Dealing with OOo’s braindead context sensitive toolbars
[Update 1 March 2012: Verion 3.5 of LibreOffice is still, apparently, brain damaged in that it still has these stupid context sensitive toolbars but they pop up at the bottom in my new install, so it doesn't cause the text to reflow. Haven't fully checked whether they can be turned off anywhere.]
[Update: Link to bug report at bottom of article]
Someone at OOo decided that context sensitivity of toolbars was a good idea. I disagree (and have lodged bug reports), but the OOo people prefer to agree to disagree on this issue. What happens with context senstivity is that when OOo senses you are doing something which might need a specific toolbar, it pops it up for you. Equally, if it thinks you aren’t it will remove that toolbar for you (how kind).
So imagine this situation: you have a document which includes some numbering. You’d like to add numbering to a currently unnumbered paragraph. So, you click on the paragraph and then go up to the numbering toolbar. In the split second it’s taken you to click and move, OOo has realised you’ve just clicked on an unnumbered paragraph – so you mustn’t want the numbering any more. Just as you’re about to click the button on the numbering toolbar to add numbering, ‘poof!’ it disappears. Similarly if you’re scrolling through a document with both numbered and unnumbered paragraphs it constantly redraws the screen adding and removing the toolbar (and offsetting and un-offsetting the text as a result).
This behaviour cannot be overridden. If you would like to have, say, the numbering toolbar persist, that’s your bad luck. Just because you might have pinned the numbering toolbar somewhere doesn’t mean anything. OOo will take control of it and turn it on and off (usually when you least expect it).
Whatever one might think of context sensitivity of the toolbars (and frankly I don’t see the point) the failure to support an override of this behaviour is particularly egregious. So far as I can tell, there is no way to vary this psychotic behaviour of the toolbar, one must simply grin and bear it. However, one is not completely without redress. The UI Nazis haven’t completely had their way with OOo. The solution to this <cough> ”feature” lies in the buttons – all of them – and their removal. I have done it and I am greatly relieved. The toolbar still flashes on and off in its impotent stupidity constantly as I edit my documents. No longer, however, do I have to put up with it moving my text about while it fulfills its destiny. Now relegated to a few small pixels the numbering toolbar appears anonymously beside my other toolbars, and disappears equally so. So much so that I hardly even notice it happening, although once in a while it catches my eye. Like just a few moments before I started this.
[for Planet LA's benefit, the title displayed in planet comes from the title on this screen shot I took. The real title is replicated in the first line of the post.]
And Issue 59706]