Issue 126882 - Change description for "automatic lines" in Tools > AutoCorrect Options > Options > BORDER
Summary: Change description for "automatic lines" in Tools > AutoCorrect Options > Opt...
Status: CONFIRMED
Alias: None
Product: Writer
Classification: Application
Component: editing (show other issues)
Version: 4.1.2
Hardware: All All
: P5 (lowest) Normal (vote)
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: AOO issues mailing list
QA Contact:
URL:
Keywords:
Depends on:
Blocks:
 
Reported: 2016-03-22 18:42 UTC by John
Modified: 2016-03-23 16:31 UTC (History)
1 user (show)

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


Attachments
Tools > AutoCorrect Options > Options duialogue - BORDERS is very confusing (20.02 KB, image/png)
2016-03-22 18:42 UTC, John
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Description John 2016-03-22 18:42:54 UTC
Created attachment 85363 [details]
Tools > AutoCorrect Options > Options duialogue - BORDERS is very confusing

One of the common problems on the User Forum is people who cannot "get rid of a line" which has suddenly and mysteriously appeared in a Writer document.  It was my first question in the forum many years ago.

Writer is delivered with Tools > AutoCorrect Options > Options > Border ... ticked.  This means that any user typing three dashes gets the dashes automatically converetd to a paragraph border.

1  This is very counter-intuitive.  Users do not understand what has happenend.

2  There is no simple way to back out the line.  Users cannot get rid of the line - every time they try, it moves soemwhere else!

The only way to fix it is to understand that it is NOT a line as such, but it is a paragraph border, and can only be backed out by (for example) Format > Paragraph > Borders > None.

3  The Options ... dialogue label is very misleading - it just says "Border".  The user has a problem with a LINE - he does not realise it is problem with a BORDER.  See attachment.

Two suggestions:

1  Rename "BORDER" to "APPLY AUTOMATIC LINES AS BORDERS"  This is descriptive of what is happening and will allow users to find it in the AutoCorrect Options.

2  Deliver Writer with this box UNTICKED so that users have to tick it themselves.

See "Errant double horizontal line: can't delete" at https://forum.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=34685 which has had over 16,000 viewings or "Lines within a page" at https://forum.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=81574 which has been viewed 543 times since 28 January.
Comment 1 orcmid 2016-03-22 20:25:35 UTC
Nice one, John.

I confirm all of the behaviors you describe and that unchecking the option causes --- at the beginning of a paragraph to no longer do anything.

Unchecking the box by default would be very handy.

We probably need a tip to point folks at also.  The help on the AutoCorrect Options dialog provides a great description, but of course one has to already be wondering about that check box to even wonder what it does.

That it is a border on the bottom of the paragraph appearing above it is what makes it seem non-removable.

Is there anything clear-cut on the Forums already?
Comment 2 John 2016-03-23 10:02:33 UTC
(In reply to orcmid from comment #1)

> Is there anything clear-cut on the Forums already?

There does not appear to be.  

The Writer FAQ at https://wiki.openoffice.org/wiki/Documentation/FAQ/Writer has a post Automatic Functions but "automatic lines" are not included.  I tried to add an item called "How do I stop automatic lines and how do I remove them?" but the page refused to allow me.

Another place is the Writer Tutorials at https://forum.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewforum.php?f=74.  I will try to add it there.
Comment 3 John 2016-03-23 10:06:19 UTC
I think there is sufficient space to rename "BORDERS" to "APPLY AUTOMATIC LINES AS PARAGRAPH BORDERS" which is even more descriptive.
Comment 4 John 2016-03-23 10:34:02 UTC
I have just created [Tutorial] Automatic functions in Writer at https://forum.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f=74&t=82546 which included automatic lines and number recognition in tables.
Comment 5 orcmid 2016-03-23 16:21:54 UTC
(In reply to John from comment #3)
> I think there is sufficient space to rename "BORDERS" to "APPLY AUTOMATIC
> LINES AS PARAGRAPH BORDERS" which is even more descriptive.

I have to say that if I saw that I would have no idea what it meant.  The built-in Help on AutoCorrect options is very clear.  I also agree that "Apply Border" is also not helpful.  Only if one happens to read the Help is all revealed.

I agree that this is a very counter-intuitive arrangement, especially if folks are trying to get the equivalent of the HTML horizontal rule.  Then there is the unexpected automatic operation.

I think this needs to be about automatic conversion of "---" and its kin to what appear as horizontal lines as the bottom of the preceding paragraph.  This is what users encounter and it somehow needs to be surfaced in user understanding in relation to that..

The problem is that this solution to making horizontal rules, however it came about, is completely incoherent and a quicksand for folks who unintentionally trigger the autocorrect.  And even doing it on purpose has very quirky behaviors to deal with.

My suggestion would be to change the function altogether and create a paragraph in place of the "--" paragraph that is empty but for the border.  (The rule seems to work just fine on empty paragraphs.)

This would also allow successive lines of "---" to produce successive horizontal rules.  At the moment, that doesn't work at all when done intentionally.

Since the ability to put borders on paragraphs is completely supported by other means, this seems more coherent.

Here's a possible progression (implementable in stages):

 1. Provide an explanation of the current situation so that folks can find solutions to inadvertent creation of horizontal lines (what they see) that they can't over-rule (although "undo" does work) so it can be found in (assisting) trouble-shooting.  There can be various places for this, including the wiki documentation.

 2. Change the title of the option to "Automatic Horizontal Lines" (even though not technically accurate, the Help will fix that.)  Anything that is recognizable in terms of what users encounter is preferable then expecting the implementation to be comprehended.

 3. Somewhere, identify all the triple cases  "---" and what they produce.  The AutoCorrect Replace tab would be helpful, although Delete and New would not control them.    The Help for that tab could be instructive.  More needs to be figured out about that.

 4. Eventually, consider replacing the border solution with an automatic paragraph solution.  (Even if it is done as a bottom border, it is now coherent.)

That's my immediate thinking-out-loud.  The key is to find avenues to this that users understand and are recognizable in terms of what users experience.

Thanks for the useful analysis and discussion, John.
Comment 6 orcmid 2016-03-23 16:31:17 UTC
(In reply to John from comment #2)
> The Writer FAQ at https://wiki.openoffice.org/wiki/Documentation/FAQ/Writer
> has a post Automatic Functions but "automatic lines" are not included.  I
> tried to add an item called "How do I stop automatic lines and how do I
> remove them?" but the page refused to allow me.
> 
> Another place is the Writer Tutorials at
> https://forum.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewforum.php?f=74.  I will try to add
> it there.

Because of Wikis being targets for link spammers, we have a different procedure for gaining edit permission.

Send an email to doc@openoffice.apache.org with a request that a MediaWiki account be created with whatever user ID you choose.  Give the email address you want associated with the account (good for following pages).

Your account will be created with a provisional password and it will be sent to you.  You should change the password, of course when you sign in the first time, of course.

The doc@ list is a good place to discuss the interconnected support of reference and tracking materials.