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Le 2010-10-14 18:03, Mirek M. acrit:Hi everyone, Since it seems like LibreOffice won't adopt the UI Oracle's preparing for OOo, I'm starting a massive LibreOffice UI proposal series. Here's the intro:,I wonder what is the interest of Microsoft and others, including you, to replace menus with a ribbon-like interface. I think it brings the worst in terms of usability. Why?We have grown to use a certain menu organization. File, Edit, Format, Tools, Windows and Help are, in that order, fairly standard menu items in all applications, and even the basic list of menu items is even fairly standardized. The ribbon interface changes that to a certain extent and requires a relearning process.There are a few menu items that are easily displayed with icons, but most icons are either very hard to read or require a lot of real estate or both. Look at Microsoft Word or at WordPad on System 7 and look at icons used for page or paragraph margins, or for search and replace (very similar to the one for spelling). Because of that, Ms Office 2010 and WordPad adds text below many icons (more real estate) and a tool tip which is basically the former menu item.Because of real estate requirements, there are a limited number of buttons that may be displayed on a screen, whether it is with a traditional set of buttonsla Office 3.2 or with a ribbonla Microsoft Office 2007-2010. So there is a need for multiple menus that call different ribbons like Ms Office. or buttons that need still another action like custom margins.Using a typical menu item requires one move with the mouse: move it to the top to select the menu and slide it toward the menu item, then release. Sub menus require a little more dexterity.On the other hand, using a typical ribbon "menu" item requires a move and two clicks: a first click at the top to select the proper ribbon, then a click on the proper icon. And because of the limited real estate, it is more likely that one then falls onto yet another dialogue box.A traditional tool bar is always there; so its commands may be accessed very quickly. But it works only because of its limited number of icons.So what would be the best approach? Probably a mix of both systems.A traditional menu system for structured commands. In a word processor, I see comprehensive commands like Page setup, Paragraph setup, Font setup, Style setup (with a dialog box like that of Office 2003), Table setup, etc. Simple commands like "Align to the left" could either be in a submenu or even forgotten altogether because they already are accessible through the Paragraph Setup dialog box. Displaying them in a submenu makes learning and training easier : the command is seen, its shortcut is seen, etc.If a ribbon-like approach is used, there should be shortcuts not only for items, but also for each of the ribbons. For instance, I should be able to press alt-F for the File ribbon, alt-E to show the Edit ribbon, etc... and each of these shortcuts should become as standard as control-Z, X, C and V for the basic cut and paste possibilities.Of course, control-C for Cut and control-shift-L (or control-L) for Align-left should also exist for a direct access to menus.Icons are good when the graphic is obvious to all and when clicking on it has a direct result. One of the major pitfalls I currently see is that most are non-configurable (same problem with Microsoft Office and OpenOffice). So for me, the Left-Align and Bold icons work (but the keyboard shortcuts are so quicker), but the bullet icon doesn't work because it does not use my preferred settings: I would like it to apply my "Bullet 1" setting (usually a hanging indent of 1 pica with no further indent, but some documents have a different style definition). Ditto for the 5 or 6 different Page Setting icons that are defined in Ms Word 2007: none of them have the margins I need for my documents!How would a mixed system work?One way to do it would be to have the menus first, followed by ribbons. For instance, the new LibreOffice would have File-Edit-Display (maybe)-Insert-Format-Table-Tools-Window menus, then Basic (file and edit ribbon items)-Insert-Format (document, paragraph and text items)-Table ribbons. The menu could appear either on a single line or on two lines if/when the window is too narrow.Finally, should a ribbon sit on the right or at the top? Why not have it either way? The ribbon is a glorified toolbar and traditional toolbars have worked in either position, either docked or undocked. So why not have the "ribbon menus" call a toolbar anyway?By the way, since we talk of a new interface, one aspect I don't like of OpenOffice 3.x are the toolbars that appear and disappear according to paragraph styles. For instance, when bullets are chosen (or a bullet style), the bullet toolbar appears (by default at the top) and shifts all text down 1 cm. Go back to a standard paragraph and it shifts up again. Why not have a user interface made with one or two user-defined toolbars like we currently have on OpenOffice 3.x and Ms Office 2003, plus one toolbar that would be always there, albeit with variable content (a.k.a. the "ribbon"). Users would decide where they want that big grey box and LibreOffice would fill in the proper icons.--Michel Gagnonmichel@mgagnon.netMontral (Qubec, Canada) -- To unsubscribe, e-mail to All messages you send to this list will be publicly archived and cannot be deleted. List archives are available at


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