[Libreoffice-ux-advise] Hiding/Showing the page breaks in writer

Christoph Noack christoph at dogmatux.com
Fri Sep 16 13:40:05 PDT 2011

Hi Olivier!

Thanks for your mail ... I hope we can resolve the page breaks question
and making everyone (reasonable) happy ;-)

Am Freitag, den 16.09.2011, 01:23 +0200 schrieb Olivier R.:
> Hi all !
> About hiding/showing the page breaks in Writer, we were 4 people to 
> disagree with the idea of showing them only with the non printable 
> characters.
> Only 2 agreed with the idea.
> And one of us agreed with both sides. ;)
> (The discussion was on the French mailing-list.)

Thanks for the summary ... really helps if such information is brought
across the mailing lists!

> The text boundaries are useful informations. And the text is just 
> unreadable with non printable characters. What’s the point of burying 
> page breaks in an unreadable mode? The page breaks are major elements to 
> understand a document structure, like text boundaries, and have more 
> importance than whitespaces. That’s what we were saying.
> My suggestion was :
> - show the already existing almost unnoticable lines if the non printing 
> characters are not displayed (like text boundaries),
> - display the very shiny new page breaks with the non printing characters.

Okay, let's address this step by step - I think everybody agrees that
the visualization of page breaks is valuable. I, personally, also use
the page break information quite heavily.

But, the blue (or whatever colored) line isn't self explaining - so the
question is whether it helps (advanced users) or worries (less advanced
users) if it is shown in the Writer WYSIWYG mode - it could even be a
document border. That was our rationale to switch the visibility of this
"line" with the non-printing characters, plus adding a "this is a page
break icon" plus tooltip.

So I currently see two alternatives trying to balance the needs of the
variety of users ...

Version 1: Back to a (tweaked) former behavior
      * non-printing characters off --> show the line (but: use a narrow
        dashed line to make it look like a markup, like the
        headers/footers indicator or the Notes connector lines)
      * non-printing characters on --> show the line and add the icon
        for "this is a page break" (which is currently implemented via
        text, as Cedric stated)

Version 2: Make the border a formatting aid --> Same behavior as above,
but make the the line a configurable formatting aid (Tools - Options -
Writer - Formatting Aids). [BTW: I don't like to add more configuration
options, but it would fit to the concept we have today...]

@ Cedric, Olivier: Mmh, currently thinking if (after our changes) the
former upper document border is still the right place to draw such a
line, or whether the upper page border would fit even more ... Any

@ Cedric: Is this feasible?

> Displaying only the page breaks with the non printable characters would 
> just make Writer just unusable and will hide the document structure for 
> many of us who feel that it’s an important point to create 
> well-organized documents.

As a side note - I've also quickly discussed with Cedric at the Hackfest
that one of the most important missing pieces is a good "Draft" mode,
optimized for the authoring instead of displaying of document content.
Such authoring mode should then take care of such formatting aids ...
but getting that requires two or three Cedrics, I assume ;-)

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