OmniOutliner columns import

Firstly my apologies if this has been covered before. I’ve searched the forums but not found this particular topic.

I am a big fan of OmniOutliner on Mac as a starting point for my novels, then I migrate to Scrivener when I’ve got some structure to my ideas. I know I could do all this in Scrivener itself but it’s just the way I like to work and I find OmniOutliner a good and flexible tool.

I end up with columns in OmniOutliner for various reasons (plot points, characters, etc). When I export to OPML, then import to Scrivener, I only get the first column as the title of a document. The structuring and outlining all work fine, but I don’t get any of the column information.

IDEALLY…I’d like to be able to take a column in OmniOutliner and populate Scrivener - e.g. a column would become the Synopsis field, another column might become the status field, another column the document notes, etc.

Has anyone had any experience of this or have any ideas for a solution? Would some kind of script work perhaps? I have investigated Omni’s website and it looks quite closed - i.e. I’m not sure that scripting would work?
Or perhaps it’d be possible via another application like a spreadsheet?

If all this sounds a bit convoluted then so be it - perhaps I should go back to solely using Scrivener…

I’d welcome any thoughts or ideas.


Maybe this is valid in your case?

Thanks, yes that is really helpful. I can experiment with bringing notes from OmniO into the synopsis fields in Scrivener.
The real restriction seems to be the columns in OmniO - and that they don’t get exported, then imported in the way I would need them - perhaps a limitation of OPML and Omni, rather than Scrivener.
I will try experimenting via Word, but it’s all a bit convoluted for a regular workflow.

I was hoping for a bit of scripting magic out there somewhere :slight_smile:

That’s exactly the problem. In fact OPML doesn’t even have official support for storing anything other than a hierarchy of headlines. The ability to store notes attached to a headline is more of a loose convention that a bunch of mostly Mac developers have adopted over the years. So that’s how you can get notes/synopses between OO and Scrivener—anything else would require a more comprehensive OPML specification (not likely, it hasn’t changed in just under a decade).

That would in theory be possible—I don’t think I’ve ever come across anything that actually does that already, but both Scrivener and OmniOutliner have XML formats, so one versed in XML programming could indeed write a script that converted an OO to a binder hierarchy. It would be quite a project though—and for the moment OO supports more column types than we do (we’ll be supporting more types in the future, but even so one would need to convert between data storage methods).

Thank you so much, that’s really helpful in the way you have explained it. I’ll work with what I have!