OmniGraffle, now in version 5, is Mac software that simplifies the creation of wireframes, flowcharts and other diagrams by providing shape, line, arrow, text and graphics tools to use on a blank canvas. Many stencil sets, which are collections of graphics with a particular theme, are available that make the software even more powerful.
At the root of OmniGraffle are stencils. Stencil sets range from “Basic” (think circle, square, and triangle) to options such as “Circuit Engineering” and “Business: Office Layout.” Through the use of stencils, countless types of diagrams can be created such as website wireframes, a network flowchart, an iPhone application layout, or a mockup of a print design. Aside from the built-in stencils that come with OmniGraffle, many are available online. Graffletopia, which can now be searched directly within OmniGraffle, is a website dedicated to free stencils with options ranging from “Ultimate iPhone Stencil” to one of their most downloaded sets, “Apple Elements.”
Once a basic layout is established through the use of stencils, OmniGraffle has a large tool set allowing the user to customize the look and feel of a diagram. All basic functions are available that would be expected in a piece of graphics software, such as control over color, type, transparency and images. While OmniGraffle certainly isn’t intended to be a full-featured graphics program such as Photoshop, it focuses on diagramming and provides more than the necessary tools for that function. Bezier lines and shapes are now available, allowing for the creation of more complex graphics right in OmniGraffle.
The ease-of-use of OmniGraffle is obvious when setting up a page layout. Objects can snap to a grid, and connecting lines and arrows are automatically placed in position as you draw them. Object labels are also automatically positioned, avoiding wasted time trying to achieve a precise layout. The Automatic Layout Inspector makes things even easier, with options such as hierarchical and radial, placing your elements in position on the page for you.
Overall, the simple interface of OmniGraffle, along with powerful tools and stencils, make it an excellent application for creating design mockups, flowcharts, and any other type of diagram for your graphic design (or other) projects.