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Le 2010-10-28 17:45, RGB ES a écrit :
While direct formatting *seems* to be good on two page school reports,
it is a nightmare when you need to create complex and well structured
Writer have a good tradition of tools that helps the build of complex
documents (styles, styles and more styles!).
What I would like to see instead of more direct formatting tools, is a
redesign of the way styles are defined to easy the learning curve of
new users.
Relying on styles is Writer's trademark. I think we need to give even
more power to this trademark instead of going the route of MSWord.
If you only teach your students to use direct formatting, they will
only use direct formatting afterwards: If you want to teach them how
to properly use Writer, you need to teach them the correct use of
styles since the beginning. I know, it is not easy, but it is more
difficult to correct bad habits afterwards...
BTW, tabs inside paragraph styles makes a lot more sense than tabs as
formatting characters...
After all, *tab stops as direct formatting must be avoided on properly
formatted documents* ...

I am puzzled as to why you want to avoid any direct formatting. I am a power user and a great fan of style sheets; yet, as far as I am concerned, the great strength of style sheets is when something needs to be repeatable. So I will define paragraph styles, bullet styles and heading styles because similar paragraph "configurations" will appear more than once in my document. Likewise for legends or equations in a technical document. On the other hand, tables rarely repeat themselves: number and width of columns differ, some have text, others have numbers, etc. So a given style used in Table 1 won't be useful anywhere else in my document. So what do I do? I define a style for the table title and a font style for column headers and for the content. However, I typically will add tabs manually.

Still it should be easier to understand how stylesheets work and how they are written. And some functions should be added. Amongst improvements I would like to see are: – better interactions between bullet styles and regular paragraph styles (or maybe a clearer explanation on how both work); – partial character styles (and maybe partial paragraph styles): for example, "Strong" (or "accented") might simply defined as "whatever paragraph style and font styles are already applied" + Bold, and "note" might be defined as "85% of height in grey"; – links and dependencies between styles that work all the time (right now, it is guess work); – we should also be able to add a condition to an existing style, not just a new one; – the possibility of having a paragraph style followed by another one should also work within cells, so the style used for column header would be automatically followed by the one used for column content, for example; – last but not least, page styles should be optionally linked to a base style (i.e. margins of my first page could then be automatically modified from the margins of my standard page).

For compatibility, the same stylesheets should exist in Impress, with added features linked to paragraph animation. Imagine the ease of transfer if a "standard paragraph -- bullet 1 level 2" paragraph would contain all the following: – in Writer: font: Bodoni 10 pt; bullet: n-dash ; indents: 1p6, -1p6, 0; spaces: 5pt, 0.95 li, 0;
– in Calc:...
– in Impress: font Helvetica Bold 16pt blue ; bullet: n-dash gold ; indents: 3p, -3p, 0; spaces: 12pt, 1.1li, 0; visual effect: slide from left in 2 seconds...
Michel Gagnon
Montréal (Québec, Canada) --

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