Whiteboards/KillOptions

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Summary

This is part one of Design/Whiteboards/OptionsRework.

This is a proposal of a list of options in LibreOffice that should be removed and don't need replacement. However, there may be constraints that require additional work. If you want to add comments about a use case that I (astron) did not originally think about, please add them under Use Cases. If you don't feel comfortable editing the original page's mark-up, use the discussion page. Please sign with --~~~~.

When I speak about an advanced options panel, what I mean is something in the vein of the Windows registry editor or Mozilla's about:config.

Options to Remove

Filler Pages

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice.png
These pages appear when any category in the LibreOffice options dialog is clicked. There are 12 of these. They seemingly add nothing useful. Only more or less blind text.

Problems with This Solution:

Clicking on a category should open the Default tab (or, if such a tab doesn't exist the first tab) in that category. In the long run, a General page for every category should be found and then become the category page.

Use Cases:
  • User doesn't know where to look for the right option and reads descriptions (?) --Astron 2011-07-15T17:15:09 (CEST)

Comments:

  • I always found them useless and confusing. --Matm
  • Opening the default tab should not be a problem since it is already the default behavior when launching Tools > Options(opening LibreOffice> User Data, and not on the "filler").
  • This is implicit but we should indicate that grouping by category in the treeview is however necessary. --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T09:50:01 (CEST)
Associated bugs:
Implemented by August Sodora (LibreOffice 3.6). Commits:

LibreOffice

User Data

Nothing to remove.
Use Cases:
  • User wants useful change tracking and correct author information in her files. --Astron 2011-07-15T17:15:09 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet

General

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice - General.png
Help > Tips & Help > Extended Tips

I know of no other software that lets users configure whether to display tooltips. They should always be shown after the mouse cursor is left to rest for a certain amount of time.

The extended tooltips are currently broken when no Help file is installed. We should try to work something out regarding extended tooltips, so that there is only one type of tooltip. The best solution would probably be a formatting like (similarly to how it is in Microsoft Office, but without images (for now)):

Tooltip

Extended tooltip.

Rationale: today's normal tooltips only display the name of the function, eg. "Underline (Ctrl+U)", without explaining what the function does, whereas the extended tips contain only descriptions of the functionality ("Underlines or removes underlining from selected text.").

Problems with This Solution:

LibreOffice tooltips don't always behave well, which might be the reason why some people would rather turn them off entirely:

  • An initial tooltip (seemingly) appears after the mouse cursor has remained over a certain element for two seconds. This might be a bit long, maybe 1.5 seconds would be a better time span.
  • Subsequent tooltips appear immediately. This can give the effect of flickering when mousing over many elements. It might be necessary to introduce a little lag (0.25 seconds?) and before showing subsequent tooltips.
    • A special case of this behaviour: the tooltip that appears when scrolling though Writer pages seems to flicker when it is updated. Often, it is also much too wide so that in many cases it conceals document contents.
  • Tooltips should fade in. This would immediately reduce the effect of flickering apparent today. Impress probably contains relevant code (the new slide sorter uses a fading mechanism to display additional buttons).
  • Tooltips should be updatable, without having to be hidden and then shown again (see example from Writer above).
Use Cases:
  • None yet
Comments:
  • I need this feature in testing. The tooltip must be available immediately for me. I suggest an advance setting to configure, after what time the tooltip appears, with a default for the needs of normal users. The checkbox itself is not needed, because the status of the checkbox is mirrored to an icon and the feature can easier and more flexible be enabled or disabled via icon.--Regina 2011-09-04T13:09:10 (CEST)
    • Agree, for advanced options such a setting is fine. --Astron 2011-09-18T16:49:22 (CEST)
Open/save dialogs > Use LibreOffice dialogs

This should be a fall-back only. In case there will ever be an advanced options panel, this might be a good option.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet

Use Cases:
  • User doesn't like the system file chooser. Should be rather rare. --Astron 2011-07-15T17:15:09 (CEST)
  • LibreOffice dialogues have a button "default directory" which makes it possible to return with a click (not available with XP dialogs for example)
Comments:
  • I suggest an advance setting to configure --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T10:11:09 (CEST)
Open/save dialogs > Show ODMA DMS dialogs first

This is a Windows-only option that allows to show the save dialog of a document management system first (via ODMA⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg). This might be interesting to institutions, but I think it is less interesting to individual users in that institution, as it would usually be set globally. This might be a candidate for the AOP.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet


Use Cases:
  • User works with a document management system. --Astron 2011-10-22T23:03:10 (CEST)
Comments:
  • This option should only be included in advanced options. --Florian Reisinger 2012-07-08T10:01:54 (CEST)


Document status > Printing sets document modified status

Two options:

  1. Add this checkbox to the Print dialog, make it thus document-specific and directly save to disk when printing if the option is enabled. (Proposal by Pierre-Yves Samyn)
  2. Remove the option and default to setting the document as modified.

Problems with This Solution: What should happen if the user doesn't modify anything in the Print dialog.

Use Cases:
  • User wants to find the file she printed a few days ago and asks her file system. Should be rare. --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
  • User wants to print file with the same printing settings again. --Astron 2011-07-23T19:45:41 (CEST)
  • User opens a document, print the file, and close it. No need to save. --MatM 2011-09-16T03:20:25 (CEST)
  • User wants to know the printing date of the document --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T11:58:39 (CEST)
Comments:
  • User did not modify anything if he just prints it. Why set the document as modified ? I will keep the default behavior. I added the 3rd use case. --MatM 2011-09-16T03:20:25 (CEST)
    • I know that asking the user to save after just printing a file can be slightly annoying, but if we do store printer settings, it becomes useful. Also, I am somewhat unsure if we should set the document as modified if the user didn't actually change anything in the print dialog. --Astron 2011-09-18T16:49:22 (CEST)
  • Indicates for instance whether the "paper" version is the latest. Modify status allows to save and update the File>Properties>General>Last printed. This option does not appear to me dangerous, duplicated or useless... --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T11:58:39 (CEST)
  • What happens if option is not enabled ? Automatic save or no data added ? Maybe this should be a Print tab setting Save printing information automatically. I propose only on,e choice because I do not see the point to set the status to "modified" if you cannot undo the change (thus my proposal).
    • If option is not enabled, "last printed" property is updated when printing but the document has not the "modified" status, so you can close (or reload) without warning and the printing date update is lost (verified with XP & LibO 3.4.3) --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-04T19:25:41 (CEST)
      • I like your proposal. Added to description. --Astron 2011-10-22T23:03:10 (CEST)
  • Biggest problem: users get confused when they print a document and get the question whether they want to save their changes. What changes ?
    • People making use of 'more advanced' functions as print date etc, must be considered able to handle the option. Cornouws 2012-03-03T22:10:24 (CET)
Document status > Allow to save the document even when it is not modified

"Don't allow" would probably be a sensible default, even though that might irritate some Windows users. In any case, decide and then remove this option.

Not allowing to save would also mean the Saving indicator would become unnecessary, thus freeing up some status bar space.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet

Use Cases:
  • User wants to be extra sure she's saved a document. ––Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
Comments:
  • IMHO I can't tell you what is best, but I think it is good to see when a document has been saved (in the toolbar atthe top, IMHO the indicator could be removed anyway ;) --Florian Reisinger 2012-07-08T10:01:54 (CEST)
Enable experimental (unstable) features

This should not be shown to users in a release version that is marked as "rock-solid" etc. The best solution for this would be putting the "unlocking" functionality in a small extension. This way, third-party code would make people's software "unstable."

Otherwise, it is dangerous to include such an option because it may incur data loss and reflect badly on the LibreOffice brand.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet

Use Cases:
  • User wants access to new (or at least partially broken) features like visual formula editor. --Astron 2011-07-15T17:15:09 (CEST)
Comments:
  • Maybe it could be added conditionaly to the "testing release" (odd-numbered) version ?
    • Yes, I had this idea, too. Then again, the extension proposed above could also come by default with alphas, dailies and self-built version (not with betas, RC's and releases, though). --Astron 2011-09-18T16:49:22 (CEST)
    • Or simply move it to the famous AOP (advanced options dialog) --MatM 2011-09-19T00:14:15 (CEST)

Memory

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice - Memory.png
The entire page should be removed. The only option that might be worth keeping is the number of steps that can be reverted, but if we can set this reasonably high safely (~250 steps), it can also be removed.

In most cases, people will try to tweak LibreOffice so that it uses less memory (lower values) or alternatively: is faster (higher values). This might in some cases lead to data loss (for instance, because of a short undo history). Therefore, the data on this page should be determined based on RAM and hard drive capacity.

NB: Under Windows, this panel also provides a checkbox to activate the "quick starter," I personally hope the quick-starter will go away soon enough, though.

Problems with This Solution: This requires some intelligent behavior from LibreOffice that is not yet implemented.

Use Cases:
  • User wants to tweak settings so that LibreOffice uses less memory. This is not the right way to do this, IMHO. --Astron 2011-07-15T18:11:50 (CEST)
  • User wants to tweak settings so that LibreOffice uses more memory. --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T12:17:40 (CEST)
Comments:
  • The setting is needed, because it depends on the kind of document, which settings for the graphic cache are suitable. For a document with photos you need a high value in 'Memory per object'. For a document with a lot of math formulas you need a very high value in 'Cache for inserted objects'. With small memory both demands cannot be fulfilled at the same time.--Regina 2011-09-04T11:27:11 (CEST)
    • Regina, I got your point, but even in those cases, I am not sure users will think about changing these values. And to know the good values requires even more tech-savvy knowledge. So it definitely belongs to advanced features. (In OOo (at least), there was some usage statistics, it may be interesting to check for those options) --MatM 2011-09-16T03:26:34 (CEST)
    • This is an interesting perspective. But please also note that we shouldn't be optimising LibO for ten-year old machines. Any current smartphone worth its salt comes with a GB of RAM, most notebooks come with two or four GB. I am really hoping that memory management can become a lot more flexible in the future. --Astron 2011-09-18T16:49:22 (CEST)
    • And caching and swapping (storing memory to disk) could also be an option. It will slow the edit operations but avoid to know about/take into account limitations. I f I take the example of someone designing in draw, he may not know how large an object is, and will not understand that an object is not in memory / clipboard because it's too huge. for most of them, this notion is very vague. --MatM 2011-09-18T18:47:27 (CEST)
    • I agree with Regina. This is the first time I see mentioned this type of use (decrease memory). On mailing lists and forums, this option is evocated to increase the memory allocated in case of problems with the documents incorporating objects. I agree with the fact that the software should handle this in a "intelligent" way, but in the meantime ... --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T12:20:43 (CEST)
      • Pierre, we're not speaking about the meantime here, we're speaking about how LibreOffice should be. Sure, this is not a low-hanging fruit, but I think the aim should be to get rid of this page entirely eventually. --Astron 2011-10-07T21:19:48 (CEST)
    • Ok, then. Under Windows I also have the Quickstarter entry, which I think best fit in the General tab. other optins will find a sweet home in AOP --MatM 2011-10-03T23:48:24 (CEST)
  • Please kill the whole panel. If you must, include undo steps somewhere, but really make it 1000 or something and be done with it. While I respect Regina's opinion, I think she could not be more wrong, for several reasons:
  1. RAM to store your document is cheap, even if you include graphics. Really. I remember using StarOffice/OpenOffice in 128M, and it worked, if slowly. There is really no reason to fine tune RAM for document storage when the program code is huge, and modern computers are shipped with 4 or 8 GB of RAM. Even cheap ones.
  2. The Terminology used is scary to unexperienced users. Even if they do not want to change something here, it makes them think: "LibreOffice options is not for me. It is for technical people'. We really do not want this.
  3. Regina might know what to do with these numbers, but I bet nobody but hard core developers does. This stuff is documented nowhere. What do I put into these boxes when I use moderate graphics, but 100 pages long texts, and have 4 GB RAM? Nobody knows, and online Help won't tell me. Is there a list somewhere on the net, telling me what values to choose? If there is, why is this not implemented as an algorithm?
  4. A program really should figure out its own memory management by itself. Do you finetune memory management of your web browser? Your mail program? I certainly don't. And I don't want to do this in my word processor.
  5. If there *has* to be user control, please make it intuitive, like a slider with values "fast graphics -----^-----low memory use" or something. "Memory per object" does mean nothing to the average user wanting faster graphics (or something).

--Ausserirdischegesund Fri Feb 17 18:17:52 CET 2012

  • Please include this panel in the AOP (Advanced options). Although LibO could get intelligent, a user simply wants to tweak ;) --Florian Reisinger 2012-07-08T10:04:15 (CEST)

View

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice - View.png
User Interface > Scaling

This option scales UI fonts and documents (but not the icons!) to a given zoom level. The screen PPI value to display documents at their actual size should be taken from the OS.

Problems with This Solution:

As Regina explains below, setting this option high on a low-resolution screen can lead to an unusable UI. If the system PPI value is misconfigured, this might happen automatically. To remedy this, LibO would need to be able to reflow dialogs so that they are able to scroll.

Additionally an option in the AOP might be helpful.

Use Cases:
  • User wants screen measurements to resemble physical measurements. --Astron 2011-12-21T16:40:56 (CET)
  • Accessibility in LibreOffice ? --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T14:36:15 (CEST)
Comments:
  • I think, that the mentioned use case is not important. But I use this option in education when showing LibreOffice handling via projector. The setting is dangerous. If you use the setting on a netbook, its reduced number of lines makes the buttons of that dialog unreachable via mouse, if you call the same dialog later on to reset the value to 100%.--Regina 2011-09-04T11:39:26 (CEST)
    • So unless, LibO knows how to limit itself to max resolution, this option is dangerous. So remove it. For people who use this kind of settings for usability, they alreayd set it at OS-level. --MatM 2011-09-18T21:14:30 (CEST)
      • This option already maxes out at 130%. If you're using Gnome, the trick to move the windows so you can click "OK" is to hold down Alt and then click and hold anywhere in the window... Most users won't know this, though, even if they are using Gnome.
  • As explained in the [Accessibility help], this option allows the user to improve the readability of the interface, more than with the system parameters (limited to three font sizes with XP for example). AOP ? --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T14:36:15 (CEST)
User Interface > Use system font for UI

This option should be removed. A replacement font should only be used in case there is an incompatibility with the system font.

Currently, the replacement font can't be chosen which makes the option rather less useful.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet

Use Cases:
  • LibreOffice uses a system font incompatible with the current locale. A Chinese American uses English OS in conjunction with Chinese Libreoffice and a non-CJK-supporting font. (Please note, this use case is completely made up and I haven't checked if this could actually help here.)--Astron 2011-07-15T18:11:50 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet
Associated bugs:
Implemented by Julien Nabet and Caolán McNamara (LibreOffice 5.0). Commits:
User Interface > Screen font anti-aliasing

This option should be removed. Take this value from the OS. (Linux-only setting, it seems.)

Problems with This Solution:

If it can't currently be taken from the OS, this would have to be implemented. I believe this this is already possible, though.

Use Cases:
  • User wants to tweak a setting. --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
Comments:
  • This setting might be OS dependent. My LibreOffice for WinXP doesn't has this setting.--Regina 2011-09-04T13:09:10 (CEST)
    • Added to description. --Astron 2011-09-18T16:49:22 (CEST)
Menus > Icons in menus

This option should be removed. Take this value from the OS ("Automatic" option).

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • User is a visual type and can connect an icon to its meaning more easily than a word to its meaning. --Astron 2011-09-18T16:49:22 (CEST)
  • Accessibility: screen reader? --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T14:43:12 (CEST)
Comments:
  • I see a problem: I don't know any OS which have a setting for that. You may have a setting defining the icon size, but none defining whether to show icons in Menu. --MatM 2011-09-19T00:14:15 (CEST)
    • In Gnome 2 this was possible. Yet that is beside the point: most OS's have some preference. In Mac OS there are no icons in menus; in Windows things are messy, as always (the built-in software that uses traditional menu bars doesn't have icons there, Ribbon-using software is different.), KDE has icons there; Gnome used to, but doesn't have icons in menus any more by default. --Astron 2011-09-24T12:40:38 (CEST)
  • The icons are not they overload in this context (no idea ...) ? --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T14:43:12 (CEST)
    • I think I don't quite understand... could you explain that? --Astron 2011-12-21T16:53:29 (CET)
Fonts > Show preview of fonts

This option should be removed. In LibreOffice 3.4, the preview was made more intelligent, so it should always be used.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • Before 3.4: User wants to read the font name clearly.
Comments:*None yet
Fonts > Show font history

This setting is useful and should always be enabled. I don't think storing used fonts poses any kind of privacy problem. The tick box should be removed.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • None yet
Comments:
  • None yet
Graphics Output > Use hardware acceleration

This option should always be enabled, unless there are problems with the video card. This might be a good option for an AOP.

Problems with This Solution:

A blacklist might have to be made (??)

Use Cases:
  • User has an incompatible graphics card (/driver). --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet
Graphics Output > Use anti-aliasing

This option should always be enabled. Users might misconfigure this and find themselves to be in the mid-nineties again.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • None yet
Comments:
  • This setting needs to be document dependent. For creating technical drawings it is useful not to anti-alias.--Regina 2011-09-04T13:09:10 (CEST)
    • Are technical drawings a legitimate use case for LibreOffice? If yes, I agree. --Astron 2011-09-18T16:49:22 (CEST)
      • Maybe we could have a technical drawing mode that could be toggled from the menu bar? Then we would have a setting "Enable technical drawing mode when starting". We'd need to have different things things that help with technical drawings, then. --Astron 2011-09-24T12:40:38 (CEST)
    • Refering to [online help], this setting applies to images, not to drawings. Since it is also subject to OS capability, the setting's choice is almost useless. Agree to remove. --Matm
      • It applies to "graphics," not specifically images. That's a difference. --Astron 2011-09-24T12:40:38 (CEST)
Mouse > Mouse positioning

Windows has a similar option hidden in its Mouse control panel. On Windows, the value should be taken from the OS.

On most other systems, the behavior will feel alien anyway and should be turned off.

Malte Timmermann (long-standing OOo developer) proposes a complete removal of the feature: "OOo has it because... Windows has/had it. And the Windows feature doesn't work within OOo, as OOo has it's own Window system. AT doesn't care. If a dialog pops up, they will read/magnify the focused element. A Magnifier would follow the mouse when the user moves it - but for dialog popup, the focus is the more interesting thing. I don't see any good reason for keeping that feature, so if no one complains, feel free to get rid of it."

Problems with This Solution:

Can this already be taken from the OS? If not, this would have to be implemented.

Use Cases:
  • None yet.
Comments:
  • This feature might be relevant for assibility.--Regina 2011-09-04T13:09:10 (CEST)
  • Move it to Accessibility (see previous comment) --MatM 2011-09-16T03:43:35 (CEST)
  • We should probably ask on the accessibility list, if this is useful. (TODO) --Astron 2011-09-18T16:49:22 (CEST)
    • Done, see Malte's answer above. --Astron 2011-10-22T22:35:09 (CEST)
  • I checked and changed my mind. As a matter of fact, if setting is disabled and Windows has it, the setting applies. And moreover, for me, the setting has no effect with LibO 3.3.2 on Ubuntu 10.04. If this is confirmed, setting is useless. --MatM 2011-09-19T00:14:15 (CEST)
    • I checked on Ubuntu (it works), I checked on Windows (it works, but only if you enable it in LibO). I've asked on A11y, let's see. --Astron 2011-09-24T12:40:38 (CEST)
Selection > Transparency

This option's default is fine for most users, however transparency should be turned off for high-contrast users. In one case (Mac OS) this value could be taken from the system. Remove option.

Problems with This Solution:

It would be necessary to implement automatic turning off for users of high-contrast themes. On OS X, the transparency value should be taken from the system.

Use Cases:
  • User wants to tweak an option. --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
Comments:
  • Move it to Accessibility (see caveat) --MatM 2011-09-16T03:43:35 (CEST)
    • I think it would be much more useful to have an selector offering "Always Use High Contrast Theme"/"Detect High Contrast Theme"/"Never Use High Contrast Theme" instead. --Astron 2011-09-24T12:40:38 (CEST)

Print

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice - Print.png
Completely unsure about this page. On the one hand, all these settings can be made under File > Print and File > Export (but only temporarily). On the other hand, is it useful to have all these settings for your printer? Shouldn't the printer driver know best about that? The settings for printing into files seem to make sense.

Navigation on this page is confusing as it actually contains two pages—a real tabbed view would be better, as would be a tree view on the left. Another option would be to put this in a new dialog reachable via a button on another page.

Check whether all options under Warnings are really necessary later.

Use Cases:
  • User wants to always export PDFs with e.g. 200 dpi images. ––Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
  • User wants to permanently work around the transparency bug of her printer (?) --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
Comments:
  • Refering to the [online help], all but the warning settings could be used to reduce memory needed for printer. I couldn't find the settings where Astron said. Some of them are still useful, even if not for reducing. Maybe we can move them to AOP.

In my opinion:

    • Colors to grayscale => printer setting can handle it : remove.
    • Reduce transparency, gradients => Maybe create a "Draft Mode" for printing like MSOffice had. And it should be in the Print Dialog (draft or standard settings). Even if most of recent printers have a setting for that too.
    • Setting pictures resolution could be handy whatever the printer memory is. I will keep this setting without the tick box and rename from "Reduce bitmaps" to "Bitmap quality".

--MatM 2011-09-19T00:14:15 (CEST)

  • Please kill at least the weird radio button Settings for ( ) Printer ( ) Print to File
  1. This is completely unacceptable, IMHO from an UI perspective: A radio button should never be misused like this, creating a quasi-modal interface where switching the radio button changes the way other parts of a dialog function. If you have to give us this functionality, a tabbed notebook type interface would be right solution. One tab for "Printer", one tab for "File", but:
  2. This made sense when people had at most one, local, centronics connected printer. Today I ask myself: Why only the distinction "printer/file"? Why not Printer 1 / Printer 2 / Printer 3 / File? Because today in most offices several printers, most of the time network connected are the rule. If this is so: What do you use the "File" setting for? Why only settings for one printer? In reality you don't use this, but fix problems in the settings of your printer driver on operating system level.
  3. Printing to file (*not* creating PDFs) is by itself a corner case today. It is rarely done, even less so by non-technical, non expert users. What it was used for, literally 20 years ago, people today use PDF for. If you end up trying it on windows, and you don't have a PostScript printer, you probably end up with some binary goo, that might or might not be of any use to somebody.
  4. This is a workaround -- as Astron noted above -- for printer bugs. Only this is the wrong place to fix problems. If you fix it on this level, you still will have to fight the same incompatibilities in Firefox, your Mail program, and in each and every other program but LibreOffice. You'd better fix the printer driver proper. There are workarounds if the driver does not do this (i doubt this is common), like using RIPs (e.g. spooling print jobs through GhostScript in some shape or form).
  5. When StarOffice was in its infant days, having gradients and transparencies was probably a pretty advanced, exotic feature. Today transparencies, gradients, etc. are everywhere on the desktop.
  6. Leave it in as a stop gap measure, if people are pulling their hairs, if their printer crashes on LO documents. But don't leave two different stop gap measures in. There is really no realistic chance somebody has a broken printer, but needs to write print files broken in a different way.

Please let this distinction option "File/Printer" go. I bet nobody will even notice. --Ausserirdischegesund Fri Feb 17 19:25:08 CET 2012

Paths

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice - Paths.png
The options here seem mostly geeky stuff: Autocorrect, Autotext, Backup, Gallery and Temp should be deferred to an advanced options dialog.

The paths to documents, templates and graphics, however, should be promoted to a more central place (that is: to the General tab).

Use Cases:*User wants her files to be (a bit) organized by default. ––Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
  • Administrator wants to set a path to a central place (although this is clearly not a good way to do this, since all these settings are stored only in the user's home directory) --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
  • The user needs to retrieve a backup copy.--Pierre-yves samyn 2011-12-22T08:26:03 (CET)
Comments:*"Documents" is taken from the system, so move it also to Advanced. --MatM 2011-09-19T00:14:15 (CEST)
  • "Graphics" is defined by online help as This folder is displayed when you first call the dialog for opening or saving a graphic object. It should be targeted to the system default pictures folder (exists under Windows and Ubuntu, don't know for other Linux/MacOs/etc). Default is currently the same as Gallery; IMO, it should be the Documents folder. My mind is cliparts can be reached through the Gallery, and where do you store any graphic element that is not a clipart ? --MatM 2011-09-19T00:14:15 (CEST)
  • The backup folder should be treated as the document  folder and it could be an "advanced" option (the backup folder can unfortunately be hidden by default by the system)--Pierre-yves samyn 2011-12-22T08:26:03 (CET)


Colors

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice - Colors.png
Not ideal, but nothing to remove.
Use Cases:
  • User wants to set custom colors.
Comments:
  • The setting lacks import and export of palettes. Palettes changing is actual not general but bounded to module. A more general rework for palettes is needed.--Regina 2011-09-04T13:09:10 (CEST)
    • Agree. Additional points: Some of the interactions with this page are not quite optimal (adding a colour is pretty counter-intuitive). This needs to be document-specific. --Astron 2011-09-18T16:49:22 (CEST)
    • If we add palette management, we may need a dedicated dialog for colors. Access via menu item or button in the Options dialog, I don't know. --MatM 2011-09-19T00:14:15 (CEST)

Fonts

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice - Fonts.png
There's too much weight on the replacement table and the replacement table's workings are a bit odd, but nothing to remove.
Use Cases:
  • User very often exchanges documents with company which uses custom font and the standard replacement font (Arial) always ruins the layout. ––Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
  • User wants to write code, but doesn't like the standard font. --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
Comments:
  • Two things:
    • The "Replace with" drop-down should be the same as the toolbar one, with font preview.
    • The "Font settings for sources should be moved to General>View panel.

--MatM 2011-09-19T00:14:15 (CEST)

Associated bugs:

H-k 2012-03-23T23:34:24 (CET)

Security

Nothing to remove. I like this page—it shows a lot of good design sense and is easy enough to understand.
Use Cases:
  • User wants to set custom security settings.
Comments:
  • None yet

Appearance

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice - Appearance.png
Not ideal, but nothing to remove.
Use Cases:
  • User wants to set custom colors for LibreOffice. --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet

Accessibility

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice - Accessibility.png
Miscellanous options > Help tips disappear after ...

If there is a value from the system, take it from there. I have not seen such an option in other software before, so I am doubtful about its usefulness. Besides, "help tips" appears to be inconsistent wording (elsewhere, tooltips are called just "tips").

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • User has partial sight. --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet
Options for high contrast appearance > Automatically detect high-contrast mode of operating system

Ideally, this one should be removed, as it is only a workaround for a buggy detection mechanism.

Problems with This Solution:

To remove this, LibreOffice would need more precise detection methods for high-contrast mode.

Use Cases:
  • User has partial sight. --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
  • User uses a dark theme but does not have partial vision. --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
Comments:
  • How do you define high-contrast in LibO if you uncheck the tickbox ? IS the detection method more basic or is it disabled ? --MatM 2011-09-19T00:14:15 (CEST)
    • I think detection is completely disabled, then. How to enable HC mode, if the option were unchecked? I have no idea. --Astron 2011-12-21T16:53:29 (CET)

Java

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice - Java.png
Not ideal and should at least be merged with paths or deferred to advanced options page.
Use Cases:
  • Oracle dev has enough Java versions installed to make the list scroll. :) --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
  • User doesn't want Java to be used (for ethical or speed/memory related reason). --Astron 2011-07-16T17:13:32 (CEST)
Comments:
  • The listing can be shorten for a sample user (remove devs from the here :)). Merge in a "tools" panel with Colors management. --MatM 2011-09-19T00:14:15 (CEST)
    • My idea is that we could have a combo box to select the VM (with additional "Don't use Java" and "Browse..." entries) and next to it, a button "Advanced..." to get to the further options. --Astron 2011-12-21T16:40:56 (CET)

Online Update

Options-Libreoffice-Update.png
Too little content for an own page.

Additionally, TDF decides on the update cycle (currently: ~monthly), so TDF should also decide on the update check frequency (so the checks should occur between weekly and fortnightly). Thus, it would make sense to remove the three radio buttons "Daily"/"Weekly"/"Monthly" and only provide such configuration options in the AOP. The setting to set the download destination should also go at some point, namely when it is possible to update automatically.

Further Reference: The Adblock Plus author on how to avoid "Monday bumps" in update check traffic.

Use Cases:

  • None yet

Comments:

  • It is a new option. K-j 2011-12-16T09:28:18 (CET)
  • I suggest to replace with "Update options" to avoid reintroducing the confusion. I believe this mechanism only checks and notify the availability of an update (and possibly allows downloading), it does not perform the update. --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-12-22T08:47:17 (CET)
    • Hm, I don't know about the new name, as by definition, the Options window contains options, so making this the Update Options Options sounds unnecessary. Of course, you are correct, all it does is download a file to your desktop, and then you have to launch the installer yourself (AFAIK – I am not a regular Windows user).

Load/Save

General

Screenshot-Options - Load-Save - General.png
Load > Load user-specific settings with the document

The Help file doesn't give me a hint what those user-specific settings might be. I reckon they relate to toolbar positions and zoom factors. As such, this option should probably always be turned on. I'll wait for feedback here.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:

  • User always wants page to be zoomed at 100%, even if he receives files from others. (?)--Astron 2011-07-23T19:45:41 (CEST)

Comments:

  • Is there anyone who can explain with certainty what this option does? --Astron 2011-12-22T17:24:16 (CET)
Load > Load printer settings with the document

According to the help file, one of the reasons this option exists is because if it is enabled, the current default printer might not be used. If this is the solitary reason for this option, this cries for intelligent behavior—e. g. load options but always enable the current default printer instead of the last used one. Option should be removed.

Problems with This Solution:

Some LibreOffice behavior would have to be changed as outlined above.

Use Cases:

  • User does not automatically want to use department X's printer when she clicks on "Print" at department Y. (Both printers are on the same network.) --Astron 2011-12-22T17:24:16 (CET)

Comments:

  • The problem is not "user in hurry" but large enterprises with printer available over network. A document created in department A and changed in department B would print in department A. The feature is too general. Some settings need to be preserved in the document, for example use "transparent film".--Regina 2011-09-04T13:09:10 (CEST)
    • Okay, proposed behaviour: the setting which printer is to be used should not be stored within the document, most everything else, however, should be. The printer selection would depend on which printer was last used within the current LibO session (or, in absence of this, the system's default printer would be used). --Astron 2011-12-22T17:24:16 (CET)
Save > Save AutoRecovery information every ... minutes

This is another option that cries for an intelligent replacement. As long as the user edits her file it should be saved every ~30 seconds (like for instance Google Mail does). I hope this wouldn't kill battery life—modern OS's should have the possibility to collect "disk writes" in RAM and write those changes to disk later.

Remove this option.

Problems with This Solution:

LibreOffice would need the ability to keep the interface responsive while saving (saving would need to take place in a different thread), as well as become faster at saving. Also, saving should be able to happen without any kind of UI change (currently the entire status bar is consumed by progress meter when saving and thus rendered unusable). Maybe saving some sort of diff could help make saving for AutoRecovery quicker.

Use Cases:

  • User doesn't want to lose her work because of a LibreOffice crash. --Astron 2011-07-23T19:45:41 (CEST)
  • The user is working on large documents which she has backed up already, thus she does not need an automatic back-up. --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-12-22T08:55:53 (CET)

Comments:

  • He does not want the automatic backup (which, incidentally he is not accessible or intended) blocks his work regularly. Do not delete this option (AO) --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-12-22T08:55:53 (CET)
    • The aim here would be to have things saved regularly without the interface becoming unresponsive at all. The goal is also to save as quickly as possible and as battery-saving as possible. I think the way to implement that would be just continually writing all additions/removals to a file, that is, sort of a continual diff format. --Astron 2011-12-22T17:24:16 (CET)
    • Pierre, please note that I edited your use case to something that made sense to me; if this is not what you meant, please change it again. --Astron 2011-12-22T17:24:16 (CET)
Save > Save URLs relative to file system & Save > Save URLs relative to internet

Should both always be on. Remove these options.

Problems with This Solution:

In some cases, relative links might be unwanted. This is almost universally true if a link leads to another drive – in this case, use an absolute link by default. In many other cases, we will have a hard time to detect where a link is meant to be absolute or relative, respectively. This will be different from link to link, so it might make sense to instead of a global option to have per-link options (e. g. in the Picture dialog/the file chooser).

Use Cases:

  • User doesn't want to have to fix her files after buying a new computer and transferring her files. --Astron 2011-07-23T19:45:41 (CEST)
  • The user wants: Insert a link to an image in a document (e. g. a logo), be able to copy move the document while keeping the functional link --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-12-22T09:54:23 (CET)

Comments:

  • Do not delete this option --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-12-22T09:54:23 (CET) (AO)
    • Okay, I agree with your use cases. But, on the whole, I think, using relative links by default is still a sensible thing to do. See my addition under "Problems...". --Astron 2011-12-22T17:24:16 (CET)
      • per-link option seems to me a very good idea (relative can be the default value)
Default file formats... > ODF format version

This option is only relevant to power users and organizations with archival systems in place. Otherwise, it is probably irrelevant to most people. It should at least be moved (physically) under the default file format selector, to signify lesser importance. Maybe it could be removed/deferred to the advanced options panel.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:

  • User wants to archive all her files in the same format. --Astron 2011-07-23T19:45:41 (CEST)

Comments:

  • None yet
Default file formats... > Size optimization for ODF format

As far as I can tell from the help, this option is mostly for ODF debugging and people eager to tinker with their ODF files from a text editor. It is a good fit for an advanced options panel. This option should be removed and be turned on.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • Developer wants to take a look at what is written out by LibreOffice. --Astron 2011-07-23T19:45:41 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet
Default file formats... > Document type.../Always save as...

Several of the options under "Always save as" should be removed as they

  • might lead to massive data loss because of bad filters
  • are very old or largely irrelevant formats
  • are template formats—which users use rather seldomly (the following list doesn't mention template formats but they should also vanish)

These formats should be removed from their respective lists:

  • Text document: AportisDoc, Word 6 and 95 and 2003/2007 XML, OpenOffice.org 1.0 Text Document, Pocket Word
  • HTML document: everything except HTML
  • Master Document: OpenOffice.org 1.0 Master Document
  • Spreadsheet: Data Interchange Format (link to bug?), Excel 5.0 and 95 and 2003/2007 XML, OpenOffice.org 1.0 Spreadsheet, Pocket Excel and SYLK
  • Presentation: Office 2007 XML (AutoPlay), OpenOffice.org 1.0 Drawing/Presentation
  • Drawing: OpenOffice.org 1.0 Drawing
  • Formula: OpenOffice.org 1.0 Formula

Additionally, it might be helpful to offer two interface:

  • a simple one that allows to use to use different classes of formats (ODF, Microsoft Office 97-2003, Microsoft Office 2007 or later, Corel Wordperfect Office)
  • a more advanced one (very similar to the current one) that opens in a dialog when clicking on "Advanced..."

NB: In the screenshot there is an entry named "writer8", it should read "ODF Text Document". This is a bug in LibreOffice 3.4.1 that was fixed in 3.4.2.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:

  • User wants to frequently exchange files with Microsoft Office users. --Astron 2011-07-23T19:45:41 (CEST)

Comments:

  • Here Ok but do not remove the dBase format from import/export,  some software use it... such as LibreOffice for the bibliography ... :)
    • The idea is not to remove support for any of these file formats, the idea is just to limit the selection in the options dialog to useful default choices. But anyway, I removed dBase from the list, as apparently it is still widely used. --Astron 2011-12-22T17:24:16 (CET)

VBA Properties

Screenshot-Options - Load-Save - VBA Properties.png
There are eight options on this page, all appear at least twice (each once for every Microsoft file format). We should try to reduce these options to the essential three (even if Impress apparently doesn't support executing VBA code).

Also, they might need a bit of explanation to more clearly communicate what they do, these options are security related and everybody should understand what they do. Another problem: do they integrate with the settings set on the Security page?

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • User needs Microsoft Office interoperability. --Astron 2011-07-24T03:13:11 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet

Microsoft Office

Screenshot-Options - Load-Save - Microsoft Office.png
This page is fairly confusing, as it is not concerned with general Microsoft Office document compatibility, but only with OLE⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg elements that might be embedded in such documents. This page should probably be removed, with all the options activated. These options should find themselves somewhere in the advanced options panel.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • User occasionally uses LibreOffice at home to edit her work documents, but wants to be sure the OLE elements are kept intact (?) --Astron 2011-07-24T03:13:11 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet

HTML Compatibility

Screenshot-Options - Load-Save - HTML Compatibility.png
Font Sizes

This seems useless. Office documents generally have specified font sizes. Should be removed.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • None yet
Comments:
  • None yet
Import > Use ... locale for numbers

There are many ways to detect in which locale/language an HTML file is:

  • look for language attributes in the header
  • try to parse text and compare with a dictionary
  • detect top level domain of origin
  • finally: assume the user understands the document's text and set to the user's own locale

The current solution clearly isn't the well thought out. This box should be removed.

Problems with This Solution:

All/parts of the behaviour described above would have to be implemented.

Note: LibreOffice already writes its own language attributes into HTML files. This means that even an implementation only looking for language tags should cover many users (as most users will probably only open HTML files already created in LibreOffice/OpenOffice.org).

Use Cases:
  • Calc: link to web tables with decimal point --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T15:43:21 (CEST)
Comments:
  • With the user interface in French this option is used to import tables with decimal point : Calc > Insert > Link to external data > (exchange rates for instance)> Automatic (or Custom / Detect special numbers) only works if the option is checked. AOP ? --Pierre-yves samyn 2011-10-02T15:43:21 (CEST)
Import > Ignore font settings

What this really does is import unknown tags as comments. For some reason, content between these unknown tags is still shown in the content view instead of inside the comments. This behavior should be changed such that everything inside unknown tags goes into the comment, too. In the long run, LibreOffice's HTML export abilities should also better. The option should always be turned on and removed.

There is also a bug with this option: if the first tag inside the body is an unknown tag, the unknown opening tag will be replaced by a <p>. (TODO: open bug.)

Problems with This Solution:

The behaviour described above would have to be implemented.

Use Cases:
  • User loads accidentally loads HTML file with embedded <canvas> tag. For fidelity reasons, LibreOffice shouldn't destroy it. --Astron 2011-07-24T03:13:11 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet
Import > Ignore font settings

This option should be left off and removed.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • User hates Comic Sans, but has to import a web page using it (?) --Astron 2011-07-24T03:13:11 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet
Export > HTML 3.2/Netscape Navigator etc.

The HTML export filter should be modernized to at least support HTML 4 reasonably well. Everything else should go. This option should be removed.

Problems with This Solution:

New HTML filter would be a lot of work.

Use Cases:
  • None any more, all formats shown in the combo box can be categorized legacy HTML. --Astron 2011-07-24T03:13:11 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet
Export > LibreOffice Basic & Export > Show warning

I am not a fan of including things in HTML that no web browser can display anyway. It might be a possibility to write a Basic to JS export filter, but the better option might be saving that work and accepting that HTML is not usable as a compatibility format between two LibreOffice instances. These two options and anything associated should be completely removed from the codebase.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • None yet.
Comments:
  • None yet.
Export > Print layout

"Print layout" supposedly adds some CSS code to optimize printing. That is sensible, the option should always be on and removed.

Problems with This Solution:

HTML filter might have to be improved in the process.

Use Cases:
  • User wants her exported documents, when printed from a web browser to look as close the original as possible. --Astron 2011-07-24T03:13:11 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet.
Export > Copy local graphics to internet

I am unsure if I think including an FTP client in an office suite is a good idea and can only guess that the FTP feature is probably half-baked, underused and buggy. But as long as this feature is in, this option should be left on. (Remove option.)

Problems with This Solution:

HTML filter might have to be improved in the process.

Use Cases:
  • User wants to publish a website directly from LibreOffice. --Astron 2011-07-24T03:13:11 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet.
Export > Character set

"Unicode (UTF-8)" is a good and well-supported default here. So good, in fact, that the option for it can probably be removed.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • None yet.
Comments:
  • None yet.

Language Settings

Languages

Screenshot-Options - Language Settings - Languages.png
Language of...

All of these can be set according to information from the OS.

Problems with This Solution:

Users might find themselves with an English-language interface, if a locale in their language isn't available. In some cases, another language might be the better choice (like French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian ...), because it will commonly understood by native speakers of certain languages. Maybe we could create a list of fallback locales for certain locales that would ship with LibreOffice.

Use Cases:
  • User wants to use LibreOffice in her native tongue, and also wants the proper currency symbol to be used by default. --Astron 2011-10-23T01:07:45 (CEST)
Comments:
  • Key shortcuts are currently shown in the locale of the keyboard. E. g.: using a Spanish locale with a US keyboard layout means that key shortcuts in menus will be English. This should be set according to locale, so as not to mix to languages (looks ugly). (This is an issue I personally encounter.) --Astron 2011-10-23T01:07:45 (CEST)
Default languages for documents

Can be set according to information from the OS. The two additional combo boxes should also go: why should there be different settings determined by what language system/script is used?

We have to remember that the default language should be a starting point. After a few words, LibreOffice needs to automatically be able to determine what language is used, it then should ask the user (non-modally), if she wants to change the document language.

Problems with This Solution:

We need better language detection and non-modal information bars.

Use Cases:
  • User needs spell-checking. --Astron 2011-10-23T01:07:45 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet.
Enhanced language support

It would be great if international support could be permanently enabled, thus removing the necessity for these two options. Waiting for feedback (see problems below). Note: whatever option is activated, rendering of CTL and CJK scripts appears to be unaffected.

Problems with This Solution:

When both options are enabled, the following things are added:

  • three options pages (Searching in Japanese, Asian Layout and Complex Text Layout) – these show up when opening Options the next time
  • quite a few entries to all formatting/typeface related dialogs
  • the menu items Hangul/Hanja Conversion and Chinese Conversion
  • an LTR and an RTL symbol in the Formatting toolbar
  • in Writer: an Asian phonetic guide... menu item

Most users from European and American countries will find these entries useless. Especially the extra entries in formatting dialogs can be confusing/make the interface much more complex. Similar to the above Default languages for documents, however at least the extra font choosers should probably go, as there are very different scripts that use a Complex Text Layout, and it is improbable that fonts (an example) are tuned for both Arabic scripts and Indic scripts. In consequence, we could just as well add a font chooser for every language to give the user a chance to pick typefaces tuned for specific languages. (Put in other words: this model doesn't scale.)

Use Cases:
  • User wants to write text in Korean. --Astron 2011-10-23T01:07:45 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet.

Writing Aids

Screenshot-Options - Language Settings - Writing Aids.png
Available language modules

While this section and the associated dialog are very powerful, I can't help the impression that they are also hopelessly over-engineered. Most users will be happy if they have a single grammar/spelling option for their language. The situation that a third-party language tool is installed probably comes up rarely. This UI should be removed, but the options should still be available in the AOP (so they can be set automatically by third-party tools).

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • User wants to use a third-party spell checker. --Astron 2011-10-24T22:31:16 (CEST)
Comments:
User-defined dictionaries

This should be kept but put completely into a new two-column management dialog.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • User has "add"ed a misspelled word and needs to remove the word from the word list. --Astron 2011-10-24T22:31:16 (CEST)
  • Not possible today: user wants to export the list of words she has added to her dictionary for use by colleagues . --Astron 2011-10-24T22:31:16 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet.
Options

The hyphenation options need to be clearly marked document-specific, i. e. a reorgansation is necessary.

Problems with This Solution:

None yet.

Use Cases:
  • User wants to turn off spell checking. --Astron 2011-10-24T22:31:16 (CEST)
    • There are other ways to do that (no need to go to options)--Florian Reisinger 2012-07-08T10:19:55 (CEST)
Comments:
  • None yet.

Charts

Default Colors

Screenshot-Options - Charts - Default Colors.png
While a reorganization is probably in order, there's nothing to remove.
Use Cases:
  • User wants to use the company colors for her charts. --Astron 2011-12-21T16:40:56 (CET)
Comments:
  • User wouldn't search it here, but search it in Calc, so put this option in that modul. K-j 2011-12-16T10:04:03 (CET)
    • Chart is a semi-separate application (not in the sense that you can open it individually, though) and you can use it from any of the modules (usually Insert > Chart... or similar), so moving it into the Calc category doesn't seem to be a good idea to me. --Astron 2011-12-21T16:40:56 (CET)

LibreOffice Base

Connections

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice Base - Connections.png

Personally I think it would be a good idea to reduce complexity here and just allow a single type of database. But then, I have never been a Base user, wouldn't say that I understand the usage of the software even at a basic level and maybe connectors for all databases under the sun are our great forte. So, for now: Nothing to remove.

Use Cases:
  • None yet.
Comments:
  • None yet

Databases

Screenshot-Options - LibreOffice Base - Databases.png

Nothing to remove.

Use Cases:
  • None yet.
Comments:
  • None yet


Internet