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Hello, Jim,

is good to hear from a heavy user that speaks from a user point of view.
As a community driven software, LibreOffice team is made of people who does not only think and program, but mainly of people that use the software a lot. Having said that, user input is always welcome, and I'll try to address some of your issues.

Firstly, LibreOffice design team is thinking a lot here about change, and there's is also a fine balance between being respectful with old users and preserving the learning curve, and being conservative. Most of LibreOffice aims are to diminish the learning curve, making it easy for new users, but still preserving the features that make LibreOffice the weapon of choice of experienced users.

I have never used WordStar (I'm such a young bastard) but in LibreOffice you can position the cursor where you want your selection to begin, then scroll to the page where the end of the selection will be; press Shift and then click the exact point to be the end of the selection, and everything in between will be selected. I don't know how much this is different from WordStar, and I don't know if you already knew about this option, but it's quite easy to me. Plus, the selection can be incremental: if you decide to add one or two paragraphs after you made your selection, just hold Shift, and click after those paragraphs: they'll be added to the selection. Using Control instead of Shift, you can select groups of text, instead of continuous paragraphs; the difference is you have to use the mouse to make the selections (and you can't combine Shift and Control). Nevertheless I second you in that we should have a keyboard-only option, especially because an accidental click while you're scrolling your fifty pages will take you back you to the start of the process. Of course, you should press Shift before starting to scroll to avoid that, but we might be more flexible, offering the keyboard option. Let's see what others think about it.

As for autoformatting and autocorrect, you have the option from the menu: Tools>AutoCorrectOptions>[tab]Options and then you may disable the first line, 'Use substitution table' and the 11th line, 'Apply numbering'. There are another options you may want to disable. I myself don't like much of the AutoCorrect features, as useful as they may be sometimes. Especially the Numbering one is very disturbing, as it applies styles without you being aware of it. This is confusing for unexperienced users, and sometimes it's annoying for experienced ones. We might thing of disabling it by default. This is not a per-document option, though, and I believe this would be difficult to achieve, but someone might have a more informed opinion on this.

Finally, the crashing when pasting some pages is very upsetting. I believe this to be a bug (even though you're saying the pages are designed to crash the software) and should be fixed. Would you consider reporting it here (


Em 10-05-2011 07:00, escreveu:
[libreoffice-design] Usability comes from stability
Jim Fuqua <>
Mon, 09 May 2011 22:16:10 -0500


In plotting the course for changes in LibreOffice Writer, developers would do well to listen to people who use the program for many hours a day instead of theorists who do more thinking and programming than typing.

Change for change sake is rarely a good thing. Change that brings modest improvement for a new user may be a nuisance to the experienced user. There is a fine balance between the value of the improvement and the inconvenience to the experienced user base.

One of the reasons I moved from Microsoft products to Linux and OpenOffice and now LibreOffice was the incessant change from version to version with no improvement in usability worthy of the learning curve required for the new version. It seemed that the process was designed to sell upgrades more than to improve the product. I did not mind the cost, but did hate the learning curve with no perceivable benefit.

William F. Buckley once said "/I'm told there are better programs, but I'm also told there are better alphabets./" referring to unwanted changes in WordStar and its replacements programs. I too used that program in the early 80s. Some of the features for selecting large blocks of text worked better than the alternatives available today. Many of the changes came from people who do much more thinking than typing.

As a lawyer I often type for hours per day. I often must copy and paste into gedit and then copy and paste into LibreOffice to get rid of multiple hyperlinks and other undesirable baggage present in the source. Some web content providers add hundreds of links in legal documents to make copying difficult. Some even include mechanisms to crash MS Word or OpenOffice. I learned to copy into a primitive editor and then into my word processor to strip out such baggage and avoid such crashes. I haven't tried to see if the crash mechanisms will crash LibreOffice, but I suspect they will.

Have you ever tried to copy and paste fifty pages out of a hundred page document? It was easy to do in WordStar but difficult with all of the scrolling in current era programs. WordStar had a simple command to mark a starting spot for selection and another command to mark the ending spot for a selection. Perhaps there is an easy way in LibreOffice. If so please let me know.

Many of the help mechanisms in LibreOffice and MS Word are useful in a long document and a nuisance in a short document. There should be a simple way to individually disable each help feature in a document. No Bullets and Numbering, no formatting of table entries, no AutoCorrect. Many casual users don't use tables because of the spread-sheet like features that are useful to the sophisticated user but can be a nuisance to a casual user. AutoCorrect must have thirty options, but "never" is not one of them.

There is logic for the major changes that Microsoft uses to sell new product. There is little reason to make changes to LibreOffice for change sake. Change should be optional unless the benefit is profound and the learning curve small. There should always be an easy way to disable any help feature that changes the document. Both the opt-out and opt-in should be easy to select for individual documents.

Jim Fuqua

615 822-4400

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