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Monthly Archives: June 2009

While working on the rulers fix, Christian pointed out that, with my fix, using rulers on a numbered list of paragraphs totally kills the numbering – because of the way I have to change the outline-defining entities (I pointed out that their atomicity is a real problem). So, this is what you get when changing the outline control item in the middle of a numbered list of paragraphs:


That is, changing any attribute, even the color of the number, restarts numbering in Impress (notice the double occurence of the colored "a)"). While when changing indentation, this might be acceptable, the behaviour with color is clearly non-intuitive, and also likely a fall-out of the list level fixes. Let’s look at the competition:


Somewhat different – changing outline attributes don’t affect numbering. I initially thought a bit about the indentation issue, as you can find arguments for both ways; ultimately though, deviating from MSO for no extremely good reason is something we usually avoid in OOo-land; and incidentally there’s a good reason for the way PowerPoint is doing it: indentation, font, coloring, numbering scheme, etc. is just formatting. The only thing I would consider content is the outline level, i.e. the depth of the nesting (of the numbered paragraphs), on the document level.

So with the golden rule that content is king and formatting is nothing, I went and boldly changed the way numbering is done in ooo-build, namely that only the outline level determines the counting (of course, unnumbered and bulleted paragraphs inbetween still restart the numbering):


Dear LazyWeb, feedback about which behaviour you find more usable (and less surprising) much appreciated.


With the substantial changes in OOo 3.0 regarding list levels (that have caused a bit of trouble elsewhere), Impress seemed to be going along quite nicely, except for the issues when converting between ODF1.1 and tentative-ODF-1.2 documents.


But then along came someone who was using the rulers in Impress (which are disabled by default – you get them inside the “View” menu), complained about extensive brokenness, and I started to have a deeper look:

blog-sample-1-ooold-indented blog-sample-1-ooo-indented

The left image shows status quo (red line showing position of the ruler controls), note that the cursor is inside the last, most indented paragraph. The right image shows the behaviour as it was before 3.0 (the strong black lines added, to better visualize ruler control position). Moving those ruler controls then gives this:

blog-sample-1-ooold-indented blog-sample-1-ooo-indented

Again, left side new, right side old behaviour. Apparently now, the ruler controls only add an offset to the already existing indentation of the outline, whereas before, they directly controlled bullet position and left margin of the text. What’s more, the lower control does not change text left margin, but first line indent – something just utterly useless in a presentation outline. Not exactly an improvement in usability, in my not so humble opinion. This is now fixed in ooo-build master.

That said, the fix has a tiny little fly in the ointment: changing the bullet/text distance needs to modify the entity that determines the whole bullet/numbering appearance (the SvxNumBulletItem, sadly therefore only atomically modifiable – a decision that might need re-assessment), which in turn leads to an outline format that will no longer adhere to e.g. changes in the master page styles. This is no different when changing said distance in an unfixed vanilla OOo, via the Bullets & Numbering dialog; and clearly a lot less annoying than the ruler behaviour there – but it still warrants mentioning, I guess.