Issue 24091 - OOo Writer Lacks Easy Outline Manipulation
Summary: OOo Writer Lacks Easy Outline Manipulation
Status: CLOSED DUPLICATE of issue 3959
Alias: None
Product: Writer
Classification: Application
Component: code (show other issues)
Version: OOo 1.1
Hardware: PC Windows 2000
: P3 Trivial (vote)
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: h.ilter
QA Contact: issues@sw
Keywords: oooqa
Depends on:
Reported: 2004-01-05 07:18 UTC by twescott
Modified: 2009-01-08 18:46 UTC (History)
1 user (show)

See Also:
Latest Confirmation in: ---
Developer Difficulty: ---


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Description twescott 2004-01-05 07:18:49 UTC
Microsoft Word's Outline View mode is one of the few things that they got 
really right, and the Navigator bar is _not_ a replacement, nor have I 
found a combination of features in OOo that replaces it.  OOo just doesn't 
make doing major surgery on documents as easy as Outline View mode does.

Here's the big three things that are a snap in Word's Outline View mode 
that have no direct cognate in OOo.  Obviously OOo doesn't need to slavishly 
follow Word's UI, but having the functionality there is important for very 
large document development.

Outline View mode in Word lets you easily promote or demote paragraph
heading numbers, by placing your cursor in the heading and hitting <tab> or
<shift tab> respectively.  Not only can you do this for _one_ section, but
you can select an entire section and promote or demote it _and_ all of its
subsections the same way.

Outline View mode lets you move entire sections around (with their
subsections, of course), with just a few clicks and a drag.  Then you can
promote/demote them to the appropriate level as described above.  This is
essential when you find out that all of chapter 5 really should be section
3.6, or visa-versa.

Outline View mode lets you collapse any section you want within a document,
so you can work on just one section in a large document.  What's more, you
can collapse all but _two_ fairly distant sections and (usually) get them
both on one screen, such as you might do if you want to compare a design
section with its corresponding test section.

This does two big things for you.  One, if you have a document that has all
the right content but whose organization stinks (i.e. one of my typical
rough drafts), you can move things around as needed, then patch up the few
dangling references and go on your merry way.  Two, you can write the
document outline very easily and naturally, with proper heading numbers &c.,
then proceed to write the document itself without ever having to manually
set a paragraph type.
Comment 1 ingenstans 2004-01-05 10:09:50 UTC
The first two of these can be achieved without much trouble in OOo. The keyboard 
shortcuts for promoting and demoting are there already, and work with heading 
styles as they should. Moving sections along with their subsections is also 
explicitly catered for in the Navigator. It could be better flagged, but that's 
an issue of usability, not functionality.

Moving sections around 'vertically' as well as horizontally is also catered for. 
There is a keyboard shortcut to move paragraphs (I think it's ctrl uparrow, but 
that has been reconfigured on my keyboard); there are also mouse draggings 
available in the Navigator, as well as icons there to do this. The only 
functionality missing is the ability to select a paragraph with mouse clicks 
before dragging it around the main window.

The missing functionality is the third one: the ability to show or hide 
paragraphs in the main window depending on their outline level. This is what 
stops the other outlining features from being truly useful. 
Comment 2 ingenstans 2004-01-05 10:13:29 UTC
This is quite clearly a dupe of #3959, though I think your report is better 

*** This issue has been marked as a duplicate of 3959 ***
Comment 3 h.ilter 2004-03-18 15:49:50 UTC
Comment 4 vardiss 2009-01-08 18:46:05 UTC
As someone who has been a programmer, a writer, and and manager of both, 
perhaps I can add my perspective.

First of all, I'd like to thank mba for his update and his reassurance that the 
programming team is aware that an Outline View is important. Thanks also for 
explaining to us that the reason it has not been done is because it is not a 
simple process, so it will take some time.

I think part of the problem is that we have a clash of two cultures: 
programmers and writers are usually quite different personality types with 
different sets of computer expertise - coders vs. simple users.

I would like to point out to mba regarding his somewhat brusque response that 
"You can all save your breath" (typical programmer's social skills!) that 
people had been complaining for YEARS before they heard about from anyone about 
the issues involved. They were not aware that anyone was paying attention to 
them so they were frustrated. Thanks again, mba, for letting us know you are 
aware of the problem and are working on it.

I would also like to point out that, in general, open software is mostly a 
"geek" thing. I say that with all respect being an old geek myself. So while 
XML etc. might seem more important than an Outline View for the most vocal 
users and programmers, there is probably a much larger user base for an Outline 
View than for XML. Also personally I feel "XML rules!"

The problem is that for the average, not particularly technically savvy, user 
(i.e. almost everyone who needs an Outline view!) they are not the type of 
person who is going to try to track down this thread and post something. They 
are certainly not going to try to figure out how to vote, and they probably 
don't bother to read all the previous comments before they post. They are used 
to a different type of customer support experience. Can anyone say "Care Bear?"

So just because you don't hear from them, doesn't mean they didn't try it and 
gave up without even posting. On the other hand an XML user is going to be more 
likely to function in a programmer-friendly fashion. My point is that the end-
users and the target market who want an Outline View, if Open Office is ever 
going to become a widely-used tool, are almost certainly massively 
underrepresented here because they didn't even know it existed.

In any case, we are happy to hear you are working on this solution and we look 
forward to hearing more about it. Unfortunately, we won't be able to tell our 
fellow users to "save their breath" because they don't read before they post.

Thanks again and best wishes for bug-free code!