Design/Whiteboards/Accessible insert

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Make insertion commands easily accessible, expecially on touch devices.


call for proposals analyzing proposals design taking shape implementation in progress implemented


In Scope Out of Scope
  • Touch support
  • Drawing tools
  • Contextual insertion commands
  • Include drawing tools not related to insertion, such as "Edit points"




  • Joe: a college student with limited funds. He takes notes on a small netbook. Screen real estate is very important to him -- every pixel counts. Speed of access is also important, as the professor talks quickly and he doesn't have time to stop making notes and customize his toolbars. He wants a toolbar to be hidden when he doesn't need to use it, but he needs to be able to quickly show it when he does.
  • Francine: an artist that gets easily put-off by computers. She gets frustrated when she can't draw a table from the Drawing toolbar. She'd like a single toolbar from which she could insert everything.
  • Dan: a designer used to applications with Tools docked on the left side of the screen, where buttons are easier to click, according to Fitts's law. To work efficiently, he needs a toolbar that takes advantage of Fitts's law.

Tentative Design

This section is created after we've agreed on a single design based on the submitted proposals and are just ironing out the details. It includes the spec and high-quality mockups.


Proposal by Mirek2



Insert bar

A toolbar containing these commands:

  • Paste
  • Text frame
  • File
  • Table
  • Chart

  • Fields (if within a text field)
  • Special character (if within a text field)
  • Formatting mark (if within a text field)

  • Freeform line
  • Curve
  • Rectangle
  • Ellipse
  • Line
  • Basic shapes
  • Stars
  • Symbol shapes
  • Block arrows
  • Flowcharts
  • Callouts
  • Floating frame
  • Formula
  • OLE object
  • Plug-in
  • Bookmark
  • Comment
  • Cross-reference
  • Script
  • Indexes/Tables
  • Footnote/endnote
  • The bar could be shown and hidden either from the View menu or through a button on the left of the status bar.
  • Every button would have the same behavior as its current counterpart (from the drawing toolbar or the Insert menu).
  • What are currently split buttons in the drawing tool bar would become drop-down menus only, as the small arrow on split buttons would be hard to target.
  • The bar would be docked on the left, but could also be docked on the bottom and on the right through the bar's right-click menu.
  • Instead of a "mouse pointer" icon, there is a red "X" icon to get back to standard editing mode. (The "X" denotes the cancellation of the current insertion mode.)
    • This button temporarily replaces the "hide insert bar" button in the status bar, so that it would be quickly accessible according to Fitts's law.
    • On Android devices, a checkbox button on the Action bar would be used instead.
  • The clickable area of all commands on the bar reaches to the left border of the screen, so that all commands are quickly accessible in accordance to Fitts's law.
  • None of the commands are split buttons: they're always either simple buttons or drop-down menus.
  • All icons on the insert bar are monochrome.
    • "Inactive buttons" (i.e. buttons which would change the current mode) are gray
    • To show that a certain insertion mode is active, the "active button" would have a distinctive color and be completely opaque.
  • When rulers are hidden, the bar takes on the application background.