UX OpenOffice.org Writer 3.1 Planning

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This list basis on the feedback of http://ux.openoffice.org/servlets/BrowseList?listName=discuss&from=2079126&to=2079126&count=55&by=thread&first=1&windowSize=1000

What drives you nuts?

    • Another thing we see a lot of on the forums is people who can't find (because it isn't there) and then who cannot believe it when we tell them it isn't there - an option to change the case of a selection to Title Case. They have Format > Change Case > Uppercase and Lowercase - why not Title Case as well?
  • Insert Column/Row in Tables same as in Calc
  • Allow to insert a text row, if table is located at the first position.
  • Improve UI of Status Bar
    • on-Mose Over for Icons
    • Get Rid of Borders
    • Left Click on Items
  • Page styles

It's pretty irritating to define two sets of page styles (chapter start + verso-recto page spread) for front matter and main matter, when the only difference is the page numbering style! If page styles could inherit the way paragraph styles do, it would be easier. (There might be a way to accomplish this with clever use of variables & functions, but nobody online knows about it. In googlis non est, ergo non est.)

  • Formatting/repaginating large documents
    • Writer may jump randomly across the document even minutes after opening a large document! -> BUG!


    • And please, do NEVER jump to the beginning of the document. It takes some time to get back to page 800. (and find the right page - well, was it 816, or 823?)
  • Inserting some elements/objects in the document
    • Somehow, this can drive you nuts.
  • Working with frames and images
    • Can drive the most ugly demons out of any user. Inserting a frame, or writing some text in a paragraf-frame mixed document is at best undefined behaviour, but more often is worse than undefined behaviour - it really drives you crazy.
  • lack of *Table-styles*, especially the advanced styles [aka striped tables]
  • Does OOo still overwrite an existing replacement list?
    • It did in the past and I just stopped creating a new list, although that feature had such enormous potential.
    • I used the replacement list to expand custom abbreviations, like 'P.a' -> 'Pseudomonas aeruginosa'. I hope everyone sees the benefit, but with every new install my list got overwritten. [There are thousand of bacterial names; my list contained only some 100 common names by the way.]
    • Having the ability to add (and exchange custom replacement lists), will make this feature truly unique. Also, being able to set the precedence for these lists would be really helpful.
  • Object Anchoring
    • mentioned earlier by someone. Whenever I try to modify the parameters of an object, the other objects on the same page suddenly change positions.
    • Change Default to Character Binding
  • Change Tracking

I also hate the current (2.4.1) change tracking feature, but it is supposedly resolved in 3.0

  • Typography
    • When changing text attributes like bold, italics, sub- and superscript, the results are often unpredictable. Especially when I try to enter an index in between existing letters, and I choose subscript, then the whole word goes subscript. But at other times, when I scroll up and down, so that display is refreshed, the index shows correctly - but not always!
  • Fields
    • I haven't been using much the feature of "fields", like data fields from a database, or cross-links within the document, but I tried that a couple of times and it was a great pain and disaster. In particular - I tried to use a OO.Base file with bibliography information to make references in a thesis. I failed miserably, but it's possible that I just didn't know the trick. Anyways - it would be nice if it worked without any tricks.
  • Bulleted and Numbered Lists
  • Conversion to .doc with different headers/footers 1st and other page, looses header content of next page

(issue http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=19816) What worked in 1.1.x, still is not fixed in the current version :-(

  • Page background cannot be outside page margins

(issue http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=9370) Limits possibilities, forces for nasty workarounds, problem in interoperability.

  • All issues regarding exchange of documents with versions of MsOffice

Whenever possible to fix: every improvement helps.

counterintuitive to just link.

  • outside screen margin
    • Most time I work in "Page layout" view with "Zoom factor = Fit width".

My complaint is the outside screen margin (gray-colored) is too wide, which reduces the working space. Is there any special reason we need such a large margin? Actually, it is much larger than that of MS Word. Reducing this margin does not change the look of "page", I guess.

In addition, there is no easy "zoom" icons: "Optimal", "Fit width", etc. It requires at least two mouse click.

  • Writer as an HTML or XML editor?
    • Do we really need to perpetuate Writer as an HTML or XML editor?On the forum (http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/index.php) it comes up time and time again that Writer is not particularly good at either of these tasks. There there are any number of other freely available tools out there for these tasks. It suspect it will take a good bit of development to bring these two items up to the expected level of performance. I suggest we remove these features. In my mind I just don't see these functions as a good fit in an Office productivity suite - even if they were made to be as good as the users want them to be.
    • Actually, I don't think that OpenOffice.org should integrate web features. I think it should stick with being just a word processor - no need to throw in extra stuff - that would only make OpenOffice.org bloated and more confusing. But, yes, I would keep the HTML export feature.

Input from Other Sources

  • General
    • AutoSave Progress” is annoying especially with large documents. -> “I have to stop typing”
    • Sometimes view jumps to cursor position
    • Add a key for jumping to the position of last change in the text
  • Formatting
    • Select a word hit DELETE: The spaces should be deleted as well
    • Double Underlined Text looks not well in OpenOffice.org. The line style (line thickness and spacing between lines) should be adjustable
    • Hyphenation should be automatic as in Word instead of half automatic in Writer. (it is automatic, but not turned on by default?)
    • Switching document or page orientation much to complicated
  • Graphics:
    • The kind of how a graphic is anchored should be visible directly
    • Cropping of graphics should be possible in Writer
    • Adjusting of graphics beyond the printing area should be possible
  • Forms & Fields
    • Navigation from Field to Field should be possible by using TAB. This is how web browsers handle this
    • Check boxes in Text should be resizeable
    • Filling out fields is more than uninvited in Writer.
    • Export to PDF: There is no option for exporting fields empty, which allows users to fill out the document in Acrobat Reader
    • Field should have a AutoCorrect function For example if user have to type a date into a date field. This would allow user to type the date in their style --- Writer would correct it to the predefined field style.
  • Styles
    • Hard to understand that Styles are bound to the document. “I don't want to create my Styles again and again”
  • TOC/Index
    • This feature rocks, but needs to be much easier to handle; as these features are to complex to use, indexes for example are added manually to documents.
    • Deleting tokens (Structure & Formatting -> Structure) by hitting “DELETE” is not very intuitive. User expect different way to do that
    • “Token Control” (Structure & Formatting -> Structure) is somehow cryptic
  • Hyperlinks
    • OpenOffice should offer a menu entry “Edit Hyperlink”. Selecting “Insert Hyperlink” is not very intuitive for editing something what already exists
  • UI Terminology
    • German
      • “Maßstab”, should be called “Zoom” “Maßstab” has a different meaning
  • Keyboard
    • Keyboard Mapping Should stick to standards (MSO) E.g. F4 repeats the last command in MSO
  • Bullets/Numbering
    • Some times hard to edit, selecting bullets not easy
    • Bullets and their colours should be customizable.
  • Tables
    • Sometimes tables are clipped a page bottom. This is not easy to understand
    • Keyboard navigation in tables is somehow tricky.
    • How could I get above the table if the table is the first object? This drives me nuts!
    • Selection of Rows/Columns is too hard, you need to select very, very precisely.
  • Drag & Drop
    • Dragging items, such as images from a web page works not as expected. (break links automatically)
    • Image handling in Writer just sucks.
    • It is very hard to position graphics/images precisely, especially large ones
    • It is not possible to crop easily
    • It is not possible to move objects over the document border
  • Auto Completion
    • 50/50 some like the others hate it
    • Accepting a auto completed word by hitting RETURN is strange
    • hard to correct accidentally wrong “corrected” words
  • Saving Documents
    • There should be an option that rises the Documents Properties dialog before saving. Meta data is important, users tent to forget to fill this out. Without meta data search in the intranet is hard to realize.
  • Mail Merge
    • We use other product for mail merge
    • Reason for that is that writer imports reformatted spreadsheet with formattings

e.g. A text is marked bold in the sheet --- the bold text occurs in the same way after the merge. Writer should only read out the data but not the formatting!

  • Labels
    • Hiding blank lines was not possible.

What works pretty well?

  • I managed to do all my work, write my thesis and whatever I would want to, so I guess OpenOffice.org is great already.

My most wanted feature is:

  • Platform Conform Keyboard Mapping (Support Win, Gnome, Mac OSX)
  • Easier table selection/management I'd like to see easier table selection/management (in other words, treat tables more like shapes; this would allow for easier selection, resizing, movement, and deletion - here's the concept art: window.png
  • Color Picker (2x) Also, I'd like to see a good color picker (I suggest one similar to what the

Mac has), eliminating the "Colors" tab under Options, and, lastly, I'd like to see the Options dialog thoroughly simplified.

  • easy implementation of OO.Base - based bibliography into the writer document
  • Cool'er interface
  • Scaling of Draw images do not scale fonts I always need to "paste special" as "GDI object" to be able to scale. It would be soooo nice, if I could paste Draw object, scale it as I want, and then double click to edit, if I want...
  • Final Release of notes2

I'm really looking forward to the final release of notes2 and the

  • What about TABS?
    • When I have multiple windows open, which I often to, it does clog up my taskbar, especially when I'm on windows, since ubuntu has multiple desktops. As a matter of fact, I had to install a desktop manager on XP so I can organize my windows when I work with OOo.
  • Paste Text
    • Change defaults of Paste Special
    • Something that would be VERY good is shortcut to change pasted text's
    • I am not familiar with the MS Office functionality, so I am curious now: how is it different from paste special unformatted? (ctrl + shift + V) which makes the pasted text take the attributes of the surrounding text?
    • In practice, none. But is a handy shortcut for that. An average user wouldn't like to use anything besides "ctrl + v" to paste something.
    • I agree. I also prefer the way MSOffice does paste (I also always use "Ctrl-V, remember, Ctrl-Z, Ctrl-Shift-V, choose, Enter", but that takes waaay too long and is really annoying...). Perhaps we could use a contextual snippet for pasted text?
    • About the "Paste special" using ctrl+shift+v - this is one of the best features of OO! I consider myself an "average user", and I can't live without this keyboard shortcut.
    • MSWord has this fancy click-click-click- (and x100 times click) paste feature, which is pretty useless, because you waste your time on clicking and moving your mouse instead of real work. It may look fancy, but it's not the purpose of a text editor to look fancy. However, for the sake of the users that are switching to OO from MSO, there could be a BIG button somewhere, to make all settings and shortcuts work MSO-like, possibly including "fanciness". This won't hurt anyone and may convince more people to switch.
  • Outline View

(I never understood what is wrong with the navigator... maybe a quick fix could be to isolate the headings structure view from the other functionalities of the navigator and make it appear as a full size window. The thing is that many people complain about the lack of the outline view whereas it is there).

  • I want really professionally looking documents!



The time line? And how will it be implemented? Any UX-discussions so far?

  • Improving Shortcuts

http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=67500 [Improving Shortcuts - only one of two features that make writing a text faster - and so much neglected. See also my previous comment for overwriting the replacement-list.]

    • rework the styles-feature:
    • styles should become tangible (and visible)
    • move font-list and -size to the new style-control
    • automatic styling
    • [and a lot of more brainstorming needed]
  • Full OpenType support. I'd settle for the ability to print & export to PDF, but while I'm asking I'll already ask for full support: alternate glyph sets, small-caps & superscript/subscript from the font if it has those features, &c.
  • Music Notation
  • PDF Import
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