[Libreoffice-ux-advise] Discussion about highlighting (MS compatibility issue)

Zolnai Tamás zolnaitamas2000 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 24 14:18:37 PDT 2015

Hi there,

So in the end I solved this issue on the following way:
- I did not touch toolbar icons. I created a bug report about the
ambiguity of character background naming:
- Both highlighting and shading can be a good candidate to export LO
character background to, so I added
a compatibility option to Tools -> Options -> Load/Save -> Microsoft
Office, where user can select how
to save LO character background (as which MSO attribute).
- Since the name "Highlighting" is more accessible than character
background in LO and than shading in MSO, I set
highlighting as the default for export. LO help also calls character
background as "Highlighting". So from a user point of
view LO character background is closer to MSO highlighting, in spite
of that on the implementation level it's closer to
MSO shading.
- MSO import / export filters preserve both MSO attributes. These two
attributes are there at a specific text range until
character background is edited by LO. Editing removes markers
indicating there we have MSO imported attributes and
adds LO specific character background.

Best Regards,

2015-02-11 15:43 GMT+01:00 Zolnai Tamás <zolnaitamas2000 at gmail.com>:
> 2015-02-10 17:29 GMT+01:00 Michael Stahl <mstahl at redhat.com>:
>> On 10.02.2015 15:12, Zolnai Tamás wrote:
>>> Second thing, I compared these three kind of character backgrounds and
>>> found that LO's character
>>> background is closer to MS shading attribute then to MS highlighting, because:
>>> - LO's background color is a general attribute for different objects
>>> like text range, paragraph, frame, page, cell and so on, and character
>>> background is a specialization of it (like shading).
>>> - LO's background color and MS shading both has more color to choose
>>> from, while MS highlighting allows only 16 colors.
>>> - LO's background color and MS shading has a meaning like "fill the
>>> selected object's background with a color", while highlight has the
>>> meaning like "highlight a text range with a highlighter pen".
>>> So IMHO LO background color should be exported as shading to MS file
>>> formats and not as highlighting.
>>> Only similarity between LO's background color and MS highlighting is
>>> the "Highlighting" toolbar button and this is the
>>> problem here. Why LO uses an other name for character background on
>>> the toolbar and why not use exactly the same
>>> name (e.g. as in the menu)? This causes the misconceptions we have here.
>> i agree that having 2 different ways to do almost but not exactly the
>> same thing in the UI is confusing.
>>> So my new plan is:
>>> - Remove "Highlighting" toolbar button
>>> - Replace it with the existing "Background color" toolbar button (set
>>> it as default)
>>> - Extend the functionality of this "Background color" button to be
>>> able to set character background too (By now it is used for setting
>>> paragraph, frame and cell background)
>>> With that the toolbar icon of LO's character background will be
>>> similar to that which is used in Word for setting MS shading attribute
>>> (a paintbucket). This also means we don't need to support highlighting
>>> in LO to solve this interoperability problem.
>>> With respect to RES_CHRATR_HIGHLIGHT attribute it's still useful to
>>> store MS highlighting on a separate attribute so an MS file won't
>>> loose shading/highlighting information during a round trip. We can
>>> solve that on a transparent way, so the users won't know that we have
>>> two kind of character backgrounds behind the scenes.
>> actually - why do we need 2 core attributes for this?  if you apply both
>> "highlight" and "shading" in Word, one should override the other
>> completely in the document view, or how does it work?  can't we just in
>> the import filter convert both to the same core item, and if both apply
>> to the same text range, then only apply the "higher priority" one?  then
>> export it again as the attribute that allows more colors :)
> In Word when both shading and highlighting is set to the same text
> range, then highlighting covers shading, but
> when highlighting is removed later then the shading "under" the
> highlighting becomes visible. I can imagine this like
> shading is a static part of the document while highlighting is set
> temporarily (similar to the comments highlighting).
> Other difference between these two attributes in Word is that shading
> has effect on automatic font color (automatic
> font color is a feature of MS Word which makes the actual font color
> changing according to the background color, dark/light background ->
> white/black font color), but highlighting has no such interaction with
> it. So using only one background
> attribute and so convert both shading and highlighting into one
> attribute (shading or highlighting) during a round trip can
> lead also to font color change (opening in Word).
> So I think it's a good idea to handle both attribute separately.
> Best Regards,
> Tamás

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