Usability of Special Characters: GSoC 2017

Woah, Google Summer of Code with LibreOffice ( x2 ). This time, I’ll be working on improvement and rework of Special Characters feature in LibreOffice and adding some enhancements to it. I will be mentored by Samuel Mehrbrodt, Thorsten Behrens, and Heiko Tietze. I’ll encapsulate all the proposed changes with respect to the project in this blog.

The Idea

  • Create a way to quickly re-use recently-picked special characters, allowing the user to search in the whole character map, which has no filter to narrow down results.
  • Allow users to create their own ‘Special Characters’ subset (Individualization)
  • Sorting by last in, first out; items from the list of recently used characters are sorted to the beginning if selected.
  • Create a toolbar dropdown control to easily access recent symbols and the user-defined custom subset.
  • Have a preview along with the Unicode name.
  • Better UI for search (within font subsets) using Unicode name, hex and decimal code.
  • Different subsets within a font need a separation in the special character SvxShowCharSet custom widget.
spclchar

Finalized enhancements for the dialog

Proposal for the toolbar dropdown for quick access to favorites and recently used characters.

spclchar2

Design for the toolbar dropdown.

A lot of challenges need to be addressed while working on this project. It’s about time to play with Unicode data and custom-widgets.

For other queries and discussions, please comment or ping me (IRC nick: Akki) on libreoffice-dev / libreoffice-design channel on Freenode.

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4 thoughts on “Usability of Special Characters: GSoC 2017

  1. Great ideas. In many text/wiki applications I have already wished for a customized “my special characters” list which is easily accessible without having to browse through this endless font list to find them again and again.
    My workaround: A sticky note on my keyboard for selected Alt+0xxx shortcuts … there must be a better way. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For inspiration, the new Mac OS Sierra ’emoji’ / characters tool is pretty excellent. It includes a semantic search (‘arrows’, ‘boxes’, etc.). Perhaps this native tool could be enabled in LibreOffice for the Mac?…

    Like

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