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Usability Issues at Daily Work with LibreOffice

I'm working with and spreading the word about LibreOffice at work and found some issues that make it harder to work with the applications as it should be. In the late 2000s I often talked with Frank Loehmann from the User Experience Team of at Sun. And I created a page summerizing the most annoying usability issues I stumbled over when working with Several years have past since my change to LibreOffice and many of the old issues from OOo still exists in LibO. I hope this wiki page will call more attention to these issues and maybe developers and designers will find a solution and fix it in the future.

If you also are affected by an issue mentioned here, please subscribe to it! There is no better way to show interest on a fix.

PS: "Serious" means that the issue breaks or disrupts the normal user workflow. It has nothing to do with the importance factor in Bugzilla.

PPS: I noticed that the bug summaries are less expressive than in times.

List of Issues

Serious Usability Issues

Bug list of serious usability issues

  • tdf#38994 EDITING: improve single cell selection for Drag and Drop (by click on cell border?) (application: Calc)
  • tdf#49134 On opening a password-protected file, the LibreOffice window is not raised/given focus (application: all)
  • tdf#54068 The "Edit>Compare Documents" command does not detect changes in tables properly (application: Writer)
  • tdf#64345 EDITING: Selected Area Disappeared When Switch WorkSheet (also true for going to Print Preview and back, application: Calc)
  • tdf#67770 CONFIGURATION: Sidebar customization settings not remembered after reopening (application: all)
  • tdf#70809 EDITING: Selecting with mouse: too fast change / jumping to next/previous page (view part) (application: Writer)
  • tdf#83734 EDITING: Cropped image gets distorted when Compress Graphic is used (application: Writer)
  • tdf#90401 Allow resetting or removing personal information (author, date/time) on comments and changes (application: all)
  • tdf#97969 Hidden rows are not ignored during column sort (application: Calc)
  • tdf#98544 Find & Replace dialog should remember the 'other options' state (application: all)
  • tdf#105622 Highlight more than 64 cells in Calc (application: Calc)
  • tdf#106038 Selected range of text disappears when going to Print Preview and back (application: Writer)
  • tdf#112270 Find toolbar resets 'Other options' in the Find & Replace dialog (application: all)

Annoying Jump Issues (Meta-Bug tdf#106773)

  • tdf#41063 Saving/Autosaving (Save/Autosave) while in table causes view to jump to cursor position (application: Writer)
  • tdf#46988 VIEWING: Screen jumps when scrolling down with arrow keys (application: Writer)
  • tdf#49259 Writer sheets are too jumpy in various cases (application: Writer)
  • tdf#57011 Formatting: spell checker jumps to cursor after closing and doesn't stay at the last checked word (application: Writer)
  • tdf#70809 EDITING: Selecting with mouse: too fast change / jumping to next/previous page (view part) (application: Writer)
  • tdf#99794 Undoing paste jumps view to cell which was the target for pasting (application: Calc)
  • tdf#101873 Searching problem occurs after searching for text not found in document (application: Writer)
  • tdf#101932 VIEWING: Document canvas view jumps after deleting an object (picture, frame) (application: Writer)
  • tdf#106374 VIEWING: Document canvas view jumps to beginning of index after updating (application: Writer)
  • tdf#106435 VIEWING: Jump of document canvas view to the top of the comment disrupts editing of long comments (application: Writer)
  • tdf#106436 VIEWING: Document canvas view jumps back to cursor in comment when going to another window and back (application: Writer)
  • tdf#106446 Writer jumps to the bottom of page when selecting a new object (image) which extent to the bottom of the page if the image at the top isn't deselected first (application: Writer)

Non-serious Usability Issues

Bug list of non-serious usability issues

  • tdf#31481 [RFE] Split pane in same window for side-by-side proof reading/ translating of 2 different files (application: Writer)
  • tdf#33338 Autocaption: it should be allowed to set position for any type (application: Writer) FIXED 5.2
  • tdf#34141 Impress language identification similar to Writer's status bar (application: Impress)
  • tdf#34142 Calc language identification should be similar to Writer's (application: Calc)
  • tdf#34882 Special character dialog rework (application: all) FIXED 6.0
  • tdf#45893 PRINTING: add feature to print charts (application: Chart)
  • tdf#63368 FORMATTING: Images attached to cell get mispositioned when spreadsheet is edited (application: Calc)
  • tdf#68459EDITING: frames are jumping and impossible to position correctly with arrow keys (application: Writer)
  • tdf#94397 Little contrast in Styles and Formatting sidebar with background color (application: Writer)
  • tdf#105776 Writer page-down & page-up navigation in default single-page view (application: Writer)
  • tdf#106336 EDITING: Copying column to another one with different width doesn't reposition image correctly (application: Calc)
  • tdf#106502 VIEWING: Zooming in Page Preview goes to the first page, not where cursor is (application: Writer)

Other Serious Issues

Bug list of other important issues

  • tdf#34391 FORMATTING: Implementing Table Styles (application: Writer)
  • tdf#39068 PRINTING only first area with color formatted cells (background, border), same with PDFEXPORT (application: Calc)
  • tdf#56234 RFE: please allow to link tables from different sources into one database file (aplication: Base)
  • tdf#62925 FORMATTING: enhancement: please add "chart styles" to the styles of Calc (application: Chart)
  • tdf#106021 FORMATTING: Writer does not accept CSS box model for paragraphs (e.g. shown as no background gap between two headings, see example screenshot, application: Writer)

Other Non-serious Issues

  • tdf#54053 FORMATTING / UI pls enhance watermarking feature with color, transparency, size and location (application: all)
  • tdf#50699 Template Changer: Allow ability to change a document's associated template (application: Writer)
  • tdf#41316 Page styles should support hierarchical parent-child relationships (like paragraph or character styles) (application: Writer)
  • Issue 20692 Want to link character style to paragraph style (application: Writer)

Some Usability Issues in Detail

tdf#98544 Find & Replace dialog should remember the 'other options' state

If you use the "Find & Replace" dialog and if you select an item of "More Options" (backwards, regular expressions, etc.), next time you open the "F&R" dialog the "More Options" part will be not shown - but the item will be still selected.

It is not visible to the user that there is still a user defined selection in "More Options", so it can (and will) be forgotten. Therefore the user can't find what s/he wants and doesn't know why.

Suggestion: When opening the "Find & Replace" dialog, keep the whole dialog open as long as a user selected item of the "More Options" part is active.

tdf#64345 Selected area disappeared when switching workSheet (also true for going to Print Preview and back)

When you have two sheets in a spreadsheet document and

  • you select a range of cells (e.g. A1:B3) in sheet 1 and
  • then you are going to sheet 2 and
  • back to sheet 1,

the selected cell range is lost and only the last selected cell of the range (B3) is selected.

Expected: The selected range shouldn't be lost. There are a plenty of use cases where you need to look to another sheet during an operation with selected cell ranges in the first sheet.

For example, it is annoying to lose the selection of dozens of cells in sheet 1 only because you have to varify the selection with information in sheet 2 - before you have finished the selection and before you have executed an operation, e.g. deleting or cell formatting.

tdf#106336 Copying column to another one with different width doesn't reposition image correctly

In a Calc sheet, I have columns with 2 different widths. Each column has a picture (anchored to the cell), either a wide or a strait one. If I delete a wide column with its picture and then I copy a small column and insert this into the empty wide column, the width of the column will be corrected. Because of the copied strait column, the wide column become strait too. So far, so good.

But the picture of the wide column and all following columns won't be repositioned to the right new position. I will attach a picture to demonstrate what I mean. Now, you have to correct the position of the pictures manually and that's not satisfying.

Expected behavior: Inserting a column with different width as the existing column should reposition all following pictures so that the distance to their cell borders will be the same as before. The difference of the width between the wide and the strait column should also be applied to the picture.

EXAMPLE SCREENSHOT (hosted at Copying column C to column E (both has different widths) doesn't reposition pictures in subsequent columns correctly

tdf#106021 Writer does not accept CSS box model for paragraphs, for example shown as: Space between paragraphs filled with paragraph background color (application: Writer)

If you have several headings with the same paragraph background color, then the space between the headings will be filled with the paragraph background color of these headings.

See A) in the attached picture with 2 headings (level 2+3).

This bug doesn't occur when inserting a new paragraph in another style (e.g. Default - see B) in the picture) or after changing the background color of one heading (see C) in the picture). Why is the "spacing" not filled when the paragraphs has different colors? This is definitely a bug and not a feature. It looks not "right".

Expected behavior: Space between headings shouldn't be filled with color anytime.

EXAMPLE SCREENSHOT (hosted at Space between paragraphs filled with paragraph background color

tdf#105622 Highlight more than 64 cells in Calc

Calc only shows a maximum of 64 with color highlighted cells if they are part of an arithmetic operation (in earlier versions of LibO and in OOo: 32 cells).

See the attached spreadsheet for an example where cells B3-B30 and C3-C30 are selected - but only the first 64 cells are highlighted with color.

How can users see which cells are selected when they are not highlighted?

Possible solution: Repeat the coloring of the first 8 cells to the second 8 cells, to the third 8 cells, and so on without an end ...

EXAMPLE SCREENSHOT (hosted at Calc don't highlight more than 64/32 cells

tdf#105776 Writer page-down & page-up navigation in default single-page view

Scrolling up and down with the button Page Up or Page Down works only the half way in the first time. Any further Page Up and Page Down correctly scrolls a whole page.

This issue occurs in Writer when viewing with (more or less) 100% zoom factor or when viewing an entire page and then clicking Page Up or Page Down. Only the normal view is affected, not the page preview.

It's annoying to have the half first and the half second page at screen and to adjust that manually to see a full next page.

Suggestion: Page Up or Page Down should ensure full page scrolling instead of half page scrolling (always).

CLOTH: confirming - the view shifts because the page up/down moves the cursor, and he page is displayed as if you would move the cursor one page up/down.

If you only care about moving the view, you can use the page up/down button in the navigator (either the buttons in the mini-navigator, the ones at the bottom of the vertical scrollbar), or the controls in the big navigator.

EXAMPLE SCREENSHOT (hosted at Page Up and Page Down doesn't scroll a full page the first time