My latest use of OmniGraffle

We’re finishing up a makeover of the girls’ playroom today into what I am calling “casual contemporary schoolroom” style. And OmniGraffle came in handy for making a scale drawing of the new layout (click to enlarge):

Picture 1-10

The room is 11 by 13 feet. Once I measured the room, I just drew an 8-inch-long rectangle and set the width to be 11/13 times 8 inches wide. Then I could go and measure each object we are putting in, and manually resize its drawing to have the right proportions using one of the inspectors in OmniGraffle. Conversely, and perhaps more helpfully, I could draw new stuff in the room with the proportions I wanted, then do the math to see how big they would be in real life, which helps me in shopping for that stuff. (For example, we haven’t bought the art table, but I now know from the drawing that it would need to be about 2′ long in order to look like it does in the layout.)

It was especially handy to have little resizable pictures of some of the items we are actually putting in the playroom, like the birds-eye view of the computer monitor and keyboard. These are part of some of the stencil packages that come with the software. And we could even experiment with the color scheme, as you see with the sofa.

I’ve already expressed my affection for OmniGraffle, and one of the reasons is that it’s usable for a lot more than making flowcharts.

Now I have to quit blogging and go move furniture and toys back in!

Update: It occurred to me that this would be a pretty good exercise in teaching kids how to work with ratios and proportions, in case any pre-algebra teachers are out there reading.

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3 responses to “My latest use of OmniGraffle

  1. Jackie

    My immediate thought (before getting to your update) was that this would be an excellent project in Geometry: similarity, ratio of areas of similar figures, measurement (what do I do with 4 feet 3 inches?)….

    Never having used the program, my questions are how intuitive is it? How long did it take you to complete the above drawing?

  2. First of all, realize that OmniGraffle is Macintosh only — there isn’t a version for Windows. So if you haven’t got a Mac, then it might all be a moot point. You would have to use something similar like Microsoft Visio. (At least, people say that those two programs are somewhat similar; I’ve never used Visio so I don’t know for sure.)

    I found OmniGraffle to be very intuitive, and the help system is very good too in case you need extra help.

    All the objects in the drawing are put in by clicking and dragging figures from a stencil into the document, and then resizing them by clicking and dragging (or, in my case, using an inspector to manually resize).To actually make the drawing — not counting time spent rearranging the “furniture” to try out different design options — took me about 45 minutes.

  3. Jackie

    Thanks for the information. Luckily, the entire school is running on macs 🙂 Now I just have to see about getting the program… hmm teaching summer school (geometry) in a little over one week…