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This page will discuss the user interface for the AutoInput feature in Calc and Writer (also known as auto-completion.)

Status: Work in progress.

How it works

In Calc


In cell input mode or in edition mode when the cursor is at the end of the field.


The content of a cell above the edited cell, if not a formula.

The name of named ranges (see Issue 73997 ) in formula edition or input mode.

In Writer


Issues with discoverability

  • The feature is hard to find in the menu because of unadapted intermediary steps:
    • In Calc, the option is located in Tools > Cell content > AutoInput. This is illogical since the feature does not deal with cell content, but about the method used to input that content. For examples of users that do not find this menu entry, see Issue 40908 , Issue 17505 and Issue 93483 .
    • In Writer, the option is configured via a tab in the Tools > AutoCorrect… dialog. But semantically, 'AutoInput' does not correct what the user has typed, it just helps her/him to enter it. So it is likely that many users wanting to configure AutoInput do not find where to make the changes (to do: look for issues).
  • The name of the feature is poorly chosen, and it has consequences on discoverability, because it does not match the name spontaneously given by most users when talking about the feature, which is 'auto-completion'. As a consequence, users looking for the feature may not recognize that this is the feature they are looking for. The reason why 'AutoInput' has been preferred to auto-completion in Calc seems to be that it does not complete a word, but suggests a previous input. This is a questionable choice for Calc, but there is no such argument for Writer.
  • The lack of feedback explicating what happened after completion, may in many cases (such as Issue 47848 or Issue 51483 ) prevent the user to understand the feature, or even that there is a feature. We then miss an occasion to learn the user a new feature.
  • AutoInput in Calc uses the Sort Lists defined in Tools > Options… > Calc > Sort Lists as sources for AutoInput, changing the capitalization accordingly (see Issue 3765 ). But it does not use it as a source for completion suggestions, so the user cannot know that this change of capitalization is done by AutoInput. The user then cannot know that it can be disabled with Tools > Cell Content > AutoInput.

Issues with navigation

Issues with capitalization

  • In Calc: when the word is written in extenso, AutoInput has no other effect than changing capitalization. Many users complain then that it is not possible to enter some word with two different capitalizations in the same column, see Issue 73036 , Issue 5743 , Issue 47848 , Issue 51483 , Issue 51236 and Issue 52784 . Actually, rules concerning capitalization are very unpredictable and depend upon the capitalization of both the first cell containing the text and the text typed, with different kind of capitalization (first letter, all caps, no caps at all…). It needs more work to tell exactly how it works.
  • AutoInput in Calc uses the Sort Lists defined in Tools > Options… > Calc > Sort Lists as sources for AutoInput, changing the capitalization accordingly (see Issue 3765 ).

Inconsistency between Calc and Writer

  • Interaction design differs in Writer and Calc for AutoInput. See Issue 8453 for user complaining about it, and this message by Graham Perrin for further details about the differences.
  • Options and their interface differs: in Writer, AutoInput is a tab in Tools > AutoCorrect… but in Calc it is an entry in Tools > Cell Content. For examples of users expecting the feature to have the same configuration interface in the two modules, see Issue 75413 , Issue 80191 , Issue 82106 and Issue 34418 .

Inconsistency with auto-complete features from other products

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