Writer/ToDo/ODF Enhancement

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Intro

MS Word and OOo Writer fare poorly when compared with high end publishing software.

I will describe here some advanced features that make the difference between a high end publishing application and ordinary office bundles.

Unfortunately, the ODF file specification can NOT currently handle these features. Therefore, it will be necessary in a first step to extend and modify the ODF-specification, while fully implementing this feature at a later time-point.

Fixed Lower Boundary for Text and Objects

Description

This is covered in issue 79877.

The position for the bottom text/object-baseline shall be kept constant on every page and every column in the document. Any objects (like text, images, tables, ...) that delimit the lower margin of the page shall extend exactly up to this Common Lower Boundary. This gives a professional touch to the document. [The last page in the document shall be exempted from this constraint.]

Please note that this feature is different from the existing Register true-property. This latter approach aligns the base lines of the affected characters to a vertical page grid. Unfortunately, this procedure fails for different font-sizes, creating a very annoying appearance (one line of larger text extends vertically for 2-3 text lines, see example given for issue 79877). Register true is useful only for text written with small size fonts on thin papers, being largely limited to newspapers. However, most documents won't be printed as newspapers.

This feature can be applied to enable:

  • the same lower boundary for every page in the document
  • the same lower boundary for every column in a multi-column page

Lower Boundary: refers to the baseline of the Writer object / last text-line at the bottom of the page.

Competing Product Analysis

MS Word XP:

does NOT have this feature. Unfortunately, this is a very poor comparator when it comes to high end publishing software.
[I do NOT have access to newer MS products.]

High End Publishing Software:

I am aware of this feature since at least 1997. This is now 10 years old. Many high ranking journals publish articles formatted in this way: see e.g. this article published in 1997 in Clinical Infectious Diseases (such old content can be accessed freely without a registration). For the full list of available journal issues, see CID site (1 year old issues are usually free). Nature is another journal that publishes articles formatted this way (unfortunately there is NO free access).

Actually, I know a dozen of high ranking journals that use this publishing feature for a number of years now.

EXAMPLES

See articles published in Clinical Infectious Diseases over the last 10 years depicting this behaviour.

IMPLEMENTATION

Currently, the ODF-file format does NOT allow to save such information. Therefore, in a first step it is necessary to modify and extend the ODF-specification. I recommend doing this in the OOo 3.0 time-frame.

This feature should be then implemented proper in a second step, somewhere in the OOo 3.x time-frame. However, some preparatory work should be done prior to OOo 3.0, too.

IMPLEMENTATION DETAILS

The line spacing and spacing between various writer-objects (images, tables, paragraphs) should be increased automatically, so that the last line on the page / in each column will have a pre-specified baseline. Please note, that these baselines will have non-fixed positions and must be computed dynamically for every document / every page in the document.

A similar discussion took already place on the OASIS mailing list (2-4? months ago), though I don't know IF any progress was made on this issue.

Discoleo 15:06, 22 July 2007 (CEST)
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