Sometimes in a mad scramble to meet deadlines, we “have” to get Omnigraffle and Visio to play nice with each other. Here are some workarounds for those pesky issues to make the best of a tough situation. Please add to the list based on your own experiences.
Set a Master Template
Use either Visio or Omnigraffle as the master tool with the other contributing only on page level design. Standardize layout, fonts, stencils, alignment and grid on one master page that is imported and followed closely on the other. Obviously, ensure the fonts are compatible across the two platforms. Check out http://www.ampsoft.net/webdesign-l/WindowsMacFonts.html for reference.
Avoid Transparencies, Gradients and Shadows
In the slave application keep things as simple as possible. For instance, transparencies, gradients and shadows don’t translate well. So adjust these properties after importing to the master application. The following illustration highlights the issues.
There is a lot lost in translation, apart from the usual Mac vs PC differences. Some text is missing, spacing is different, gradient becomes solid, and the background color is of a different shade.
Use a Single Layer
Delete all hidden/unwanted layers when exporting from Omnigraffle. And remember that Visio compresses all layers into one when exporting.
Export as XML
XML is the standard format for collaboration. The file size balloons to 8-10 times but saving as native format after merging takes it back to a reasonable ground.