Bug 117348 - Contrast and size of Impress grid affects visibility and usefulness
Summary: Contrast and size of Impress grid affects visibility and usefulness
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Impress (show other bugs)
(earliest affected)
Inherited From OOo
Hardware: All All
: medium normal
Assignee: Muhammet Kara
Whiteboard: target:6.2.0
Keywords: easyHack, needsDevEval, needsUXEval
: 100780 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Blocks: Grid-Helplines
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2018-04-30 13:09 UTC by Pedro
Modified: 2018-10-29 09:16 UTC (History)
13 users (show)

See Also:
Crash report or crash signature:
Regression By:

Impress Grid has very poor contrast, the dots should all be the same size (106.85 KB, image/jpeg)
2018-04-30 13:09 UTC, Pedro
Powerpoint grid has better grid. This is a lot easier on the eyes. (125.55 KB, image/jpeg)
2018-04-30 13:10 UTC, Pedro
Impress Zoom 300%. (76.96 KB, image/jpeg)
2018-04-30 13:11 UTC, Pedro
Powerpoint Zoom 300% (110.06 KB, image/jpeg)
2018-04-30 13:12 UTC, Pedro
Softmaker Presentations Grid (125.89 KB, image/jpeg)
2018-04-30 14:21 UTC, Pedro
Softmaker Presentations grid zoom level 300% (133.77 KB, image/jpeg)
2018-04-30 14:22 UTC, Pedro
WPS Presentation Grid (145.98 KB, image/jpeg)
2018-04-30 14:26 UTC, Pedro
WPS Presentation grid 300% (80.02 KB, image/jpeg)
2018-04-30 14:27 UTC, Pedro
Impress zoom 280% in Full HD display (112.05 KB, image/jpeg)
2018-05-01 12:03 UTC, Pedro
Dark gray 2 Grid (127.81 KB, image/jpeg)
2018-05-02 08:57 UTC, Pedro
Dark gray 2 zoom 280% (86.07 KB, image/jpeg)
2018-05-02 09:01 UTC, Pedro
Proposal: change the default color of grid nd text box to Dark Gray 3 (390.31 KB, image/png)
2018-05-03 12:34 UTC, Pedro
Example: Sketch's, a Mac drawing app, grid lines (719.23 KB, image/png)
2018-05-31 10:07 UTC, Maarten Brouwers

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Description Pedro 2018-04-30 13:09:26 UTC
Created attachment 141776 [details]
Impress Grid has very poor contrast, the dots should all be the same size

I would like to ask if it's possible to tweak Impress's grid contrast?
Maybe, change it to black dots of uniform size. 

The gray that is used in the dots of the grid has very poor contrast with the white background, since it is a very light gray. Since I rely a lot on the grid to accurately position text boxes and images side-by-side, this gives me a lot of eye strain.

Furthermore, when zooming in on the slides, the dots always retain the same size. This makes them even harder to see, after a certain level.

By comparison Powerpoint uses black dots of uniform size, and at 300% zoom level, the dots all assume a slightly bigger size to icnrease visibility.
Comment 1 Pedro 2018-04-30 13:10:04 UTC
Created attachment 141777 [details]
Powerpoint grid has better grid. This is a lot easier on the eyes.
Comment 2 Pedro 2018-04-30 13:11:17 UTC
Created attachment 141778 [details]
Impress Zoom 300%.

 The dots are barely visible due to the small size and poor contrast.
Comment 3 Pedro 2018-04-30 13:12:09 UTC
Created attachment 141779 [details]
Powerpoint Zoom 300%

The grid dots are more visible because they have more contrast and have a slightly bigger size than on smaller zoom levels.
Comment 4 Samuel Mehrbrodt (allotropia) 2018-04-30 14:01:40 UTC
Agree with this.
Especially when zooming in, the grid is almost invisible.

You need to try it live to see the problem. The screenshots do put some shadow around the dots which isn't there.
Comment 5 Pedro 2018-04-30 14:21:49 UTC
Created attachment 141786 [details]
Softmaker Presentations Grid

I was testing Softmaker Presentations and it actually does things quite nicely.
You define the spacing between the dots on the grid and that spacing (example: 0.7cm) and the grid dots will always maintain that distance independently of zoom level. 

Also notice the black dots (better contrast).
Comment 6 Pedro 2018-04-30 14:22:17 UTC
Created attachment 141787 [details]
Softmaker Presentations grid zoom level 300%
Comment 7 Pedro 2018-04-30 14:26:13 UTC
Created attachment 141788 [details]
WPS Presentation Grid
Comment 8 Pedro 2018-04-30 14:27:22 UTC
Created attachment 141789 [details]
WPS Presentation grid 300%

WPS Presentation also has better visibility with the black dots and having a slightly bigger size with high zoom levels.
Comment 9 Heiko Tietze 2018-05-01 11:37:57 UTC
Think you don't talk about "contrast" as in the ratio between black and white. It's more conspicuity, distraction or standing-out too much. And I disagree, our grid outperforms the competitors. To me it is less distracting and more aesthetically pleasing with the slightly bigger dots.
Comment 10 Pedro 2018-05-01 12:01:15 UTC
It is contrast because light gray dots against white background is harder to see than black dots against a white background. That's a contrast issue.

And could you elaborate the ways in which the grid of Impress outperforms other grids? Because that clearly does not happen if you have to zoom in on the slide and it becames almost invisible due to the micro-dots.
The purpose of the grid is not to be aesthetically pleasing and less distracting.
It's purpose is to actually be perceptible because it is a tool to help spatially position objects in the slide so its purpose is to actually be noticeable (or "distracting" as you mention). 

Also, I agree that the bigger dots on the corners have a good size.~All the dots should have that size.

As it is, the grid may be more aesthetically pleasing or less distracting but that's precisely what makes it less functional as a helpful tool. Which is its purpose.
Comment 11 Pedro 2018-05-01 12:03:52 UTC
Created attachment 141810 [details]
Impress zoom 280% in Full HD display

I mean, how is this superior to other grids? I can barely make out the dots because excluding the ones in the corners they become minuscule. And the gray color makes it even harder to spot them.
Comment 12 Heiko Tietze 2018-05-02 04:55:46 UTC
My comment was about the gray/white contrast and the dot size as shown in the screenshots. Talking about zoom is something else and covered in bug 89544.
Comment 13 Pedro 2018-05-02 08:39:44 UTC
Ok, but then could you care to explain why aesthetically pleasing is a reason to keep a ppor contrast choice of light gray on white background?
And the dot size also affects the use of the grid. It makes the smaller dots nearly useless as space indicators.
Comment 14 Pedro 2018-05-02 08:41:35 UTC
I would assume that functionality would trump form.
Comment 15 Regina Henschel 2018-05-02 08:42:48 UTC
The color is no problem, because you can customize it. That is in Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Application Colors, section Draw.

Sometimes I wish a larger dot size, but not always. It would be nice to have a tool to easily increase/decrease dot size.

Some people think, that the dot size is smaller in large zoom. That is not the case, which you can verify by comparing screenshots. But because there are less dots, the brain does not generate a line from them. If you are lost in large zoom it helps to adapt the point distances. But changing it for and back via Tools > Options is cumbersome.
Comment 16 Pedro 2018-05-02 08:48:06 UTC
Thank you for the input Regina. I noticed that the dot size is not smaller in higher zoom. It's exactly the same. However, the spacing between the dots increases a lot so the small size, plus the increased spacing makes the grid useless.

If we can change the color of the grid dots then I suggest changing it to black by default.
Comment 17 Pedro 2018-05-02 08:57:53 UTC
Created attachment 141828 [details]
Dark gray 2 Grid

Okay, so the Automatic color of grids in Libre Office is Light Gray 2.
When the dominant color scheme of Libre Office is mostly white or light grays this really makes it difficult to make the grid noticeable.

Therefore, I propose that the grid color should be changed to Dark Gray 2 as default. I attached a screenshot and everyone can compare the difference in visibility.
Comment 18 Pedro 2018-05-02 09:01:53 UTC
Created attachment 141829 [details]
Dark gray 2 zoom 280%

Even at 280%, the grid is much more noticeable with Dark Gray 2 compared with Light Gray 2. this makes it MUCH easier to see, thus actually useful as a grid.

I would also change all the dots to the size of the corner dots since those dots are still visible in zoom 280% and since those assume a small cross shape they are extra useful.
Comment 19 Pedro 2018-05-02 09:12:27 UTC
(In reply to Heiko Tietze from comment #12)
> My comment was about the gray/white contrast and the dot size as shown in
> the screenshots. Talking about zoom is something else and covered in bug
> 89544.

The color affects the visibility at high zoom levels as you can see in the screenshot I took at zoom level 280% with Dark gray 2 instead of the Automatic Light Gray 2.
It seems to me that the Light Gray 2 color is not the correct choice for the grid since it affects its usefulness.
Comment 20 Xisco Faulí 2018-05-02 16:36:29 UTC
Adapting version...
Comment 21 Pedro 2018-05-03 12:34:07 UTC
Created attachment 141866 [details]
Proposal: change the default color of grid nd text box to Dark Gray 3

Considering Regina's comment I've been playing around with the color of the grid and the text box (Object properties) in the Options dialog.

So my proposal is:
Change default automatic color of objects and Grids (not only in Impress but also Calc, Writer and Draw) to Dark Gray 3 instead of Dark gray 2.

- The current Light Gray 2 choice is a color with very poor contrast against the default white background of LO Impress, Writer and Calc,
- The functionality of the grid as a tool is severely impacted by the current color choice (even without considering potential improvements tha I'll refer to in other bugs),
- Every other Office suite offer their grid with dark colors since it provides better contrast. They do this because it improves usability. LO should do the same.
Comment 22 Heiko Tietze 2018-05-30 19:35:26 UTC
We discussed this topic in the design meeting. The recommendation is to adjust the distance and size of the dots depending on the zoom factor (like it's done for the dashed line around text boxes). The color can be adjusted individually (see comment 15) and the default (100%) looks good, so nothing needs to be changed here.

This issue is probably an easyhack.
Comment 23 Maarten Brouwers 2018-05-31 10:07:00 UTC
Created attachment 142435 [details]
Example: Sketch's, a Mac drawing app, grid lines

+1 for improving the contrast by default. While things can be changed, the defaults should be inclusive and be ok for all people, not just the majority. The Powerpoint example shows that a higher contrast can work perfectly fine.

As  to the proposal, I wouldn't use two shades of grey; Gestalt principles help already identify with the cross-sections. 

I believe LibreOffice is an exception to the rule, added a Mac Drawing app to the list of examples with darker grid lines (even continuous lines, which is to my recollection the standard in most more professional tools)
Comment 24 V Stuart Foote 2018-05-31 20:45:38 UTC
The Dark Gray 3 or Light Gray 2 of comment 21 are not appropriate as we'd have to use their RGB value rather than a defined color constant for the Autocolors[].

Rather, I've no objection to providing increased contrast by changing the DRAWGRID 
aAutocolors[] slot's color constant [1] from COL_LIGHTGRAY rgb(0xc0,0xc0,0xc0) to COL_GRAY7 rgb(0x66,0x66,0x66) [2].

Logic needed to scale the grid dots on zoom is a bit more involved, but the color change over is simple and would make folks happier as a default.

@Adolfo, Samuel? One of you care to push a patch for testing?

[1] https://opengrok.libreoffice.org/xref/core/svtools/source/config/colorcfg.cxx#444
[2] https://opengrok.libreoffice.org/xref/core/include/tools/color.hxx#250
Comment 25 Heiko Tietze 2018-06-05 09:09:25 UTC
*** Bug 100780 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 26 Pedro 2018-07-06 12:55:40 UTC
Still present in 6.1 rc1.
Comment 27 Pedro 2018-09-14 10:33:23 UTC
Since it was decided in a LO Design weekly meeting to go foward with this change, I would like to know if any dev could change this in 6.2 since it still wasn't done...
Comment 28 Muhammet Kara 2018-10-22 09:53:57 UTC
Patch waiting for UX review: https://gerrit.libreoffice.org/#/c/62025/

This bug report conflicts with https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=85450
Comment 29 V Stuart Foote 2018-10-22 12:49:27 UTC
(In reply to Muhammet Kara from comment #28)
> Patch waiting for UX review: https://gerrit.libreoffice.org/#/c/62025/

> This bug report conflicts with
> https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=85450

The darker grid as here will work as well as a blue as suggested, which has issues. Have not run down the color assigned to the Guide, but it may need to be split off from the DRAWGRID color anyway.
Comment 30 Commit Notification 2018-10-23 11:04:39 UTC
Muhammet Kara committed a patch related to this issue.
It has been pushed to "master":


tdf#117348: Change default grid color to a darker gray

It will be available in 6.2.0.

The patch should be included in the daily builds available at
http://dev-builds.libreoffice.org/daily/ in the next 24-48 hours. More
information about daily builds can be found at:

Affected users are encouraged to test the fix and report feedback.
Comment 31 BogdanB 2018-10-29 09:16:37 UTC
Solved. Verified on
Build ID: 3cccff0bbd17ecd4ce386c9eaea06bfa3d14115b
CPU threads: 4; OS: Linux 4.15; UI render: GL; VCL: gtk3; 
TinderBox: Linux-rpm_deb-x86_64@86-TDF, Branch:master, Time: 2018-10-27_16:28:45
Locale: en-US (ro_RO.UTF-8); Calc: threaded