Multiple selection of grouped objects

Am I right that there is no way in OmniGraffle to select multiple objects at once if such objects are within groups? As in: create on oval and a rectangle, then group them; duplicate the group. Now I want to select the two ovals: is that possible?

Am I the only one who finds this a much needed feature?

The easiest way is in the sidebar. Expand the group, in the Layer’s sidebar, then hold shift and select the objects you want. Use Command if the items you want to select aren’t right next to each other.

You can also click twice to select objects inside of a group, and with the same modifier keys add to the selection.

Sorry, I haven’t explained myself clearly enough. I meant, you cannot select objects in different groups at the same time, can you?

No, you can’t at the same time. Sorry. As far as I know, that isn’t possible.

My use case is as follows: I have a few groups, each one containing, say, a rectangle (plus other objects). Currently, if I want to change a property of such rectangles (say, adding a shadow to all of them, or change the stroke width), I have to select each rectangle inside each group one by one and change the property of interest. It would be nice if I could select all of them (ideally, in the Selection tab in the left sidebar).

It would be a great to be able to select inside of groups with the selection sidebar. Everyone who would like to see this capability in the future, please request email a feature request to


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No. There is a better way.

  • First, select and change one rectangle, while it remains in the grouped Object. Keep it selected. That is your source [set of properties].

  • Now use the Property Well (at the bottom of the window … I don’t know the proper name).

  • Pick up (click & drag) the property that you wish to change (eg. Shadow, which includes all the settings for Shadow in the source Shape)

  • Drop it on the Shape in the target grouped Object

  • Repeat for the next target Shape.

If you mean the Outline Sidebar, yes, that would be a good way of selecting [collecting] a series of Shapes that are inside grouped Objects. I don’t see how it can be done otherwise.

But whoa, then the Outline Sidebar needs substantial enhancement first, a proper hierarchic display, allowing access to contained Shapes (in OG 5.4.4 is a flat display with no access to shapes in a grouped Object).

Understanding the intellective issue, as detailed in this post will assist in understanding the issues in this thread.

I didn’t know about that “property well”. It really streamlines this task. Thanks!

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The proper name is Style Well. As in Style of the current Selected Shape (not grouped Object).

Another facility, that I believe will assist you with the kind of drawings you erect in OG. Not really related to this thread. Not for newcomers, one needs a bit of experience in OG, and particularly with grouped Objects.

Re multiple instances of a grouped Object. If you want the ability to change one of those instances, and have that change reflected in all instances, there is a method.

The implementation isn’t very good (not intuitive; it should be a Master::Instance model) but it works really well once you get the hang of it. Some users report finicky issues, but I do not have such: I think that is because I have a rock solid Grid, and I am Grid-oriented everywhere.

Hints for Understanding

  • Don’t think of it as [the intuitive] Master:Instance model, because it is not, there is no Master, It is a collection of copies. If you change one occurrence of the Object, every occurrence of the Object is changed

  • Even the name Link-Back is horrible because that name already exists, and has established connotations. Think of it as the virtual space in which the Object [any occurrence of the Object] is edited.

  • It works the same as Shared Layers (which is great for users of the newer releases, but horrible if one has experience with OG 4 Master Canvases). That is, if you change a Shared Layer anywhere, it is changed in all instances. Pffft.