Sunday, December 16, 2007

Creating Stageplots on your Mac with OmniGraffle

A while back I posted about stage plots and why they are so important, especially at festival gigs, but I did not go into much detail about how to make one, other than to say draw one by hand if you lack the technical skills. Of course, there's as many ways to make them as there are people making them, but I've been using a program called OmniGraffle for a while, and it occurred to me that it would be a great tool for making stage plots if you're a mac user. It's extremely intuitive once you spend fifteen minutes with it and if you've got the right stencils, it's a breeze.

First download and install OmniGraffle. You won't need to buy it to try it out. You may not even need to buy it at all if your stage plots are simple, since it lets you add up to 20 objects before you have to pay. After you've downloaded Omnigraffle and tried it out a bit, download my stencils, which include an amp stencil, an instrument stencil, and an general purpose stage plot stencil.

After downloading it, unzip the file, and copy the stencils into ~/Library/Application Support/OmniGraffle/Stencils/. Next time you start OmniGraffle, it will see the new stencils and you can grab the images and lay them out on a document. When you're done, save the document and use the export feature to save as a jpeg, or pdf. I threw some instruments together and came up with this in no time flat:

OmniGraffle Stage Plot
(click image to enlarge)

Beautiful it a'int, but clear it is, especially considering all the stuff on stage. For details on what should really go into your stage plot, remember to see my blog posting on that subject, but you get the idea. If you have an instrument not covered (I only did the basics), you can either use a box and label it or find a picture of it online.


  1. greetings-
    thank you so much for posting this!

    i downloaded both the program and the stencils and created a stage plot no problem.

    this was exactly what i've been looking for.

    scarlet rowe
    Action City Blackout

  2. Glad to help. Love your music BTW! Good Luck and hope to check out Action City Blackout when you come to Atlanta!

  3. I grabbed it too - it's great! Thanks Bjorn.


  4. Was looking for a stencil I could use to present at a recording competition. This is perfect! Thanks so much!

  5. Many moons later I ran into your post that solved my problem. Thank you so much! Great job Bjorn!

  6. I still have problems when I have the stage plan on pdf. I can upload it on Omnigraffle but then i don't know how to layer proportional it so I can set on the plan some extra elements like podiums and instruments.

    Shanti Perpellini
    Argovia Philarmonic Orchestra (Switzerland)

    1. Shanti Perpellini, I'm sorry I don't follow your question, but this post is pretty out of date as well -- OmniGraffle has come out with at least one new major versions since I wrote it.