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Thursday, May 26, 2005 1:20am
OmniGraffle 4 brings outline view, Bezier curves
Following our exclusive sneak peek, The Omni Group today released the first public beta of OmniGraffle 4. The new version is a major update to the diagramming and drawing application; it offers a streamlined user interface as well as many new features for brainstorming, drafting, import and export, and document management. Version 4 features a new dynamic outline view, diagram styles, a Bezier curve drawing tool, and greatly improved import and export options. OmniGraffle Professional 4 adds master canvases, notes, tables, document scale, improved Visio XML import and export, and SVG export, and more.

The company said that it has consolidated eighteen inspectors into three powerful inspector windows--all without losing any critical functionality. Each window has tab-like buttons for switching between inspectors. Version 4 also offers a new utility drawer, which contains the new outline view, and also lists canvases and their layers.

The new Outline view allows users to quickly jot down thoughts or topics from which OmniGraffle is automatically creating objects in the main window. OmniGraffle now offers diagram styles, which allow users to associate a different style with each level in the outline. Users can create their own styles or use one from the built-in styles.

OmniGraffle's new Bezier curve drawing tool allows users to easily create custom shapes with lines made up of curves, straight lines, and control points. A Bezier curve can specify not only the end points of a shape's line, but also the direction of the line as it passes through the end points, offering nearly unlimited control over every object.

Version 4 now supports LiveLink, an open-source technology designed
to facilitate content management. With LiveLink, when users can copy graphics
from OmniGraffle to another application that supports LiveLink. The Omni Group also said that it has improved nearly all existing import and export options, including the addition of a new vector PICT export format, better support for copy/paste to Carbon applications, support for hyperlinks within PDF documents, and export of multiple canvas Graffle files as a single, multiple-page PDF file.

The Pro version brings support for a master canvas, which can be applied to any canvas in your document--the background layer allows users to drag and drop saved elements and other objects within the document to apply its styles and
elements. Other new Pro-ony features include Notes, the ability to create tables from any shape (as well as rows/columns via drag & drop), document scaling (with a new ruler that features automatic dimensioning), Visio XML import/export, SVG export, and more.

The Omni Group is targeting early summer for release of the final version of OmniGraffle 4. It will cost $80, while OmniGraffle 4 Professional will cost $150. Upgrades from OmniGraffle 3 to 4 will cost $30 and upgrades from OmniGraffle 3 Professional to OmniGraffle 4 Professional will cost $50.

More information can be found in our exclusive sneak peek at OmniGraffle 4.