Bug 103036 - rework document Language Setting into a dedicated dialog (comment 7, comment 17)
Summary: rework document Language Setting into a dedicated dialog (comment 7, comment 17)
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Writer (show other bugs)
(earliest affected)
Inherited From OOo
Hardware: All All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
: 58591 121700 134737 134857 137873 139589 140316 159020 161033 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Blocks: Writer-UX Options-Dialog-Language
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2016-10-06 13:27 UTC by StephenM
Modified: 2024-05-29 01:34 UTC (History)
21 users (show)

See Also:
Crash report or crash signature:

Workaround inserting several languages into menus (16.59 KB, application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.text)
2021-07-13 20:53 UTC, christos

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Description StephenM 2016-10-06 13:27:45 UTC
This is a complex issue. It pertains to the Tools -> Language menu in Writer and the Options -> Language Settings -> Languages property-page.

If resolve, I believe this issue would also solve bug #91119, bug #95842, bug #58591. All of these are relevant but none of them describe my issue exactly.

The first part of the problem is this: under Tools -> Languages -> For all Text (et al.), only the U.I. language and document language is listed by default. To use another language, the intuitive thing to do is to click "More..." but that takes you to the Languages property-page. You can then change the current document's language using the combo-boxes underneath "Default Languages for Documents" but this is counter-intuitive because that title suggests (quite correctly) that you are changing the program-wide default, not the current document's attribute.

The problem then continues because, to effect the desired change, you have to check the box captioned "For the current document only." This caption is a direct contradiction. If it is for the current document only, it isn't a default for documents.

Confusion reigns once more when you later create a new document - the new document will not have the language you just picked if you checked the box because it isn't that document. (I'm almost certain that the creator of #95842 ran into this issue and simply described this poorly... but his report was vague in the extreme.)

The second part of the problem is that, even once you do understand how the system works, it is extremely inconvenient and tedious. Suppose you alternate between two languages in your daily work. You can pick one as your actual default, being careful not to check the "current document only" box, but every time you want to work in the other, you will have to do battle with the combo-boxes under "For the current document only." Those combo-boxes list every language in the known universe - they are not useful. (Bug #47896 identifies this issue in the Font tab of the style editor - another way to work, but suffering from the same inconvenience)

I believe that this is a major issue. Here, in Europe, lots of people (myself included) speak and work in many languages, not only their U.I. language, and commonly need to select from three or four. They might also be editing documents created by other people, originally in a different language.

I propose the following solutions:

Firstly, duplicate the three combo boxes on the Languages property-page and remove the current-document-only check box. One trio of combo boxes can be the default for documents, the other can be for the current document. This will be far more intuitive.

Secondly, instead of taking the user to the Languages property-page, the "More..." links under the Tools -> Languages -> For all Text (et al.) sub-menus should show a dialog with which the user can select which languages to show in the sub-menus. This setting should be program wide, not just for the document. This will allow multi-lingual users to select their common languages and, in the future, they will not have to battle any dialogs or combos in order to reach those languages.

Steps to Reproduce:
1. See Tools -> Language
2. See Options -> Language Settings -> Languages

Actual Results:  
Confusion and tedium.

Expected Results:
Intuitive usefulness and convenience.

Reproducible: Always

User Profile Reset: Yes

Additional Info:
Tested under Windows 10 in and

User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64; rv:49.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/49.0
Comment 1 StephenM 2016-10-06 13:43:30 UTC
Also note: if you click on the language in the status bar at the bottom of the Writer window, the context-menu that appears is visually similar to the sub-menus under Tools -> Language -> For all Text (et al.) but on this one, the "More..." item does not take you to the Languages property-page but to the Font tab.

This is inconsistent and also confusing.
Comment 2 Urmas 2016-10-07 06:20:33 UTC
For me, the "For all text" submenu also show the autodetected language for the current paragraph; doesn't it do the same for you?
Comment 3 Jordi 2016-10-07 09:24:12 UTC
I concur with StephenM that the current way for changing default language of the document is counter-intuitive. 

I think a couple of simple changes are in order.

- The software should store previously used languages and present them in the Tools->Language->For Selection/Paragraph/Text submenus.
- A more intuitive dialog for selecting the default language of the document
Comment 4 Joel Madero 2016-10-08 04:54:52 UTC
Punting to NEW and letting UX deal with it.
Comment 5 Thomas Lendo 2018-11-04 21:10:09 UTC
*** Bug 58591 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 6 Thomas Lendo 2018-11-04 21:13:00 UTC
From bug 58591 comment 0:

A dedicated dialog for text language selection would reduce confusion.

There are at least four closed bugs saying that Tools -> Languages -> For paragraph -> More... leads to the wrong dialog box. It leads to the character formatting dialog because text language is considered to be part of the character formatting. Counter-intuitive.

Tools -> Languages -> For all Text -> More... leads to the general program options and there lets you set the language just for the current doc. Again counter-intuitive, but less confusing.

This new dialog should just let you choose the language you want to use for the text, maybe also let you choose whether to apply it to the whole doc, the current paragraph, the selection, or maybe even make it the default for all docs.
Comment 7 Heiko Tietze 2020-11-10 13:06:13 UTC
(Mike Kaganski at bug 137873 comment #3)
> Actually all three - "For Selection"/"For Paragraph"/"For All Text" - lead
> to confusing dialogs. Former two bring the Character dialog on Font tab,
> where language is just one setting among multiple. The latter one brings the
> said Language dialog... where the language is also not the only thing; and
> all that is rather counter-intuitive, and inconsistent.
> I would propose to implement this in stages:
> 1. Create a dedicated "Set Language" dialog, with the only purpose to select
> the text language. It would be very simple: have only one list box with
> languages, OK and Cancel. It would be consistently used for all three
> actions.
> 2. When it's implemented, the checkbox (and related document-specific
> functionality) may be removed from Options.
> This would duplicate functionality a bit: Character dialog has the control
> to set the language, doing the same as this proposed dialog; yet, having a
> streamlined UI for the *dedicated* UNO command seems logical, and convenient
> to end user. If needed, the dialog and/or its help could include the mention
> that this is the same thing that is available on Character dialog (for
> selection and Paragraph cases).
Comment 8 Heiko Tietze 2020-11-10 13:06:31 UTC
*** Bug 137873 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 9 Mike Kaganski 2021-02-25 10:36:04 UTC
*** Bug 140316 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 10 Dieter 2021-02-28 11:14:00 UTC Comment hidden (obsolete)
Comment 11 Mike Kaganski 2021-02-28 11:46:11 UTC Comment hidden (obsolete)
Comment 12 Dieter 2021-02-28 11:57:52 UTC Comment hidden (obsolete)
Comment 13 Heiko Tietze 2021-05-18 10:06:12 UTC
*** Bug 121700 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 14 Heiko Tietze 2021-05-31 13:25:19 UTC
*** Bug 139589 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 15 Heiko Tietze 2021-06-07 08:28:27 UTC
*** Bug 134737 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 16 christos 2021-07-13 20:53:27 UTC
Created attachment 173543 [details]
Workaround inserting several languages into menus


Choosing the language easily is not only about user-friendly dialogs. The user should be able to choose the languages he or she uses most often from the menu or context menu without having to open additional dialogs. In other words, in most cases the user should not have to resort to More... - regardless of how the dialog following More... works. This is illustrated using the workaround described below.


The attachment consists of blank paragraphs in various languages and a screenshot showing that LibreOffice offers these languages in the following menus while the file is open in edit mode.
   • Tools > Language > For Selection/For Paragraph/For All Text
   • (Status bar) Set Language for Paragraph
   • Context menu shown upon right-clicking a word that the spell checker underlines as misspelled.

A line of blanks in the various languages would also work. The workaround consists in pasting the blank paragraphs or the line of blanks into the document being edited.


LibreOffice should a) allow users to set not only the default language but also their other preferred languages and b) offer all these languages in the menus mentioned above, as it does at present when the languages are used in the document. Choosing the language in this way is preferable to going through More...

The languages the user specifies in the user settings should be offered in addition to those that Writer menus offer at present:
   • UI
   • locale
   • input method
   • languages used in the document.

When might I need to use More... then? In exceptional cases, for example, when I need a language I rarely ever use in office work and which I have not added to my preferred languages for this reason.


In bug reports about setting a language, it is often stated that the user should create separate styles for each language and set the desired language by choosing an appropriate style. While this may be suitable in special cases such as the one mentioned in duplicate bug 134737 comment 3 - English text quoting Greek text (which uses a different alphabet and for which, say, a different line spacing may be desired) - in most cases it is inconvenient. It means duplication or even proliferation of styles - more work for users. Users, however, expect office software to allow setting the language easily. As mentioned in comment 0, many users need to work in several languages. Furthermore, the workaround attachment shows that additional languages are sometimes needed to accommodate spellings that depend on the country, for example, UK and US English.
Comment 17 Eike Rathke 2021-12-06 15:35:38 UTC
Just a heads-up as most people seem not to be aware:
The offered language lists in the Font tab dialog and under Tools -> Options -> Language Settings -> Languages, Default Language for Documents, are *not* identical. The latter offers only languages/locales for which locale data exists, to be able to format field content (numeric, date, time, ...) and bullet and number lists as expected. The former, character/paragraph/font dialog attribution lists all known languages/locales, regardless whether locale data exists or not.
Comment 18 Heiko Tietze 2022-02-01 08:15:38 UTC
*** Bug 134857 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 19 Telesto 2024-01-04 15:45:38 UTC
*** Bug 159020 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 20 Eyal Rozenberg 2024-01-05 13:14:32 UTC
(In reply to Eike Rathke from comment #17)
> Just a heads-up etc.

Perhaps this note should be added to the relevant help page?

Comment 21 Eyal Rozenberg 2024-01-05 13:21:20 UTC Comment hidden (obsolete)
Comment 22 Eyal Rozenberg 2024-01-05 13:33:42 UTC Comment hidden (obsolete)
Comment 23 Stéphane Guillou (stragu) 2024-05-29 01:34:11 UTC
*** Bug 161033 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***