Loosing font sizes when theme changes


I’m very new to Omnioutliner (still trying out the trial version-4.1.4).

I’ve had a play with swapping between various themes in an outline - I’m thinking that this might be useful to have a print theme (white background) and a screen theme with more colours.

When I change between themes the document looses some of the font styling - especially the sizes. Every style seems to drop down to 13pt size. I would expect the font sizes to be defined in the themes, as they are when you create a new outline based on a theme.

Is this a bug, or have I misunderstood how themes are meant to work?


The default font for OO (OmniOutliner) is Helvetica Regular 12 if you cleared everything in Style Attributes.

Are you applying themes that come with OO? Each theme will apply its custom settings to the entire document, which includes font selections and sizes. You can customize your own font choices to a theme. If you want two themes based on your workflow, I would pick a theme, modify the settings you want, then save your own template. In your case, you would create a Print Template and a Screen Template.

File > Save As Template

I think of modifying OO in terms of layers. You’ll see how the layers are in the Inspector under Style Attributes. Once you get over this learning curve, it’s super powerful. You can modify styles based on

  • Highlighting specific text within a row
  • Selecting a row or multiple rows
  • Selecting Levels on the left sidebar to modifying everything in that Level, then even modifying an individual selection on top of that layer
  • Applying a Style to a Level to affect all levels in the document

Notice the changes in the inspector when you modify something over it’s default. An X will appear showing that it’s been modified. You can click the X to bring it back to the default. The tricky part is knowing what you have selected. You will get different results based on if you selected a Level, a row, individual text, etc.

One keyboard shortcut I’m fond of is CTRL+CMD+Delete. Located in Format > Clear Style. If you modified something over it’s default, this will bring it back to your default settings.

Also, increasing font sizes could be faster for you by using CMD+ or CMD- instead of using the font inspector. I use both depending on what I’m doing.

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Thanks for your thorough explanation Reverti.

I’m using themes that come installed with OmniOutline, and I’m still not sure why the font size formatting is lost.

As an example - if I start a new outline based on the ‘Stylish’ theme.

And then straight away change the theme to ‘classic’ - all the fonts are dropped down to 12 point.
When I would have expected the theme’s font description to be implemented on the current document so that it looks like this (this is a newly created ‘classic’ outline).

If I select all the rows and then ‘Format->Clear Styles’ it doesn’t revert the fonts to their theme defined sizes.

So the question is still - is this how moving between themes is meant to work?

I want to make sure I understand how you are changing themes. Are you using Format > Apply Template Theme…?

Hmm - no, I’ve been clicking the ‘theme’ button on the toolbar.

But I just tried using that menu command, both on an existing outline, and on one newly created from a template, and using that menu command still results in fonts for all styles being reverted to 12 point (my original post said 13 - I think that was a mistake). (As you can see from the screenshots above, the font style and colour is changed, it’s just the size that doesn’t change the way I would expect.)

I believe I’m on the same page with you. Format > Apply Template is the same as the Theme button, so we are talking about the same thing.

Each Theme (or Template) has a font setting assigned to it. If you apply a Theme, it will not apply part of the Theme. It will apply everything including font selections. Does this seem like the problem you’re running into?

Do you have a font preference that you’re aiming for? If so, I would pick a Theme, adjust the fonts you want in the Whole Document on the sidebar, which will create your default font for the entire outline. Afterwards, you can adjust the Levels which will be a layer on top of the Whole Document. If you were to Clear Style on a Level, it will revert back to your choices in the Whole Document. If you’re unsure what your Whole Document or Level settings are, refer to Style Attributes, so you can see everything. Make sure you know what you have highlighted. For instance:

  • Click Whole Document, then click Style Attributes
  • Click Level, then click Style Attributes
  • If you click an area in your outline, then click Style Attributes, it will only show that one area. I’ve confused myself with this sometimes, when I’m trying to adjust the Whole Document, a Level, or a Style on the left sidebar.
  • This applies for everything in the inspector as well. Click one thing, then browse the entire inspector to adjust settings. Colors, fonts, backgrounds, etc. Style Attributes is a birds eye view of every setting for what you have selected.

You could even open two outlines side-by-side, open the left sidebars on both, and drag Whole Document to the other Whole Document to apply it’s font settings. From there, you could click Whole Document, go into Style Attributes, and remove specific settings you don’t want by clicking the small X’s. Remember, think in layers. If you clear styles, you will revert back to the Whole Document settings.

Let me know if any of these tips are helping. There are a handful of approaches to create the document you want including creating your own Templates. If you have a bunch of settings you want to start with most of the time, I suggest modifying an outline to your liking, then saving it as a Template under File > Save As Template…

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Yep - that’s exactly the issue. One part of a theme-namely the size of the fonts-doesn’t get applied when I apply a new theme. (And at the moment I’m only using the themes that comes bundled with OO4.)

And the reason this is an issue, is that I could see the benefit of having a ‘print’ theme that doesn’t have any background colours (or fewer of them) and then a ‘screen’ theme that uses all sorts of colours.

So, it seems that my expectations is how OO is meant to work (or even how it does work for you Revearti) - so either I’m doing something wrong, or have corrupt themes, or there’s a bug in the version I’m using (currently 4.2 v171 r229669).

Hmm. I’m experimenting with changing themes, and it’s only copying over the Whole Document settings along with the Styles underneath the Levels. The Levels are being ignored. I’m going to email Omni because I’m curious about this as well. I’m not sure if this is intentional or not.

Actually, I just realized something. The themes do not have level settings. The levels are blank, so they are being applying correctly. The fonts and colors that you see were adjusted individually versus on the Level layer.

The top Styles will carry over and apply to your outline.

  • Whole Document
  • Levels
  • Notes
  • Columns

The bottom Styles will carry over as well, but they will not be applied to anything. They are merely shortcuts with color and font selections that you apply to areas individually or in bulk. You can apply these to a Level if you’d like by dragging a Style to a Level. You can also click a Level, then to go to the first area on the Inspector, which is Styles, then change the Included Styles at the bottom.

If you want specific Level settings to apply to your outline, you will need to modify them first then Save As Template. You can also modify the template in the future instead of making a new one from scratch when you want to make small adjustments.

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Thanks Revearti,

Thanks makes sense.

It’s not what I would expect. I was assuming that things like the heading levels were hard coded into the document, and would be applied when you change themes - think a little bit like the relationship between HTML and CSS.
But instead it seems that levels are where the layout information is coded - and the ‘heading’ styles are really just a combination of font/colour/size that are applied on to of the document - and are thus lost when you change themes.
Not what I’d expect - but not a bug either.

Hmm - I think this makes it a bit trickier to jump back and forth between themes for the purpose of printing vs. screen. I don’t think I’ve seen a place where you can create a print style - e.g. define ‘don’t print background colours’. Maybe it’s a matter of choosing non-coloured backgrounds for outlines that I think I might print.

For the background issue, this is what I do when it comes time to print.

I have a marble-tint background while working. When I’m ready to print, I click Whole Document > Style Attributes, then press the X on the background color to remove it, print the document, then CMD+Z to bring it back.

It would be nice to see a remove background color feature during printing, but I’ve been getting along with this step for a while.

Thanks - that doesn’t seem too much of a work around, especially since I can’t see myself printing outlines all the time.

And thanks for all your thorough help - you should be on the omni payroll!

Haha, I would work for Omni, but I’m far away. :) I’m glad I was able to help you a little bit. I’ve been hooked on the Omni products for about four years. They are polished, powerful, and I’m glad they’ve made it to the iPhone this year for quick on-the-go entry. It all started with OmniFocus. I’m constantly finding creative ways to use OmniFocus and OmniOutliner. I’m slowly getting better with OmniGraffle. As for OmniOutliner, it has been replacing a lot of my various data tracking apps because I can create a simple workflow inside of the app. I hope their products work out for you during your trials. This is a friendly forum community as well if you have more questions.

This is intriguing to me. Could you explain a little more?

When Auto-leveling is active, the task gets scheduled depending on any of the calendars instead of taking both into account.