Importing from OmniOutliner

I was fascinated by Scrivener when I first saw it and almost immediately registered, but I haven’t really used it yet (I’ve had it a couple of months) because I haven’t found a simple way of importing my outlines from OmniOutliner into Scrivener. Any ideas? It would be nice to use it for my PhD thesis.

Also, I note that the latest (beta) version uses a red/green icon to show a changed state. Not much good if you’re red/green colour blind (as about 20% of men are).

I’m not really sure what you mean about the red/green icon - maybe you mean the document targets. If so, you have the indicator anyway - I can’t very well do much else.

As for importing from OO, you can export from OmniOutliner using the MultiMarkdown exporter and import to Scrivener using File > Import > MultiMarkdown. This will keep the structure. I’ve never tried it myself, mind, as I haven’t used the OO MMD exporter, but I am told it works fine.


I export my outlines from OmniOutliner in RTF format and then drag that file into Scrivener.

Many thanks for your suggestions. I’ll try the MultiMarkdown as it’s the structure I’m interested in preserving.

I’m sorry if the comment about the red/green icon came over as more “hacked off” than intended. Living with colour blindness is more difficult than you might believe. I’ve just discovered, at the age of 55, that Cadbury’s chocolate wrappers are purple, not blue as I’d always assumed. I’ve usually found that yellow/blue is easy to see for most people – which may be why police cars in the UK commonly use that colour contrast. Red/green is just invisible to me for much of the time.

Thank you again for the tips.

Best wishes,


No problem - I didn’t take your comment as being “hacked off” at all; I was just saying that given that it’s a standard distinction (traffic lights etc), it is what will make sense to most. The icon is so small that it isn’t a great indicator even if you’re not colour-blind, anyway. :slight_smile: The progress bar is meant to be the main thing. And I always wondered why police cars over here had started to use the yellow-blue chequered theme these days…

You will need OmniOutliner Professional for the MultiMarkdown plugin ( … niOutliner) to work.

Damn! Another expense! Oh well… What about the Outline Processor Markup Language export option in OO? Is there any way of using that as a stepping stone for importing into Scrivener?

Funny how file conversion problems have dominated my life recently – try getting contacts and calendars in various applications to agree with each other. Life is too short…

Thanks again,


Well, I’ve been in hell too, my friend. Maybe I still am. I don’t know how many note apps I have gone through the past years. And all that time I have tried to move data between them. It has not always been easy. I’m still stuck with huge amounts of data in different file formats. New versions of the same apps constantly require me to update the outdated documents. Sometimes, it’s such a hassle. I believe I started out with simple WP for Mac files in the good old classic Mac days. Oh yeah, it’s so easy to read them now.

I must say, OmniOutliner has stayed with me all this time. I tried to dump it various times, and always came back to it at some point. It’s because of its OPML export and import capability, I think. I just know that my data is secure and ready for export. OmniOutliner is more of a safe haven than the perfect app for me. One thing that I dislike about OmniOutliner is that it doesn’t have a trashcan. One delete stroke by accident, and the data is gone–and it can happen when you’re not looking. I have some rather large notebooks in OmniOutliner. They are the source of my inspiration for projects I am working on in Scrivener. So there’s no dumping of OmniOutliner for me.

At the moment, Scrivener has been a place I can call home for my writing projects. I wish that Scrivener was there from day one. It could have saved me a lot of time and certainly a lot of money. Recently, I have moved back to also using paper notebooks. I just like pencil and paper. Exchanging these for the pure digital has been my goal for the past years, but it hasn’t been truly working. So now I use Moleskine notebooks together with Scrivener. And yes, there’s a data conversion problem between these two too :laughing: .

Just to let people know I did manage to import an outline. I exported it from OmniOutliner as a tab file, then I did a search and replace in TextWrangler to convert the tabs to # signs, which makes the file into a MultiMarkdown file. This was then imported into Scrivener. The only fly in the ointment appears to be that text doesn’t wrap in Scrivener outlines (unlike Omni), unless I have missed how to activate the function in Scrivener. So I suspect I will be using Omni a bit longer, as I like its outlining facility.

Best wishes,

Martin BB

Titles don’t wrap in Scrivener outlines, but synopses do. If it is longer text, you really want it as a synopsis instead of a title… But unfortunately you can’t do that with the MMD import.

Actually, that’s not true… I like Omni and OmniOutliner, and have registered for the Pro upgrade. But it’s not a requirement to use the plugin. I don’t remember off the top of my head which folder in the Library the plugin needs to be put in, but it wasn’t hard to figure out (it’s basically similar to the instructions for the Pro version)

Is this true? I’ve tried placing the Markdown.ooxsl folder in a every place I could think of, but it doesn’t seem to work.

Yup - I developed my plug-in before I upgrade to Pro. I don’t remember offhand which folder had to be used, but it wasn’t complicated to figure it out. I’m pretty sure you just need a folder called “Plug-Ins” inside the Omni folder in Library (wherever the non-pro version puts it.)

I suppose they could have closed this “hole” at some point, but it worked for me without a hitch. I upgraded to enable other features, and so I could really use Kinkless GTD… (Which I don’t use any more, but it was a well designed product).

I’ve tried to create a Plug-Ins folder under ~/Library/Application Support/OmniOutliner 3/ and in the Library-folder under my user-home. To bad if they’ve shut this hole, but it makes me start to think about a pro-upgrade…

Fletchers oo2markdown plug-in still works if you invoke it from the command line:

xsltproc -o test.txt oo2markdown.xsl test.oo3/contents.xml

Or even better: wrap it in up in a Platypus Droplet:

#!/bin/sh xsltproc -o "$2.txt" "$1/Contents/Resources/oo2markdown.xsl" "$2/contents.xml"

Path: /Users/YOU/Library/Application Support/OmniOutliner 3/Plug-ins

Restart OmniOutliner Pro (version 3.6.2 – v143.19)

File > Export > See popup menu (two options are listed)

The version of the markdown plugin that I downloaded a couple of months ago prevents OmniOutliner from opening MORE files that don’t have a file extension. Omni support says this also applies other files without extensions–I haven’t tested this. They suggested adding .more to the file name. I decided to create an archive of the markdown plugin and expand only when I need it.

Hope this helps


~/Library/Application Support/OmniOutliner 3 is where the Pro version goes, so that is not the right place. It was definitely a different location.

In my path myuser/Library/Application Support the only folder that relates to Omnigroup is one called Omni Group. But putting a Plug-Ins folder there doesn’t work.