Keyboard Shortcut Guidlines

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This page gives some hints for specifying new keyboard shortcuts. The addressees are UX people, developers, QA people and all those who contribute in an I-Team to the redaction of a specification.

WARNING: most of the time it will not be possible to fulfill all requirements at the same time but the specification of a shortcut should have reviewed ALL requirements and note the known conflicts, technical gaps.

How to choose a shortcut

The "mnemonic effect"

Take, if possible, the first letter of the function name (Copy, Open...) or a letter which "brands" this name (eXecute, poWer)

Interoperability & Integration

What do competitors or the operating systems use when they have the same function?

Possible Conflicts and Influence Areas

Internal Consitency

Take care about the consistency of a shortcut across every OOo applications which share the same functions.

if a function exists in Writer, Calc, Impress, it should have the same shortcut. Have a look at "Tools - Customize - Shortcuts" for every application to compare the mapping, see what is in use and is not. But don't trust blindly this dialog! Some shortcuts are unfortunately hard coded and don't appear there! *Try* the shortcut in the application.

External Conststency


Take care about the consistency of the shortcut vs competitors' similar applications and functions.


Take care about the consistency of the shortcut vs "standard" operating systems'/window managers' shortcut with similar functions.

Think *multi platform*: Linux (KDE, Gnome...), Solaris, Windows, MAC (cmd vs. ctrl) Avoid collisions with system shortcuts


Some shortcuts have been localized (See:

Respect the existing localization before moving any existing shortcut or even creating new ones by analogy (with the existing English terms).

Ex: provided a new function "Open Document Read-Only".

It could be smart to think about Ctrl+Shift+O by analogy with Ctrl+O.

This is good but not enough... Think about the Localization and check that e.g. in Spanish "Open" is "Abrir" hence "Ctrl+A" so that it might be clever to localize to Ctrl+Shift+A...


Here is a schema of the main possible conflicts and influence areas around keyboard shortcuts.


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