Notes2 Reply

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An author can reply to an existing Note of another author. For such a case, Notes interaction and visualization is optimized.

The initial idea of replying to another author's notes has been discussed at Other Ideas for Notes.


If several authors work (subsequently) on the same document, they may want to respond to other people's Notes. Currently, there are only two options (which make sense):

  • create another Note (which does not have any information that it is related to the first Note)
  • edit the original Note (which does not record information about the new author)

Additionally, the current change tracking implementation does only consider one Note at once, so keeping track of single changes is hard for the authors of such documents.

The functionality "Reply to Note" is developed to overcome those issues.


  • The functionality should be kept simple as possible (e.g. there will be no implementation of Notes "threads" like in email applications).
  • If possible, the current file format should be untouched to make this functionality work for older Writer documents and documents created with other word processors (also providing Notes functionality).



  • Notes Connector Line:
    • Only the Note Connector Line of the initial Note is shown.
    • The Note Connector Line keeps the color of the original note (or the first not in the stack).
  • Note Window Distribution: The replies are directly attached to the initial Note (there is no gap between the Note Windows). This group of Notes is called the "Notes Stack".
  • Note Window: The structure of the Note Window will be kept for all Notes (Remark: I failed to add some really useful reply indication like an icon.)

Menus and Keybindings

  • If Notes belong to another author than the current one, then the entry "Reply" will be added to the context menu and drop-down menu of those foreign Notes.
  • using the shortcut to insert a new note inside an existing note will also create a reply


In general, every Note in the Reply Stack behaves very similar to a separate Note.

The following use case will describe the behavior of the new functionality: Author_B wants to comment some information in Note_A created by Author_A. To execute this functionality, Author_B selects the corresponding menu item in either the context menu or the drop-down in Note_A.

  • The new Note_B will be created.
    • If Note_A is anchored via a Note Anchor Point, then the Note Anchor Point of Note_B will be added right after the Note Anchor Point of Note_A.

  • The Note_A will not be changed (e.g. Note User Data or Notes Property Data will stay the same).
  • When Note_B is created, it will contain initial Notes User Data ("pre-fill") at the beginning of Note_B:
    • The Note Property Data of Note_A in the format: "Author Name (Date of Creation, Time of Creation): "
      • Author Name: Like shown in Note_A.
      • Date of Creation: The date information of Note_A in the standard system date format. (This may 'different to the current Note date visualization. Being standard text, it has to avoid the "User-Friendly Date Information" like "Today".)
      • Time of Creation: The time information of Note_A, as shown in Note_A.
    • If any text Text_A was selected in Note_A during executing the "reply to Note" functionality, then this text will be cited in Note_B.
      • If Text_A includes one paragraph or a string, then the citation is indicated by quotation, e.g. ""Citation"".
      • If Text_A is empty (no selection), then the missing citation is indicated by an ellipsis "..."
    • The formatting of the pre-filled text is defined as: font-size 8pt (standard font size - 2pt), italic. Other formatting will be preserved (e.g. bold, bullet points, font).
    • The cursor is placed into the next (subsequent) line, at the beginning of the paragraph, text formatting like in standard Notes, no text selection.
    • Remark: For other functionality (like using 'ESC' to delete the newly created Note), the pre-filled Reply Note behaves like an newly created standard Note.

Example: The following mockup demonstrates two subsequent replies to the upper Note. In each reply, the original Note User Data has been selected (Text_A included a string):

Two Replies to a Note

File Format Changes

No changes to the file format is neccessary


Old documents containing notes will works flawlessly with the new user interface.


No configuration means are needed to use the new functionality.

Outstanding Issues

Please note that the dependency between the Notes is made up through their Notes Anchor Position. Therefore there may be rare cases where this logic fails:

  • Non-reply Notes being stacked, although the Note Anchors are placed in the direct neighborhood (again, the Notes may not be related to each other, but refer to the same portion of document text). In such cases, the proposed functionality will at least avoid overlapping Note Anchor Lines for the same Writer document text position.
  • If the date and time differ between the different author's computer systems (e.g. different time zones or just wrong system setting), then the subsequent Notes may not be sorted according their initial date/time of creation - this may lead to some confusion. The sequence of Notes creation (for stacked Notes) is given by their Notes Anchor Position.
  • If an anchor is deleted, should all notes in the stack be deleted or just this one
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