User Experience/ToDo

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UX ToDo List: UX@OOo Project Tasks - OOo Product Tasks

UX@OOo Project Tasks

Public Relations

Announce project and invite people

Find more channels/groups interested in open source usability, to whom we should announce our project.

Publish articles about our project

Write articles or blog postings about our project.


Clarify license, under which content can be contributed

What type of content needs a license, and which license is appropriate? Where and how does the license need to be displayed (e.g. does it need to be included into every document we generate?)? Do contributors have to sign the Joint Copyright Assignment (PDF)?


Clarify relation to other ToDo lists

The General OOo ToDo List on the web is outdated and points to a more recent release on the wiki. Find out who is in charge to remove the old list from the web, and ping this person to do so.

OOo Product Tasks


Look&Feel needs to be reworked

Look&Feel in general needs to be reworked to a more pleasing appearance. (see discussion 'My user experience with OOo...')

Joshua Martin made some pretty nice sketches that have since evolved into the FLUX User Interface. Also, Trollen Lord made a sketch of the formatting and status bar. No floating box, just context sensitivity and theme -> styles -> minor manual edit options context sensitively. It should provide all the same options for users, but often with less effort and with more intuitive ui. Also the status bar has been cleared of redundant, irrelevant and confusing items (the zoom percentage is still missing from magnifier glass), giving more valuable space vertically.

Additional disussions: e.g. Adobe InDesign-concepts. See also the Renaissance project.

Styles and Formatting not usable intuitively

The 'Styles and Formatting' floating window is not usable intuitively. The differentiation of styles and hard formatting is not obvious for a user; a solution could be the implementation of style themes (customizable). (see discussion 'My user experience with OOo...'. See also the Improved Styles activity.)

Provide In-Place Manipulation For Special Objects

At the moment there are many ways to interact with special objects like Hyperlinks, Smart Tags, AutoCorrection. The Wiki page Proposal_DirectManipulationSnippets tries to address those issues for both objects in the document and the document itself.

Customizable Font List

Every "modern" OS comes with dozens of useless fonts, so that the current font drop-down list is overcrowded with fonts one never will use. Selecting a useful font becomes a nightmare.

Issue 15421 touches this limitations, as well as various comments on the UX-list: 'My user experience with OOo...' and this one.

Various solutions are possible:

  • Make the fonts list customizable, so that the user only sees his favorite used fonts.
  • Group fonts based on some specific criteria, e.g.
    • favourite fonts
    • fonts used within the document
    • all other fonts
  • Sort fonts based on an advanced utility-algorithm, see the Advanced Font Categories wiki page.

Rulers on demand

Offer the functionality of hiding the rulers and calling them temporarily if required. (see discussion 'My user experience with OOo...') Also, Trollen Lord made proposals (1, 2) about possible rulers and how some parts of context sensitivity might work.

Modern Color Palette

Change the standard color palette to a modern look. The User Interface: Visual Design Group has posted the color palette for their Galaxy Icons. They also took an interesting look at Color Language, and their reccomendations.

Change to the palette is planned. (see discussion 'My user experience with OOo...')

More intuitive color management

Color management: Setting, changing or exchanging colors/color palettes is not at all intuitive. A color picker would resolve the issue. (see discussion 'My user experience with OOo...')

Selection color scheme

A new color scheme for selections in OOo. Let's get rid of simple inverted XOR white on black.

  • What's needed is a competitive analysis. What's typical for other applications on Windows and Linux?
  • What are the system's default selection colors for different themes?
  • How do we use the selection color provided?
  • Where do we apply it? eg. Text in Writer, Tables in Writer, Cells in Calc...
  • What is the difference for windows with/without focus? What about tool windows?
  • What about consistency with controls like text boxes and list boxes?
  • What about High Contrast for A11y?
Issue 7512 Selection colour
Issue 78181 Calc: Highlight Current Row + Advanced Table Formatting

Fresh looking icons

Icons: There is an ongoing project by the User Interface Project: Visual Design calledGalaxy. (see discussion 'My user experience with OOo...')

Toolbar improvements

  • Save custom toolbars (just like people do with bookmarks on browsers). It would also save time for upgrades or when instaling OOo on another computer.
  • Would be nice to customize some "context menus".
  • Also, add a mode in which toolbar icons can be dragged and dropped from and to menus and toolbars.


  • Individual page orientation in the same document. By now, it affects all pages.
  • Individual Header and Footer page editing should be improved/made easier (e.g. dissconnecting header of one page with the one on the next page - like in MS Word). As I deal a lot with writing papers and need this function everyday, it seems quite important.
  • Also integrating Reference Management software, like JabRef, would be highly appreciated. (or just making the transfer process from the BibTex file less time consuming and complicated).
  • Accessing the Thesaurus is far more difficult for users than in competitive office suites. Access to the thesaurus via a right click context menu far more handy than it is implemented in Please see Issue 51258
  • Make repeating data in Writer intuitive and easy (without endless double clicking by way of changing variables values). Right now, there aren't an easy way to get some data into multiple places in document. Variables should be changeable also without a dialog window - "select and retype" way. Text Boxes in Forms should be also linkable between each others.
  • I know several persons who tried to rotate an image in Writer, but it is impossible. It is very unintuitive to describe: "Please import the image into draw, rotate it, copy it, paste it into writer" Please refer to the very old bug Issue 3545 .
  • The ability to import PDF documents (like KWord does) would be extremely useful, as there are a lot of text documents in PDF format which users have to cut and paste from.
  • Citations could be improved. Currently citations are inserted in the text with square parenthesis, but some citation styles don't allow that. That means that in order to have a correctly formatted bibliography, all citations have to be inserted, the bibliography updated, and the citations then edited by hand. This should change.
  • It should be possible to edit the text style of citations inserted into the text, similar to how it's possible to edit the way different parts of entries in the bibliography are formatted.


  • Math is in terms of User experience quite terrible. Most people do not even find the floating toolbars in order to click together their formulas. Moreover, there is no help at all regarding the formula syntax. I believe that the idea of the assisted command line is great, but not nicely at all put into practice. An idea is given by the Issue 34183 .


Calc has a very nice feature to import (or link) tables in Web pages to the spreadsheet. However it is not well done regarding the user experience. The dialog should show previews of the tables on the web page; currently it only lists them. Always you have to try out which table is the one you actually want. Please see Issue 70062 .

UX to Do List

There is a UX to do list for Calc.

Keyboard shortcuts

  • Add shortcuts to Edit/Fill-in/Down and Edit/Fill-in/Right (Ex: Ctrl+D, Ctrl+R)
  • In FR localized version of OOo, some shortcuts are not working : Insertion/Cellules (Ctrl++)
  • In FR localized version of OOo, some menus share the same shortcut Insertion/Lignes, Insertion/Colonnes, Insertion/Feuille...
  • When doing a shortcut combination (ex: Alt+IC to insert a new cell in FR version), you have to press Enter to select the menu, this is time consuming, it should not be necesary.
  • Add shortcuts to toggle-highlight the current selection (highlight the selected text if not selected, and remove the highlight if the text is already highlighted).

Impress / Draw

  • Minor bugs cause layout to distort Microsoft Office Powerpoint presentations
  • Integrate Flash .flv files with Impress. .Flv files are easy to use as video demonstration purposes in Impress.
  • Specify a user interface for setting the pixel resolution when exporting graphics. First draft specification is on Export_Resolution and Export_Resolution_Draft2. There is already code to set pixel resolution, which you can reach via API through a macro.


Lightweight Component

  • Separate lightweight reader with MS doc/xls format converter (for allowing viewing and converting odt/ods documents by others without OpenOffice), and lightweight firefox plug-ins for odt and ods files are a real necessity to proliferate use of the ODF format. This would allow users to simply attach an ODF file to an email with a link to the reader, or put an ODF file on a web page and expect the recipient to download and use the viewer to read it. The biggest stumbling block to wider ODF adoption is the size of the OpenOffice download. It effectively prevents government departments and other putting ODF files on their web pages, and pretty well all OpenOffice users end up sending documents and email attachments to others in MS doc or xls formats rather than ODF format. This is just a plain daft situation which needs to be redressed.

Even More Lists With OOo Product Related Tasks


  • See issues that result from our last usability test: IssueTracker query; before starting to work on any of these tasks, please contact the owner of the respective issue.

and more...

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