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Tabs and the Status Bar in Words

Stephen Leibowitz
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Tabs and the Status Bar in Words

Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:45 pm
This post is about Words in the Desktop Mode of Calligra Gemini.

There is little documentation for Words, although it has tooltips. When the Rulers are shown, there is a small area at the top-left corner of the horizontal and vertical rulers. There are no tooltips for this area. The area initially shows a left tab icon. By clicking on the icon, you can cycle through the other tab alignment types. After showing the desired tab, you can click on the ruler to set a tab stop.

If you click in the corner area, but not on the tab icon, Words will display to the lower-right a copy of the tab icon. You can click on it to cycle through the icons, independent of the icon to the upper-left. You can drag-and-drop this icon on the ruler, which sets a tab stop. Again, there are no tooltips. I do not know if this second icon has any other purpose.

Other word processors have an additional method of setting tab stops. If you want your tab stops at precise positions that you cannot get by clicking (or dragging to) the ruler, you can use a tabs dialog box. This dialog box also allows you to specify leader characters, such as dots, instead of the usual spaces. I think a tabs dialog feature should be added to Words. Words already allows precise indents to be set in the Change Paragraph Format box. This would be a logical place to add a tabs dialog.

The ▲ icon functions as a Center Tab in Words. But in LibreOffice and MS Word, the Center Tab icon is a ┴ . Words instead uses the ┴ icon for the Decimal Tab. In the other word processors, the Decimal Tab icon is an ┴ with a middle dot to the right of the vertical line. I think that the Words tab alignment icons should be made the same as in the other word processors. If the Calligra organization is unwilling to adopt ┴ as the Center Tab, then it should at least change the Decimal Tab to ▲· . Tooltips can also be added to reduce the confusion.

The Status Bar runs the full width of the Words window. One of the options is to show the line number. I think it would also be useful to be able to show the horizontal position of the text cursor.
Stephen Leibowitz
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My thinking has shifted about the four icons that Words uses for tabs. For the various tab types, KWord uses the same icons as LibreOffice and MS Word. Calligra Words uses different tab icons. Perhaps the Words developers thought that their tab icons were more legible, especially for small screens. Except for the Decimal Tab, the icons cause little confusion for people who work with both Words and one of the other word processors.

┴ is the Center Tab icon in KWord/LO/MS Word. Their Decimal Tab icon is a ┴ with a middle dot to the right of the vertical line. ▲ is the Center Tab icon in Words. ┴ is the Decimal Tab icon in Words, which is the same icon as the Center Tab in the other word processors. This is confusing. We could change all the tab icons in Words to be the same as in the other word processors. Another approach would be to change just the Decimal Tab icon. Here are some possibilities:
·
˙ (The dot could be moved closer to the triangle.)
(White Up-Pointing Triangle with Dot) (HTML decimal ◬) (HTML hex ◬ )

We can borrow a technique from Apple: use color for the tab icons. This improves their legibility on the monochrome ruler. Also, tooltips can be added to the tab selector area at the left of the ruler.
boemann
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Thank you very much for your suggestions. I agree on all accounts - and I really have no idea why we have changed the icons

My suggestion would be to use the same inverted T icon for center and maybe the triangle with a dot inside for decimal ? But I'm not sure if we are not just using what the icon theme gives us in which case a fix will be more difficult

I like the idea about color

The dialog - yeah we should - just a question of available time to do it

 
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