is not going to ever pertain to my document as a whole. For example, I do have todo lists and so might want a checkoff column, but I also have lots of stuff that would have no notion of being “done”, like software license details, for example. My current issue that brings me here is that I want to add two date columns for some items. Again, two dates won’t apply to most of my items, especially not with the same column names.

It’s basically as was said above…I treat outlines as global collections of other outlines by way of at least major sections. Really, a new type of data can be introduced at any level, and columns will only ever be pertinent to that data from that point down in my outline.

Said the other way, columns are pretty useless to me without this feature. I tried the “hiding columns” idea, but it’s way too cumbersome. Also, you forget that the columns are there when you’re perusing your document, and so you miss all that hidden data, making hiding columns actually counterproductive.

Please please consider implementing column setups that are attached to a node in an outline and apply from that node down, unless a child node overrides that column setup. I do understand that how this would look on the screen when you’re displaying data that crosses column setups is a difficult issue. I don’t have a firm idea of how this would work. Maybe that kills the idea. But please at least consider it.

This dovetails with another feature I’d like to see…including one outline in another. This would introduce the same issue of how to display columns in an included outline.

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+1 for me here, too

Beyond OO’s search issues, this is still one of the biggest things annoys me about OO


I’m sure implementing different columns in one outline presents programming challenges, but perhaps they can be lessened by allowing us to open the same outline in multiple tabs and give each tab its own column structure. That way one “view” wouldn’t have different column structures, but we could still use different column schemes for different sections of one outline.

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New user and this is by far the biggest feature request I have. Not having this creates the need for endless workarounds… please?