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Book Review: OmniGraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials by Ruben Olsen

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When Packt Publishing shot me an e-mail about reviewing one of their latest books, OmniGraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials, I couldn’t be more than happy to review it! OmniGraffle has been claimed the best diagramming application on the Mac by quite a bit of people. While this isn’t a review of OmniGraffle, we have to say that the Omni Group does an amazing job with all of their applications.

Anyways, OmniGraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials is about how to use OmniGraffle in the most effective ways possible.If you ever thought of how much could actually go into a 380 page book on how to create diagrams, you’ll either be shocked at that or wonder how much can they really talk about. Remember when I said it was easily on of the best diagramming utilities on the Mac? Someone can write a 380 page book on it so easily because of OmniGraffle’s amazing feature sets. Not that it’s hard to use, it just has too many features to name!

But how about we run down on what is covered generally? They’re listed below:

  • An explanation of the things OmniGraffle can and cannot do
  • Diagram basic
  • Exporting your diagrams for others to view
  • Tips and tricks to improve your diagrams
  • Using the built in stencils from various sources
  • Creating shapes for your diagrams visual appearance
  • Using OmniGraffle in the most efficient way possible with keyboard shortcuts
  • Creating your own shapes
  • Making your OmniGraffle diagram look the best with gridlines, colors, and et -cetera
  • Working with layers, cavases, and of course, your workspace
  • And more!

I really have to say that OmniGraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials packs a punch with all of it’s feature filled content. The thing with OmniGraffle in general is that it is an advanced tool if you want it to be. It’s extremely easy to use, but the advanced features really make it something else. OmniGraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials is written for both the ones who would like to learn the more advanced features and also the ones who like to learn by instruction (and a rather bunch of photos too).

After reading OmniGraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials, I felt that I’m an expert on OmniGraffle now. It’s amazing what a few screenshots here and there with instructions can do to a book. The one nice thing I really appreciated is that because there is both a basic and pro edition of OmniGraffle, it can be a bit troublesome to see what version has what. Instead of comparing the two versions on OmniGraffle’s website, OmniGraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials clearly tells you what feature you could be missing and by that, you can really determine if you need that pro version or not.

Towards the end of the book, OmniGraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials really gets into the essential things every OmniGraffle user needs to know. The author starts talking about how to make your diagram look the best and being orderly at the same time. But one more important thing that the book covers would have to be keyboard shortcuts. To use any application efficiently, knowing keyboard shortcuts helps a ton. In this book, it’s no exception to write about. I’ve found that throughout the book, you’re given new keyboard shortcuts as you need them.

You might think, a book on diagramming might be a tad bit boring. In OmniGraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials, author Ruben Olsen really gives you a load of example projects. It is a “by example” book; you’ll be getting all sorts of examples to create the perfect diagram of your dreams.

OmniGraffle 5 Diagramming Essentials is a very powerful book, just like the application. If you’re just getting started with using OmniGraffle or even if you’re a pro, having this book next to your side will be very beneficial. It’s like a user manual but with real world examples. It’s  written in a way that it’s very easy to pick up on what the author is talking about, and it’s also extremely easy to follow along with the given directions. If you’re a person who likes to follow how-to guides with real world examples, this book is for you!

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About Taylor Jasko