Issue 118968 - No tab stops in Writer HTML documents
Summary: No tab stops in Writer HTML documents
Alias: None
Product: Writer
Classification: Application
Component: formatting (show other issues)
Version: OOo 3.3
Hardware: All All
: P3 Normal (vote)
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: AOO issues mailing list
QA Contact:
Depends on:
Reported: 2012-02-23 21:16 UTC by d.dutoit
Modified: 2012-02-23 23:56 UTC (History)
2 users (show)

See Also:
Issue Type: DEFECT
Latest Confirmation in: ---
Developer Difficulty: ---


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Description d.dutoit 2012-02-23 21:16:50 UTC
It seems tabs are simply not supported in Writer HTML documents.  The Format|Paragraph dialog has no Tabs page, and when I saved an HTML document (ex MS word) which contained tabs, they were missing when I reopened the document. Tabs are supported in both Firefox and Internet Explorer (and in MS Word HTML documents), so I find it strange that Writer does not.
Comment 1 Marcus 2012-02-23 22:03:27 UTC
Please note that the HTML standard does not support tab stops. If you need to position text, graphics, etc. to a specifc position, then you have to use other formatting methods like lists (HTML tags <li> or <ol>) or tables (tag <table>).

When other applications allow to insert tab stops then they transform these characters into others when finaly writing the HTML document.
Comment 2 orcmid 2012-02-23 23:09:27 UTC
This may be a legitimate question about why OO does not support the layout that the user creates in Writer.  It is not about the literal preservation of tab stops and especially tab characters (which are not what ODF uses anyhow), but the preservation of the layout.  

It might not be possible to restore them as tabs when an HTML document is opened in Writer.  I have my doubts about what the user sees happening in Firefox and Internet Explorer.  Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see how other office productivity software manages the transition from desktop format to HTML and back, and the degree of layout presentation in HTML.  I have confirmed that Microsoft Word preserves the layout produced using tabs and will round-trip the layoug document if re-opened in Word. Some may find the HTML that is used to accomplish that objectionable, but this user finds the result desirable.

There may be confusion here between Writer and Writer (Web) behavior too.

As usual, I believe it would be useful to request enough details to confirm whether there is a defect or an improvement issue that is appropriate as an issue here.
Comment 3 Regina Henschel 2012-02-23 23:46:18 UTC
Word writes non breakable spaces to align to the tab position. The information, which Word needs to recover the layout, are inside html-comments.
Comment 4 orcmid 2012-02-23 23:56:18 UTC
I did some experimentation with a Writer document that used default tabbing in
its layout.  I have confirmed Regina's observation with the following details:

Writer does not preserve layout produced by tabbing when it saves a document as

The reporter is also correct that Microsoft Office Word does preserve such
layout, and that layout (along with many other features of the original
document) is also recovered when such an HTML document is re-opened in
Microsoft Office Word.  (For this experiment, I opened the original ODT in Word
2010 and saved it as a single HTML document from there.)  The layout in [X]HTML is accomplished using CSS styling and special spans containing literal spaces.  The correct recovery as a Microsoft Office docuemnt is aided by special-purpose comments embedded in the [X]HTML that depend on details specific to Microsoft Office.  

It is interesting that the tabbed layout will also be preserved if the
Word-produced HTML is opened in OpenOffice Writer.  The layout is not recovered
as the result of tabbing however.  That is not to be expected, of course. 
There are other peculiarities when Writer opens such an HTML.