What is the Source for Color Names in OmniGraffle

As this is globally the case across products from the Omni Group, I figured that as OmniGraffle is the closest thing to a graphics application in the Omni Group repertoire, I would post this inquiry here. Hence, references to colors in OmniGraffle in this post, are all inclusive for OmniOutliner, OmniPlan, and OmniFocus as well. In the color selection tools in OmniGraffle, when a color pop-up button is selected, the colors have predefined names such as,

  • Obsidian ©
  • Aluminum ℗
  • Silver ℗
  • Chalk ©
  • Carnation ©
  • Rich Grapefruit © “Grapefruit” in the Mac OS X palette
  • Smokey Tangerine © “Tangerine” in the Mac OS X palette
  • Fern ©
  • Light Teal © “Fog” in the Mac OS X palette
  • Deep Sky Blue © “Sky Blue” in the Mac OS X palette
  • Pale Violet ©
  • Deep Cool Granite © “Cool Granite” in the Mac OS X palette

that make up the default color list, where © indicates a match to a named color in the Classic Crayons palette from Mac OS X, and ℗ indicates a named color from the current macOS Crayons palette.

The extent for color names clearly goes well beyond the 48 colors in the older Classic Crayons and current 48 colors in the Pencils (Crayons) color palettes from Apple; some colors do overlap between the two palettes, so there are less than 96 colors in total. For instance, the following from the Office 2007 – 2010 default theme palette are shown with the names that appear with the colors in OmniGraffle:

  • Blue, Accent 1 ➞ Dark Sky Blue
  • Red, Accent 2 ➞ Dark Salmon
  • Olive Green, Accent 3 ➞ Olive
  • Purple, Accent 4 ➞ Dark, Mild Pale Violet
  • Aqua, Accent 5 ➞ Rich Fog
  • Orange, Accent 6 ➞ Rich Grapefruit

The only Apple-named colors in the macOS Colors panel are those in the Apple, Crayons, and Classic Crayons palettes; the latter appear to only be available in OmniGraffle, et al. In some instances, the named colors make no sense. For instance,

  • Blue, Accent 1, Lighter 80%;
  • Red, Accent 2, Lighter 80%;
  • Olive Green, Accent 3, Lighter 80%;
  • Purple, Accent 4, Lighter 80%; and,
  • Aqua, Accent 5, Lighter 80%

from the Office 2007 – 2010 default color theme, obviously have distinct hues, yet are all named “Mercury” when shown in a color pop-up list in OmniGraffle.

So, this raises the question, what is the source of the names for colors in OmniGraffle, et al.? I have seen others have posted similar inquiries in the past, but the answers they received were based on not providing extensive details about what they desired to know. Hopefully, I have provided enough explanation above to get a solid answer.

These are hard coded into the application and have been going back many versions. It is part of the code in an area called OmniAppKit and is not editable outside of the application. We’ve had requests to provide a way to customize the colors in our inspectors, which I’d love to see.

Hopefully this answer is helpful to some extent. If you’d like us to allow color customization, or have other feature requests, please email us from Contact Omni in the Help menu.


Thanks! That is what I wanted to know.

I was not really concerned about the default colors in the inspectors, as I typically will just have the macOS Colors panel open. But on that note, take a look at how Affinity Designer handles color palettes. (Don’t worry, I will not tell anyone you took a look at the competition. 🤫)*

While Affinity Designer does permit the user to access the macOS system-wide Colors panel, it also facilitates accessing the color palettes in the software directly. In the Swatches Studio, the colors from the active (selected) color palette are displayed. By default, the available color palettes are 3 pre-defined Affinity palettes, all the color palettes available in the macOS Colors panel—including the user’s saved custom palettes—, and 12 PANTONE color palettes.

*Actually, Serif does not directly compete with the OmniGroup, so go ahead and steal from the best. It is not as if I have not used OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner as standards when requesting features in other software. 😋