Issue 34183 - Intuitive UI (input)
Summary: Intuitive UI (input)
Alias: None
Product: Math
Classification: Application
Component: code (show other issues)
Version: 680m51
Hardware: All All
: P3 Trivial with 25 votes (vote)
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: AOO issues mailing list
QA Contact:
Keywords: oooqa
Depends on:
Reported: 2004-09-15 01:02 UTC by hflees
Modified: 2013-02-07 22:39 UTC (History)
4 users (show)

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


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Description hflees 2004-09-15 01:02:06 UTC
copied from issue 33989...

Make the formula interface more intuitive. A good example is the popular 
text editor. WYSIWYG formula editing. I think it is not a good idea to ask 
people to type formula (command) of a formula. Perhaps the formula of the 
formula can be enabled (for advanced user) and disabled for novice user.

to answer cloph...

Have you tried MathType?
Comment 1 thomas.lange 2004-09-15 08:35:39 UTC
Yes we know how MathTypes UI works.

And we also had a number of users being thankful for still having a text based
input method especially compared to MathType.

TL->BH: Since this is a request for enhancement / change I think this belongs to
you to think about.

Comment 2 hflees 2004-09-20 00:58:41 UTC
I tested 9 formula editors (on win32 and downloadable for trial/demo) to get 
the feel of their input methods:-

1. – ver 1.9.51
2. MathEdit – ver 3.20E
3. MathMagic – ver PE 3.0
4. MathType – ver 5.2 
5. OpenMathEdit – ver 0.78
6. WinTeXmacs – ver
7. Formulator – ver 1.0
8. Equation Illustrator V – ver
9. GobeProductive – ver 3.0.3

I hope to test WordPerfect 12 and Lotus Smartsuite. Unfortunately WordPerfect 
12 trial does not run and no downloadable Lotus Smartsuite.

The result ..

1. => Assisted command line
2. MathEdit => GUI
3. MathMagic => GUI
4. MathType => GUI 
5. OpenMathEdit => command line
6. WinTeXmacs => GUI
7. Formulator => GUI
8. Equation Illustrator V => GUI
9. GobeProductive => ???

OOo.Math - Assisted command line = when user select a value in the GUI, 
appropriate location in the command line is selected, enable editing.
I must agree OOo.Math's strength is the *assisted* 'command line' whereby 
*assisted* make it more friendly and 'command line' make it powerful and 'in 
control'. I have no problem with it.

The dominant word processing users are from MS-WORD world. I think this group 
of users are too lazy to think when they work. Don't talk about learning. If 
OOo.Math targeting this group of users, then OOo.Math is lacking.

If we analyse it the reverse way - who will use OOo.Math ? Student? Teacher? 
Lecturer? Professional? May be they are 'easier' to learn. Obviously normal 
clerk would hardly use this module.

This is just my idea.. it may be wrong. Frankly, I don't know which is better. 
My wife, economic lecturer, complained very difficult to use formula editor in 

Comment 3 ed2 2004-10-13 19:56:16 UTC
I can see how some users might have problems learning the commands for OOoMath, 
but I really can't see any better way of implemementing it.

One of the most common design flaws among the programs listed is that they 
force users to constantly switch between the mouse and they keyboard, which is 
both annoying any time-consuming. I can't see any way of avoiding the use of a 
basic command language, without creating this problem. Granted, most of them 
provide some keyboard shortcuts to the most common commands, but isn't learning 
these commands just as much work as learning the OOo math code? Also, the OOo 
code is much more intuitive than most of the keyboard shortcuts the other 
programs use.
Comment 4 jmgervais 2004-11-21 21:42:46 UTC
An alternative solution...
Dmaths, a GPL add-on to OOo:
Comment 5 aviel 2005-02-03 08:20:31 UTC
I also object to the initial offer of making math-editor a WYSIWYG formula
editing. I completely agree with hflees' analysis.

Of course, the best solution is to have it both ways, but this is a lot of
coding to do. Currently, I (and some other people *) , would like to see the
formula editor going in more proffesional direction (e.g. Latex) rather than
having more GUI.

* See a discussion in
Comment 6 Matthias Basler 2005-02-17 21:23:53 UTC
To cut the long story short: Although many users prefer the way OOo handles
"formula typing" (which can be really fast), some would like a more intuitive,
e.g. Word-like, solution.
Comment 7 jacech 2005-02-21 03:09:06 UTC
Perhaps the best approach is multi-layered.  I've used Mathematica before and
found that UI satisfying, because it provided three approaches: palette GUI,
text-input, and lastly, keyboard shortcuts.

The point of keyboard shortcuts is not to supplant the other two, and not to be
easier to learn than the OOo math code (that's what the GUI is for), but to
provide fast entry capability for the power user who doesn't want to type, for
example, "wideslash" whenever they want a pretty-slash fraction.

But please consider the shortcuts carefully; they should be both intuitive and
simple.  I personally find the Word shortcuts to be unintuitive, but maybe it's
just me.

In any case, many thanks!
Comment 8 hflees 2005-02-21 05:43:26 UTC
I think the current OOo.Formula input method is complete... GUI palette to 
click, text-input to show and edit the formula. Not sure on the keyboard 
shortcut. GUI palette is targetted for GUI/competitive program users, whereas 
text-input for advanced users.

What is lacking? Possible enhancement is GUI editing. An important element in 
many competitve programs is users are able to edit the result. This is not 
available in OOo.Formula... and that make new user run away. The cursor should 
be by default in the result. Any changes in the GUI/result should be reflected 
immediately in the text-input. For example I click this formula, the formula 
appears in my current cursor. I click that formula, it appears in my next 
cursor location. Of course, the parameters can be user's input, formula from 
formula button click or symbol from symbol button click.

For advanced user... they type whatever they want... and the result appears in 
the GUI result. Garbage in garbage out. Switching between GUI/result input and 
text-input can be made possible via mouse click or shortcut.

Comment 9 jacech 2005-02-21 08:05:22 UTC
Is "GUI editing" different from WYSIWYG editing?  I think they both mean the
same thing, in which case, I agree, I'm definitely for it.  But obviously this
should not replace text entry editing.  It should operate in parallel, as you
said, so the user has a choice on how to edit (and view) the formula.

By keyboard shortcuts, I mean a full palette of options available by simple
two-key combinations.  For example, why should I have to type "1 over 2" when I
could type "1 [Ctrl-o] 2" and get the same thing?  My philosophy is that the
power user should be enabled to use a minimum of keystrokes to get the desired

We may have to agree to disagree about this...?  :-)
Comment 10 hflees 2005-02-22 05:45:01 UTC
Good... that's what OOo.Formula required. Can we get some votes for the 
following enhancement/problem statement?

"To enchance OOo.Formula to allow GUI/WYISWYG editing, in addition to current 
assisted text-input method."
Comment 11 open_me 2006-08-22 10:03:17 UTC
I would love to see a GUI, but then we can use MathType under Windows (OLE)
without any problems... In this sense the user already has a choice... I would
prefer the OOo bugs fixed first though...
Comment 12 thomas.lange 2006-09-25 11:36:59 UTC
Comment 13 dma2002 2008-01-20 09:36:15 UTC
My opinion.
I use text-based input method and this way is for me faster than using
"keyboard-mouse-keyboard-mouse". I've spent only about two hours to learn OOo
Math basics. I make several documents with equations and I say, that
command-line method is for me better, than GUI input, for example, in MSEE. Just
two hours of learning, men, just two hours - and it will be OK.

On the other hand I understand, that the GUI input will help people, which wish
to migrate from MSO to OOo.

So I think, that command-line input must exist ever and GUI input is a useful
feature for "immigrants".
Comment 14 s060319 2008-02-01 12:07:06 UTC
I really do like the formula editor because you can type very fast the formula
and you can also click. 

Only I miss a few symbols. Why isn't there the sha symbol that is often used in
fourier transforms. 
The integral symbol is not scalable and is very small. 
And if you're typing you don't have the help like in matlab and other
mathamatical programms that you see that you correctly closed you're  The error
reporting could be better because an upset-down question mark doesn't tell you
what you did wrong. 

There is no function to outline the formula's. You can only do that with a trick
with a matrix and the function phantom. There should be an extra function to
automatically outline formula's.
Comment 15 webmaster 2008-03-08 06:00:35 UTC
I too would like to see OpenOffice having inbuilt support for Latex.