Issue 72777 - Math reference tables should show samples for all entries
Summary: Math reference tables should show samples for all entries
Alias: None
Product: documentation
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Online help (show other issues)
Version: OOo 2.1
Hardware: All All
: P3 Trivial (vote)
Target Milestone: 4.x
Assignee: AOO issues mailing list
QA Contact:
Depends on:
Reported: 2006-12-20 05:43 UTC by Joe Smith
Modified: 2017-05-20 11:31 UTC (History)
3 users (show)

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

Mockup showing proposed changes to Math help (271.93 KB, application/
2006-12-20 05:45 UTC, Joe Smith
no flags Details
OOo formula document for Math's symbols (4.86 KB, application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.formula)
2007-06-01 17:22 UTC, ace_dent
no flags Details
Example to show image scale, cropping and naming (253 bytes, image/png)
2007-06-01 17:24 UTC, ace_dent
no flags Details
Math Formula examples (256.20 KB, application/vnd.sun.xml.writer)
2007-06-01 17:56 UTC, Joe Smith
no flags Details

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Description Joe Smith 2006-12-20 05:43:38 UTC
In the Math formula editor, most operators and other symbols are easily
available from the floating selection menu. When a user needs a symbol not
available from the menu, he is likely to try to find the symbol by scanning
through the online help looking for the symbol by it's appearance, not by it's
name (i.e. reading).

The current reference tables for Math (Help > Math > Index > Search term:
"reference tables;formulas") only show a sample appearance for the items which
appear in the selection menu (table column "Symbol in Selection Window"). Since
the primary use of this section of the help is to find how to produce a symbol
which is not available from the floating menu, the absence of graphical samples
for the items NOT in the menu makes it much more difficult to find the symbols
you most need help with.

Ideally there would be a graphical sample for each item in the reference tables
that has a specific visual appearance. For the items that do not appear in the
menu, that fact could be indicated by a different background color for that row
of the table. That would make the table easier to scan since the most needed
items would stand out.
Comment 1 Joe Smith 2006-12-20 05:45:17 UTC
Created attachment 41577 [details]
Mockup showing proposed changes to Math help
Comment 2 kpalagin 2006-12-23 18:41:27 UTC
looks like ENHANCEMENT, not defect, to me.
Comment 3 Uwe Fischer 2007-01-02 08:51:12 UTC
This is file smath/01/03091500.xhp. This file needs to be split into sub files
because it loads too slow. All missing images should be added.
Comment 4 Uwe Fischer 2007-05-21 11:00:45 UTC
File will be splitted into ~ 9 sub files, ~ 28 images will be added. CWS hcshared10 
Comment 5 Uwe Fischer 2007-06-01 11:32:34 UTC
First step: redistributed the tables of file 03091500.xhp to new files
03091501.xhp through 03091509.xhp. added links as necessary, also to the
03090000 ff set of files. Now to the images ...
Comment 6 ace_dent 2007-06-01 14:21:24 UTC

I'd be happy to optimize any new help images generated, using lossless png
compression as used for Issue 73389.
Assuming you will be getting the images from screen grabs (on WinXP), it would
be great to disable ClearType font smoothing. I'm also happy to handle cropping
and greyscaling if you want(?).

Comment 7 Uwe Fischer 2007-06-01 14:46:03 UTC
-> ace_dent: That would be wonderful. How about this: I will prepare a Writer
doc next week with all the missing Math formulas and the proposed filenames, and
you cut them out as 24x24 png pictures, or larger if necessary? That's the
format of most of the existing Math images. 
As a Star/ user for many years, I'm new to Math. Currently I try
to get an overview of what is a bug, or a missing description in Help, or a
misunderstanding on my side: Math is not as intuitive as I would want it
Comment 8 Joe Smith 2007-06-01 15:16:53 UTC
Thanks for your work guys!

May I suggest that the images be along the lines of those in the sample
document--i.e. images of (or closer to) the _result_ of the expression (button),
rather than simply the menu symbol?

I say this because I expect that is what people will mentally key on to search
the tables: "I'm looking for a specific math form, and I know what that looks
like (on paper!); Ok, there it is, now what do I do to create that? ..."

So the image of the result should look as much like it does on paper and be
large enough to be easily recognizable.

If it is in the scope of this issue, perhaps we should give some time to laying
out the tables, try some mock-ups or something, before you make a whole set of

Thanks again; I would also be happy to help if there's something I can do.
Comment 9 Uwe Fischer 2007-06-01 15:51:50 UTC
Of course we should take a user centered approach, aiming directly at users
We have an abundance of images already: The "Formula Reference Tables" page
lists almost all Math symbols in 9 tables. I just cut the large file into 9
different files to speed up loading time.
Then we have the "Selection" page with 9 links to 9 subpages, which are
different from the "Formula Reference Tables", but give the same information
plus some extra information.
What the user may expect is a third (?) set of pages that start with FAQ-like
questions like "How do I enter a special operator?" or "How do I align this
equation?" or "How can I define my own symbol?". 
A special case would be the user who finds a printed formula somewhere in a book
and wants to create the same formula in Math . This is the user who can benefit
from a list of images, to scan the images and learn how the symbols are called
in Math. One idea: May be such a list can be put onto a Wiki page, with just a
link in the installed help?
Comment 10 ace_dent 2007-06-01 17:21:08 UTC
I have minimal working experience with Math formulas (sorry, still on MS and
Equation Editor!). But I'm happy to do the graphics work if someone can prepare
a suitable document (with labels for each symbol). I will upload an example of a
formula document that would be a good way to compile this list. From this, I
will set view to 150% to get images ~24px in height and some anti-aliasing to
make the images look more professional. Cropping will be tight (1px border),
since every symbol will vary in dimension and minimal file size is key.

->Jes, Would you like to prepare such a document to get things moving?

Comment 11 ace_dent 2007-06-01 17:22:31 UTC
Created attachment 45590 [details]
OOo formula document for Math's symbols
Comment 12 ace_dent 2007-06-01 17:24:03 UTC
Created attachment 45591 [details]
Example to show image scale, cropping and naming
Comment 13 Joe Smith 2007-06-01 17:54:37 UTC
I have a math "cheatsheet"; attaching here.

I did not create this document, but maybe it will help here.

The sample "subtraction.png" looks perfect. If possible, the images should have
a transparent background, in case the user has a different page background color.

Actually, I'm not sure about that now. Is there a spec for images in OOo help?
Comment 14 Joe Smith 2007-06-01 17:56:16 UTC
Created attachment 45592 [details]
Math Formula examples
Comment 15 Uwe Fischer 2007-06-04 08:56:26 UTC
That math_cheatsheet really looks like a very good start to provide the visual
help that is needed. BTW, you can switch off the gray borders by Tools - Options
- OOo - Appearance, then remove the checkmark from "Object Boundaries"
There is some work waiting for me with higher prio this week and may be the next
week, and then I'm on vacation for three more weeks. But we will improve the
Math help for OOo 2.4, for sure.
Comment 16 Uwe Fischer 2007-12-11 12:38:03 UTC
changing target
Comment 17 Marcus 2017-05-20 11:31:29 UTC
Reset assigne to the default "".