What's YOUR roadmap?

Another thread cites OO not being mentioned in the new 2020 roadmap. So I thought I’d ask users what they would like to see for further OO development.

For me, the two biggies are:

  1. Allowing a filtered view to show children rows as well as parent rows (filtering is mostly useless to me if I don’t get to see the children items below the parent items)

  2. Allow multiple choices from a drop-down list

What are yours?

The real game changer would be to have columns and check boxes definable per row/level. Just that would be, as far as I can see, totally unique in terms of outliner functionality. There has to be a way to make it happen.
(All the work arounds like hiding/filtering columns and rows just dont cut it.)

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If I could have anything I wanted for OO, there are 3 things.

  1. Better handling of embedded attachments, particularly images. I like to insert graphics into my outlines, but the presentation is unsightly.

  2. A Microsoft Windows version. I’m no Windows user but I work in a Windows shop. So I can’t get my team on OO. I would use OO much more extensively than I do, if I could make my entire team adopt it. On the other hand, if there were a more robust way of importing/exporting outlines, especially multi-column ones, back-and-forth between OO and Word(?), that might be just as good a solution as having a Windows version.

  3. Allowing users to to define/change the “main column.” I don’t know what it’s called. Here is the issue. Sometimes I paste MS Word lists/outlines into OO. When I do, the outline numbering ends up in column 1 and the text goes in column 2. I usually want column 2’s information and not column 1’s. But that column 1 is the primary column and there is no way to swap column 1 and 2 or delete column 1. My only solution is to paste the outline without formatting and then I have to go clean up a lot of text row by row.


I’d add the ability to save focussed views, the same way we can save searches.

Also, the ability to open different views of the same file in different tabs. That would be amazing.


I almost forgot my top choice: if I filter for something, I need to see that row’s ancestors AND its descendants.

Ecco Pro allowed that, and it greatly expanded the ways we could use outlines. OO is really good, but it cannot yet match Ecco’s flexibility. I’m still dreaming that someday it will, and thereby blow all other outliners out of the water.

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My #1 addition would be the ability to tag items with a value, and then be able to see all tagged items in a separate view that allows sorting by the tags. One use of the ability would be to assign priorities and dates to action items, and then see a listed sorted by priority and date without disturbing the underlying outline. This was Grandview’s primary strength. Circus Ponies Notebook allowed a limited version of it. OmniOutliner started on that path, but then the capability got pulled into OmniFocus.

For me there’s too much overhead in having to use a separate piece of software for handling action items when all of my planning and information storage is already being done in an outliner. As is OmniOutliner does let me maintain an automatically-sorted prioritized list of items that’s easy to copy/paste from/to my primary notes, so it gets me far enough along that path to do what I need–just not as efficiently as I would like.

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Did Ecco Pro allow column or checkbox configurations definable by row/level??

Yes. Using tabs, you could have as many different views of the outline as you wanted: different columns, different sorts, different filters, pretty much anything you wanted. Just writing those words makes me miss it even more.

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If we could have some kind of many to many tagging along with the kind of sorting you are talking about, OO could bridge the gap between outliner and simple relational database. That could be very powerful.

Tinderbox already can do that, def, but quite a commitment of $ and time getting up to speed. Ridiculously capable, amazing user community, but def triple black diamond artisanal software…

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I’ve used OmniOutliner since v1. I find myself using OO to open old outlines, but I work on new outlines in Dynalist, which I find much easier to work with.

I wish OO had the navigation and filtering features of Dynalist:

  • Clickable tags that reveal all items with the same tag;

  • Saved searches;

  • A Hoist widget to the left of any topic;

  • A breadcrumb path at the top of the window for instant navigation upstream;

  • Search filter that will reveal only items containing search item;

None of these features require advanced engineering. They require embracing a slightly different design that works better.


FWIW, OO does have Saved Searches (they’ll show up in the Filter sidebar), and the search filter will reveal only items containing search terms. Just use Filter instead of Batch Find. And you can create clickable tags - in the Filter sidebar.

I put the Focus icon on the toolbar (works the same as the hoist widget).

As for the way Dynalist works, to each their own. I tried it, it’s cool, but I prefer OO’s interface, and Dynalist’s lack of columns is a deal-breaker for me.

But, as always, YMMV.

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  1. A styling system that is easier to grok.
  2. An option to have a library-based system, rather than individual files.
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A library-based system instead of individual files would be just what I don’t want, in part because if something goes wrong it can impact everything rather than one file, and in part because I depend upon being able to keep my files in a super-secured dmg partition (I need to store lots of sensitive information for clients).


I totally understand and that’s why it would need to be optional. Which is probably very hard to code and create a UX model that does both. So it probably won’t ever happen!

A simpler way to create themes, and a theme gallery where users can share editable themes, as you can do with Ulysses and MacDown (which uses the quasi-standard Rainglow theme collection also available for Slack, Sublime, Xcode, Coda and others) and Highland (which also has an awesome web-based theme-builder), and others.

To add my picks here :-)


  • Tags from Dynalist (a click on a tag becomes an ephemeral smart search)
  • Breadcrumbs (can be smart about it, I don’t think the “full path” is needed, can be trimmed to “root + immediate parent”)

Small tweaks:

  • Just add Focus to the toolbar by default (don’t make me go and add it, don’t make me right-click to select it)
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The advantage of the library system would be that you could create links to any branch even outside of the current file

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I just got a subscription of OO, so great to see so many ideas for future development!

to share in (and second some things already mentioned):

• “multiple choices from a drop-down list”!!!
• footnote handling
• aliases/clones (like DevonThink, Tinderbx et al.)
• consistent custom styling of rows beyond rtf-format (e.g. pick-list styling works only halfway…)
• saved views for in-/visible rows
• boolean searches (in main search box)
• breadcrumb / history
• “Better handling of embedded attachments, particularly images”!!! - esp. titles/captions (like Ulysses e.g.)

I´d dearly hope some of the subscription money goes into any of the things mentioned in this thread :-D

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I am super interested in whether @kcase has any input on the future of OmniOutliner. Such a powerful great app, I hope it continues to be developed as suggested in this and the linked thread!