Really basic missing features and enhancements

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End users perceive some features as basic and fundamental in any office suite which they are using. Although LibreOffice provides great functionality, there are still some features and enhancements missing compared to other office suites. The objective of this wiki page is to identify these missing features that lead new users coming from MS Office to statements like "Really, I cannot do this with LibreOffice?"

General functionality

Parallel Installation

In order to simplify testing and working with different versions, there should be a option for parallel-installation in the installation-menu. It would be great, to have a check-box or option-button, to select parallel-installation right in the installation-menu. And to round this function up there should be a option, to import the user-settings from a older version if you chose parallel-installation.

A workaround exists at Server Install GUI (Windows only) and at Installing in parallel (all operating systems)

Insert Special Characters -> Recent Characters tdf#34882

Many fonts have a huge selection of special characters and if the user wishes to insert a few different ones within a document then each time the user has to search through all of those available. If the Special Character dialogue box, toolbar icon and/or menu entry had a dropdown box with a few of the most recent (or most popular) special characters, this could increase the ease of use for this feature. This would be particularly useful for those writing scientific reports, essays or characters with accents.

Search Menus tdf#91874

Similar to Google Docs and and MS Office ("Tell Me"-bar)[1], LibreOffice needs a bar to search menus.

automatic silent, incremental update

Most major desktop software now silently autoupdates, e.g. Windows, Google Chrome, Firefox, Adobe Reader, MS Office. LibreOffice should have a similar feature. I often find users to be running versions of LibreOffice that are several years old. This is undesirable from a security, stability and functionality standpoint. Also, debugging would be simpler if all users were kept relatively up to date so that developers wouldn't have to ask "are you running the latest version?"

  • tdf#54242 -- [META] Incremental update support (small partial diff updates)
  • tdf#68274 -- provide better update mechanism -- Mozilla ARchive (mar) based incrementals

Update Workaround

Install Libreoffice through the PortableApps.com Platform (PAP). This will keep LO automatically updated with minimal fuss. I have converted my LO fleet that I am admin for all over to the PAP and updates are so simple now and all users are on the latest version automatically.


Base

Design example library

The quickest way to learn and get results is to start with good examples. There have been many good LO examples shared in places like Ask.LibreOffice.org, but so far I haven't found a LO Base example repository, like MS Northwind.mdb. I did find a OOo Base repository.

Multiple column pull downs

Multiple possible variable width columns in pull down list and combo boxes with optional column titles.

Foreign key pull downs in tables and queries

Ability to add pull downs to fields in tables and queries to lookup ID's by related text or the like. Then queries can inherit these lookups from Tables, and Forms can inherit from Tables and Queries.

Table and query properties need to be the combined set of: underlying table's properties and formatting properties added by table editor. Similar for query. As it is now only the table's underlying properties are edited or used in the table editor.

Editable queries

A query is a great place to edit data. While all queries are not editable, many are if they are normalized properly. As it is one has to create a form just to view and edit data. In MS Access data can easily be edited in both tables and queries.

Table links

Add ability to add Links to a variety of tables in one database. This allows joining data tables no matter which data bases they are in.

Let me provide an example: I have a MariaDB (MySQL) database called addresses. It has tables for cities, states, zip codes, countries, and even some street information for near where I live. I use this database over and over in many of the applications I build. I need to be able to link to it from a variety of different .odb databases. Yes, I can duplicate it but that breaks the rule of not duplicating data unnecessarily.

Re-engineered combo and list box controls

Many years ago MS re-engineered their Combo and list box to work much better. I see these controls as the very heart of relational design and they should be as clean and well designed as possible. Fix events which don't work so well right now, add multiple fields to pull downs, fix ugly down arrow in shorter list boxes, make typing selection work better, provide a code recipe for inserting missing values using a combo box, fix keystroke, by keystroke lookup, so it isn't so crazy, (make it so if you type "abc.." that this takes you to the first record starting with "abc", and finally, make copy and paste work with a list box as it does not now.

FindFirst function

Indexes are the foundation of relational databases. Being able to move to a record via an index using a where clause is missing, and would be quite useful. (Usage example.)

Backup data base menu option

As LO still crashes from time to time, and for that matter will probably always crash from time to time, the developer needs a better tool to protect herself or himself as development proceeds. It is not good enough to have automatic backups, and in fact it is actually counter productive. You need backups as stages are reached where you can add a comment to say what state the development is in for that backup.

Instead, as each little bit of development is completed on a data base, the developer needs a quick and easy way to save a backup with a name made up of a current date and an optional text string to say what the backup holds that now works.


Calc

Cell Styles

Poor Selection of cell styles. While Microsoft Excel 2016 has tons of really beautiful and useful cell styles built in by default. Calc on the other hand has no built in styles. tdf#90937


Impress

3D-like Effect (bulged text) from Office 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 has some shader for all geometric objects (in fact, only looking good in Text) Which simulates selectable types of bulging out. This is not really necessary, but just to avoid LO users getting envious... I write it here and not in "crazy ideas" because it MAY be easy to implement - perhaps in a simpler form. It depends on how quick it should work. However, one needs a algorithm that tells for any point of a 2d bool matrix how far it is from the next matrix point that equals zero. Some 4 (or 8?)-way propagation routine should do, i guess.

Sounds under custom animation do not work as expected

Custom sounds added under Custom Animation ▸ Effect Options are not incorporated into the impress file but only linked locally, which means that presentations emailed with sounds will not work properly.

Sounds under custom animation also fail to play back under Linux.


Writer

Hyperlinks are not being auto formatted if it's copy and paste

While writing in a cell, the text can automatically being formatted as a hyperlink if this option has been activated in autocorrect menu. The sad point is, that if a hyperlink has been copied from external (address field of browser for example) and inserted by pasting, it's not being formatted. Sure, manually it's with some effort possible to solve with the menu "Insert Hyperlink". But what to do if there's a list of many text that have to be "hyperlinked"? By the way, copying the format from one "hyperlinked" cell to a list is also not possible (Excel 2010 does it)!

Use list styles for default heading styles

Default heading styles have "Outline & Numbering" tab with disabled Outline Level and Numbering Style options. However in other paragraphs these options work fine. They should be enabled and the "Tools" - "Outline Numbering" dialog should open the properties of Numbering Style assigned to the Heading paragraph style. This will allow greater flexibility for heading numbering and fix some of related issues: i#68078, i#48101, i#69561, i#101294

Set default character styles for paragraphs

To be consistent with style formatting model it is necessary to define default character style for each paragraph style.

Currently all character style properties are duplicated inside of paragraph style. This clutters paragraph style edit dialog and discourages from using character styles.

To smooth the change of interface it is possible to keep selected character style properties as tabs in paragraph style edit dialog for some time. But the tabs should mention that all changes will apply to the character style, not just current paragraph.

To smooth the data change it is necessary to automatically create character styles for old documents.i#20692

Finish the Bibliography tool

The Bibliography tool has limitations: no import / export support (e.g. for BibTex), an odd table schema, hard or nonexistent ways to change / switch databases, no built-in way to create new ones. Cannot link in-document references to in-database references so that the database overrides document data for bibliography and footnotes. Edited from a long time OOo user's blog.

See also

Crucial features missing in Writer Working with tables in Writer