Using OmniOutliner for an academic work


Hello ! I’ve downloaded a trial version of OmniOutliner which I’m discovering and I was wondering if I could use it for writing the outline of a long document: I mean that I use to write using Scrivener, but I would like, first, to outline and write the main part of a long document in OmniOutliner. Does it support this kind of file with long pieces of text, internal hyperlinks, margin notes, voice recordings and links to files? Thanks for your feedback.


Yes, those sorts of features are supported, though some are only available in the Pro edition. (Keep in mind that a very generous educational discount is offered.)

For detailed information, you can see a feature list for both Mac and iOS versions and get more detailed information in the OmniOutliner manual (this is for the Pro version for macOS).


I’ve used OmniOutliner for this for years, and I think it is perfectly suited! I use it for outlining my writing and also for keeping and organising notes on particular topics. Being able to hyperlink between sections makes it great for that second kind of outline. Focus is also useful for opening only part of a long document at once.

Every line in the outline can potentially have a ‘note’ attached, which you can expand or hide as you like. And you can keep graphics, equations, other attachments etc. in lines. You can also do voice recording within the app and keep the recordings in particular lines - though this is not something I personally do.

You can import your outlines into a Scrivener file also, and have them accessible within that app if you like to work that way.

I’m not sure which of these features are specific to the Pro version.


I’d advise being VERY hesitant about using OmniOutliner for any file you would call “large”. I’ve used it for years, for note taking and I used to love it. But as my files have grown the application has gotten horrendously slow to do just about anything. Later versions of OO don’t seem to improve this (and in fact every version post v3 has just made it worse). OmniGroup appears not to care and one tech support person told me they only have one developer (!) working on OmniOutliner. If that’s true it’s hard to imagine they’re putting very much effort into improving performance. I’ve been actively looking for an alternative but so far with no luck. Sorry to be the bearer of such discouraging news.


If possible, I’m sure Omni would like to have a copy of any outlines that cause Outliner to perform poorly.

At the moment there may only be one engineer on the project, but that’s because it’s stable and energy is going into OmniFocus ahead of its release. A recent major release for both iOS and Mac says to me they’re still quite invested in the app.


@bseixas @nostodnayr
We do care about performance and did just recently make significant improvement to filtering performance in the 5.3.1 & 5.3.2 releases. It is worth noting that some decrease in performance compared to OmniOutliner 3 is expected due to supporting macOS and display improvements like retina graphics and wider color gamuts.

Yes, copies of files with performance issues would indeed be helpful. There are a lot of factors beyond simply row/column/word/attachment count that will have an impact on performance and knowing the exact situations that our customers are in will let us determine where to direct future effort.



Unfortunatly I also began to experiment this steep slowing down of OO (version 5.4.1 (v194.5 r321924)) especially with a couple of long note document I’m using (about 50000 words, which is far from being crazy for text). Restarting the app does help but sometime later it comes back and even writing a few words makes the cpu usage go way up and sometimes the keyboard response is very very poor, which is absolutly not tolerable for an app that is words-oriented. I can use any app confortably on my computer but when i switch back to OO I can clearly see my computer laging… (indeed whe I swith back to OO to check the app version it took half second to show, then clicking on the menu bar lagged another half second, then click on about was laging another bit… doesn’t make things unusable but truly not confortable). So I would really be much much appreciated if you were focusing on this.
I would love to help but, since those documents are my personal notes, I don’t feel confortable sharing them for your test purposes.
Thank you!