Issue 39733 - Support default value for measurement units,paper size,date/number format settings
Summary: Support default value for measurement units,paper size,date/number format set...
Alias: None
Product: General
Classification: Code
Component: ui (show other issues)
Version: 680m79
Hardware: All All
: P3 Trivial with 9 votes (vote)
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: AOO issues mailing list
QA Contact:
Keywords: oooqa, usability
: 3729 21458 24205 24401 25761 (view as issue list)
Depends on:
Reported: 2004-12-31 11:29 UTC by mintslice
Modified: 2013-11-06 12:43 UTC (History)
17 users (show)

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


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Description mintslice 2004-12-31 11:29:01 UTC
Currently, to switch from inches to millimeters as the default for various open
office applicaions you have to edit settings for each application.

For example, to see the measurements to millimeters in Writer you have to do the

Open Tools > Options
Select > Writer > General
Change Measurement Unit to Millimeters

Select > Writer > View
Change Horizontal Ruler to millimeters
Change Vertical Ruler to millimeters

Select > Writer > Grid
The Resolution settings seem to be permanently based on inches

Select > Writer > Table
The Keyboard Handling again seems to be permanently based on inches

You need to do much the same again for Writer/Web.

Also, there is no way to change the default paper size to A4

Given that a single nation uses Inches/Letter this isn't exactly a great set of
defaults for the rest of the world.

What should happen (in order of preference)

1. OOo should use reasonable settings based on where the use lives.  This should
be able to be determined from the time-zone or some other setting.

2. OOo should default to metric including using A4 paper.  (It's better that
only one nation should have to change these settings if the must be changed)

3. OOo should allow for some way to set these as defaults for the entire
application set.  Users shouldn't have to set these on a case by case basis to
switch from inches to metric, an option should exist in the General settings to
switch from one to the other.

On a related level, OOo should allow for setting paper defaults in the options.
 While this may be over-written by the (default) printer, when no printer is
present there needs to be a better way to set paper size than defaulting to letter.
Comment 1 mci 2005-01-06 11:17:32 UTC
reassigned to requirements

This works as designed ==> enhancement...:)
Comment 2 arthit 2005-02-21 06:37:36 UTC
*** Issue 21458 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 3 arthit 2005-02-21 06:40:53 UTC
*** Issue 24205 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 4 arthit 2005-02-21 06:44:26 UTC
Tested with 680m79.
Comment 5 arthit 2005-02-21 06:45:12 UTC
*** Issue 3729 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 6 arthit 2005-02-21 06:53:49 UTC
*** Issue 27990 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 7 arthit 2005-02-21 07:07:21 UTC
*** Issue 25761 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 8 arthit 2005-02-21 07:09:37 UTC
Also date/time format, from issue 25761:

"Default time/date formats should be changeable by the user.

I believe such things should be configureable and then affect all applications
(and maybe you would want to include an option to use the x-window manager

Comment 9 arthit 2005-02-21 07:13:40 UTC
*** Issue 24401 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 10 arthit 2005-02-21 07:18:35 UTC
related issue,
issue 42730 : Installation needs to auto-config OOo appropriately for an
environment's current locale
Comment 11 nicu_ooo 2005-02-21 07:25:25 UTC
arthit, you closed Issue 24401 as a duplicate of this, it is not supposed to
work the other way around, to mark the newer issue a duplicate of the older one?
Comment 12 arthit 2005-02-21 07:32:55 UTC
from issue 24401 :

"Regional settings that should ship with, that should be available for 
user to customize and that should be possible to retrieve from environment (if 
available) :

decimal symbol;
digit grouping symbol;
digit grouping on/off;
negative number format (just like it is possible to set this in calc for every 
cell, maybe more preset options - should try to detect this setting, if 
available - set it to default for calc);
list separator;
measurement units;
time format;
date format."
Comment 13 arthit 2005-02-21 07:36:27 UTC
nicubunu, sorry about that. But I think as long as all the info is preserved,
and at least one issue still open, that's fine :) (3729 seems to be the oldest
one, btw).
Comment 14 drc 2005-02-21 19:27:54 UTC
Please include in your debate how we deal with the awful Microsoft fiddle over 
paper size.  We really don't want Microsoft immigrants to find problems they 
never had before.

The merit of the MS strategy is a traveler can print her document on a local 
system anywhere in the world on A4 or letter without page number changes or 
ugly new pagination.

The problem arises when a non-itinerant MS user discovers on migration to OOo 
that all her life she has unwittingly been using a non-native paper size.  (And 
probably wondering why the margin settings etc. were never quite what she set 
them to.)
Comment 15 mintslice 2005-02-22 03:33:23 UTC
      "Please include in your debate how we deal with the awful
       Microsoft fiddle over paper size."

Yeah, interesting comment, but to be honest, the way MS handles paper sizes and
printers is so ordinary that it's probably not worth attempting to reproduce
this behaviour.  Or put another, I would hope that, even in attempting the
reproduce Office behaviour that OOo wouldn't try to implement anything as busted
as the way Office treats paper.

For some reason, Office feels the need to resize and repaginate pages based on
what printer you're plugged into, and it, in my experience, usually means that
the user is forced to reset the entire document because they moved from one A4
print to another.  This is totally busted and should not be reproduced.

Here's how I imagine things should work.

If the user has created a document and, in attempting to print, the document
won't print properly on that printer, then OOo should warn the user and offer a
number of solutions.

1. The user should be able to cancel the print command and reset the layout of
the page themselves.
2. The user should be able to continue, accepting that some content outside of
the printable area may not print.
3. OOo should offer to shrink the print job to make it fit in the available
sapce.  (I'm assuming that OOo uses a postscript backend for it's printing and
that this shouldn't be too hard)
3. OOo should offer to try and reset the content and either allow the user to
vet the changes, or just print and take pot luck.

The last thing I want is an office application that just decides to reset my
documents layout because I plugged into a printer that uses letter instead of
A4, or because the minimum margins for the printer are different.  Sure, OOo
should try to handle thsi gracefully, but only after making the user aware that
things aren't as optimal as they might be and that some action is required.
Comment 16 drc 2005-02-22 22:47:18 UTC
There seem to be two different MS experiences.  My non-expert users have 
problems because they unwittingly have the 'shrink to fit' option ticked 
somewhere in the bowels of the Word menus (possibly a MS default). When they 
come over to OOo their prints don't come out through printers that try to 
accommodate the non-native paper size and ask for a non-existent paper tray.
The problem Mintslice describes suggests there are other MS users with the 
option unticked.
I agree that the MS way sucks, and ideally we should offer the four choices at 
print time if a match cannot be found between the document paper size and the 
available printer paper sizes.  But users may still have a problem with 
printers that 'lie' (for whatever reason) about available paper sizes.   So I 
would suggest a 'Warning on paper sizes' button in the dialogue box as well, so 
that non-expert users feel supported in their decision making, and understand 
the problem is not with their warm and friendly OOo software.
Comment 17 mintslice 2005-02-23 00:26:41 UTC
There's a "'shrink to fit' option ticked somewhere in the bowels of the Word menus"?

This is news to me!

Of course, and this goes for OOo too, the problem with options in the bowels of
a software application are that the default is usually the only option because
they are so hard to find, nobody knows they exist.

It's much better to put these kinds of options into somewhere that's seen (in
this case the print dialog).  The users last pick should be used as the default
the next time, but they should see the dialog each time.

Should an option be included to  'not show this dialog again' then the user
should be informed where to find the 'option in the bowels of the menus' so they
can change it in the future (including not having it 'not shown' each time).

In all seriousness, this 'options in the bowels issue' is actually related to
this bug.  Do you realize in home many places the user has to look to switch
from one measurement type to another?  This is rediculous.  You need to look
through about six or seven places just for Writer, and then 'rinse and repeat'
for each other application included.  Hardly userfriendly.
Comment 18 jondoe 2006-02-09 18:11:42 UTC
It seems that measurement units are a truly frustrating issue for many.  In
fact, the original comment for this post uses a measurement unit which to me
seems unhelpful.  The number of countries where OOo is used should not be as
important as the number of actual users, but I digress.

I personally prefer inches, but unfortunately in contrast to the original
comment most of the defaults seem to be metric in origin.  0.79 inches for a
margin is unwieldy at best when trying to format a page using inches.  With the
current behavior of 2.0.1 (as far as I can tell from testing things) in order to
change the unit of measurement in Writer to metric it only needs to be changed
in two places, the general measurement unit and the ruler measurement units.  In
order to effectively use inches, though, each measurement needs to be changed or
symmetry and layout on a page become much more difficult.

I'm not trying to argue that one unit of measurement is better than another. 
I'm simply trying to point out that as things currently stand, everyone has
something that they could complain about with respect to measurements.

The easiest solution for the end user is to have some kind of system
integration.  Most people have already set their system up the way they want. 
Having OOo detect those settings at the time of installation and even possibly
being aware of changes to those settings would solve a lot of headaches, and it
would end most of this debate.

It wouldn't solve everything though.  Having the general measurement unit set to
the same unit as the rest of my system after install would be nice, but if I
still have to adjust every measurment setting so that I'm not working with odd
fractions, the issue will only partly be resolved.  I know that I can change the
settings, and I can even save new templates and set them as the default.  New
users don't usually know that much though.  I suggest that if OOo is given the
ability to detect system settings to solve global inconsistencies in usage, it
should also have separate templates and measurements to be used as defaults
depending on the unit of measurement.

Another option would be to create a setup wizard for locale-specific settings. 
It would be best if it could be run at any time, and if it were implemented, I
would suggest that there be a button added to the very end of the first-run
dialogue that would let people start it then (skipping it would be an option). 
The wizard could even tie into templates and other defaults.  Creating a wizard
might be a simpler approach than system integration, and having things separate
from the system might be seen as an advantage.

I would say that my biggest challenge in getting novice users to feel
comfortable on OOo is helping them to understand how OOo handles measurements
and teaching them how to change measurement units and settings.
Comment 19 john_johnson 2006-12-28 14:15:12 UTC
See also Issue #56997 'Mismatches between tabs, bullet indents, and text indents'. 

The default settings are irrational and inconsistent.
12.51 mm for tabs
12.7 mm indents for bullets and numbering (minimum 6.4 mm)
50.01 mm list indent
40.01 mm marginalia
6.35 list 1
4.99 mm first line indent
Comment 20 john_johnson 2006-12-28 14:16:24 UTC
This inconsistency means that nothing lines up without resetting.
Comment 21 andrixnet 2013-11-06 12:43:05 UTC
I was about to submit a new bug, but I found this. 

To my experience, on windows platform at least, does not inherit anything from the Regional settings in Control Panel. 

Regardless of what measurement system (in my case = metric) I set there, will default to inches. 

Tested like this: 
Fresh install of WinXP, Win7. 
Set Regional settings, measurement system = metric (regardless of your region of choice and it's default)

Start it. Go to Options. It is in inches. 

Second, regarding page sizes, I have devised a simple method to install, start each component, create an empty document, change page format (ie to A4), then save that empty document as a template and from template organizer, set it as default template.