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Hi Astron

Thanks for your detailed answer. I can't promise to do the data analysis in
the wiki but will have a look at it. LO is a huge project and I assume that
it's sometimes complicated to reach consensus on UI changes. People like
what they already know... an old problem for all lateral thinkers.

I focus on Writer UI stuff here, but I have many other points on how LO
could be improved. The longer I think about it - the more I will find. The
problem is time and to channelize it in a way it is potentially useful to

On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 7:51 PM, Stefan Knorr (Astron) <> wrote:

1a - Remove the area to grab a toolbar. Instead, choose the same toolbar
arrangement method as Firefox. The user has to right click on the toolbar
and select 'Customize'. Most users don't change the arrangement of the
toolbar, therefore there is no need to always display the grab area. My
suggestion removes clutter and hides an advanced feature without making
too hard for a power user to guess where to find the functionality.

There already is the possibility to lock toolbars (from the context
menu) and that hides the grab area. Making this the default setting
seems like a good change.

When locked, the UI looks already much better - should definitely be the
default and would reduce accidental rearrangement, too.

1d - Remove the 'Spelling and Grammar' button. Why should there be two

In this case, I would have opted for removing the other button. Why
wouldn't you want misspelt text to be highlighted (i.e. why would you
want a toggle for that in the toolbar)? Being able to open the
proofing window from the toolbar is imho a more valuable function.

Most of the time, I open Writer to write stuff, so highlighting spelling
errors makes sense. When I'm done with writing, there is no need to recheck
the whole text - it's already done. Second argument, browser has only an
auto-spell-checker tool, too.

If I open a file in another language to read it I sometimes deactivate the
auto-spell-checking to get rid of the red underlines below every word in
the text.
Btw. auto language recognition would be suuuuuuch a great feature.

'LibreOffice Help' buttons

Agree. No need to have that in the toolbar.


They are all a bit special and not needed by
average users for most daily tasks. If a user wants to create a table, he
can do so using the table menu, no need to have it visible all the time.

Sure, but the table button makes creating a tables quite a bit faster
since selecting the number of rows and columns is so much easier.

That's correct, I tried pretty aggressively to get rid of all UI buttons ^^
maybe the table button should stay. The table button would be a great
candidate for user data fact checking (like the 'Show draw Functions'

1f - Remove the 'Styles and Formatting' button. Its an advanced feature -
normal users just ignore it -> no need to have it there - it clutters the

Again, I disagree – our implementation is not ideal, but the
functionality in itself is great, especially when writing e.g. papers,
documentation ...

... that are all more power user use-cases. The 'Styles and Formatting'
button kind of duplicates and enhances the drop-down-menu next to it. I
guess that an average user will be completely happy with only the
'ApplyStyle' drop-down-menu and will not even notice the removal of the
'Styles and Formatting' button.

1g - Remove the button labeled 'Default' in the lower left corner. Its
label is unclear and the button adds no value to the UI (remember average
user point of view).

This is a quick style switcher. Arguably, either this combo box or the
style button should probably go in the longer run.

The button is confusing, why do I have to double click it, whereas a single
click opens the language menu next to it? Having a quick way to access the
page settings is nice but it is too hidden, so "nearly" nobody will notice.

1i - Remove the small paper icons left from the zoom panel. I don't get
what it is useful for after trying them several times and guess that
users would struggle here too.

These can be quite useful. They are for enabling book and multiple
pages mode – I assume you tried them with a single page in the window?

Two pages with a page break in between.

We could improve the feedback here, I guess, e.g. by showing one or
multiple "ghost pages" when enabling book/multiple pages mode.

I tried it now with a longer document and it still doesn't make much sense
to me ^^
When using the multiple-page-mode you have to use massively the scroll bars
- feels broken.

1k - Move the 'Align Right' and 'Justified' text formatting button into a
little drop-down menu like done for creating a new presentation file from
inside Writer (upper left corner). This would clean up the UI a bit
making it too hard to access the less used formatting options.

Not sure if that is so useful – while they are undoubtedly used less,
it would create an awkward UI inconsistency, imho.

That's right, but if you also do it for the list icons as suggested in 1l,
it would be less of an inconsistency. The reason to get "rid of them" is to
bring the text color buttons closer to the text formatting buttons, and
this outweighs IMHO the inconsistency.
On a small screen, they get cut off right now - that's a massive UX problem
because one of the Writers main functions gets hidden too easily.

 > 1m - Maybe remove the 'New', 'Open', 'Export directly as PDF' and 'Print
File Directly' buttons in the upper left corner.

I don't think removing any of these is a good idea – although I would
rather like to replace Print Directly with the regular Print.


export icon is very important, not just because it is useful, but also
for marketing reasons (Ooo was the first mainstream office suite to
feature native PDF export).


2. UI skim through - Icon recognizably
A lot of icons have a similar shape or are too detailed and therefore
to recognize. The elementary buttons are green - that’s good - but orange
and red dominate.

The issue here is that it is easy to start a new icon theme for LibO,
but not easy to finish it. There is quite an amount of icons (over
1000) and you'd need to get at least a third of them before a theme
becomes actually usable.
Hence, why we try to update the Tango theme a few icons at a time.
(But of course, they still have to fit the graphical style of the old
ones somewhat, so you can use them together.)

You could pay someone to get the "boring" stuff done - using donation
money. When donating money, it's nice to know that it helps LO, but you
don't see really what is done with it - LO works as it has in the past. If
you would ask for 50,000$ to pay known professionals to design and create a
new icon theme for LO, I'm sure you would have the money in a couple of
There is a big demand for new icons out there (and need from a UX point of
view). Paying someone to do the work is not evil. People want to donate and
people have wanted a new icon theme for years. LO is a big project - why
not start another donation campaign for icons only?

3. Lines in the UI
I visualized the lines that structure the UI but are not part of any


As you can see, there are a lot of lines.

I don't fully agree here – if you look at current versions of LibO on
Windows, there the lines between toolbars and the menubar have been
removed. I don't think this has improved the look very much, tbh, as
the icons seem to swimming in a sea of grey.

Maybe you have too many icons :)

Win8 LO img:

The problem why they seem to swim in a see of icons is because there are
too many layers of "toolbars":
1. Menu bar (File, Edit, View....)
2. The menu bar with the new file, open file... stuff
3. The text formatting tool bar
4. The ruler

That's too much. All UI entries have a similar shape, color and size. I
would love to see the same image with a drastically reduced amount of UI

I just took a look at the Google docs tool bar and damn it, it looks good
and clean:

They have a maximum of three layers of click-able items, mostly two (the
text formatting tool bar and the ruler).

LibreOffice is a great software that enables a lot of people to get their
work done, even if they don't have much money or live in a third world
country. That's a big achievement of the FOSS community.

Is there any chance to see a clean-up of the current UI in the near future?


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