Bug 118621 - Optionally disable floating header/footer menu
Summary: Optionally disable floating header/footer menu
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Writer (show other bugs)
(earliest affected)
Hardware: All All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Heiko Tietze
Whiteboard: target:6.2.0
Depends on:
Blocks: Writer-Header-Footer
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2018-07-08 13:45 UTC by Christoph Bartz
Modified: 2018-10-25 11:57 UTC (History)
7 users (show)

See Also:
Crash report or crash signature:

Tentative UI (96.48 KB, image/png)
2018-10-11 09:00 UTC, Heiko Tietze

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Description Christoph Bartz 2018-07-08 13:45:30 UTC
Note: This is not a bug, it is a request for an enhancement!

In Writer: When You click over/under the page text area, the Header/Footer Menu pops up, with a smooth fade in / fade out visual effect. 

That is certainly well-meant, but for a user with a little bit experience in office applications this function is rather useless and annoying than useful.

1. It is annoying, when you add a header/footer with just one unintentional click on the plus sign. 
2. It is annoying when you want to select table columns when they are at the top of the page. 
3. It is annoying when a image slide to the header/footer area and you just want to select it.

First: How often do you add a Header or a footer to a text document? At most just ONE time, if any! Is it really necessary that EVERY time you just work over text area this menu pops up??
Second: There are other good, easy and intuitive ways to add a header/footer:
   → Menu »Insert« → »Header and Footer« 
   → Navigation Bar → Page → checkbox for header and footer. 

So, my request is:
Please (PLEASE) add a configuration option to turn off that header/footer menu! Maybe You could add a option in Expert Configurations, I dont mind, but please make it possible to switch it off!

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Open Writer
2. Click over/under page text area 

Actual Results:
Header/Footer Menu occurs.

Expected Results:
(I want to turn it off.)

Reproducible: Always

User Profile Reset: No

Additional Info:
Version: (x64)
Build ID: 54c8cbb85f300ac59db32fe8a675ff7683cd5a16
CPU threads: 2; OS: Windows 10.0; UI render: default; 
Locale: de-DE (de_DE); Calc: group
Comment 1 V Stuart Foote 2018-07-08 15:16:45 UTC
Controlled from the document canvas at

with linkages back to UI and Insert menu controls, and modification of the Page Style dialog's Header and Footer tabs.

Don't see that it can be suppressed now.

But, if controls were to be suppressed on the document canvas (i.e. the click in area of header or footer), would there need to be more controls added to the Insert menu or the Page Style dialog?
Comment 2 Christoph Bartz 2018-07-08 18:34:46 UTC
Good Point. The Header/Footer menu provides settings, that you only can find in a well hidden sub menu in Page Style Modify menu. 
Looked at that way, some more controls need to be added in Insert Menu and/or Page style dialog.
Comment 3 Kenneth Hanson 2018-07-09 13:33:44 UTC
I've also been bitten by the pop-up a lot, especially when zooming out to see multiple pages at once. Also, I find that it lags and glitches a lot relative to other elements of the UI.

Without the popup, perhaps shortcuts to insert/modify the the header and footer could be added to the context menu when clicking in the top/bottom margins of the page, or in the header/footer area when enabled. IMO this would be just as convenient, without the current annoyances.
Comment 4 Heiko Tietze 2018-07-20 09:58:35 UTC
The floating menu has not only the advantage of presenting functions but also shows very clear that you aren't in the document canvas anymore. While competitors require the user to double-click somewhere, remember that this space might be very small depending on the page settings. It's just the way how LibreOffice deals with the this function and I don't see a use case to disable it -> WFM.

Btw, you can insert a header/footer via Insert > Header and Footer > ...
Comment 5 Christoph Bartz 2018-07-21 10:30:37 UTC
Yes, of course, there are some advantages, no doubt.
But there are also (a lot of) problems, that occur with the header/footer pop-up.

For a detailed description, see first entry of this bug and Comment #3. Here a short list of issues:
• Poor handling and bad interactions when Pictures or Tables are at the top of the page.
• Chance of unintentional insert of a header/footer. That really annoys.
• It lags and glitches a lot relative to other elements of the UI.
• Problems with zooming out to multipage-view.
• Headers and footers are added normally just one time, but the pop-up menu appears every time. Is this really necessary?

And, with due respect Herr Tietze, I don't agree with your explanations.
1. I don't see, how the menu shows ›very clear‹ that you aren't in the document canvas. Why? Because it's blue and slow? What kind of justification is that? In my opinion it only presenting function and nothing more. 
2. You said, competitors require the user to double-click somewhere, and this space might be very small, depending on page settings. First, where is the problem? A double-click is definitely not unintended – in contrast to a single-click! And second, relating to the page settings, where is the difference to LibreOffice?? The LibO-User also have to click on the header/footer space. And this space could also be very small. When margin is set to 0,01 cm you also have problems with the pop-up menu.
3. You don't see a use case to disable it. I can tell you:
  3.1. You just don't want to insert any header or footer.
  3.2. You are using other ways to insert a header, for example:
    3.2.1. Navigation bar → Page.
    3.2.2. Menu Insert → Header/Footer.
    3.2.3. Navigation bar → Styles → Page Styles.

So, finally...
1. I don't want you to abolish it. I just want a option to suppress it, that it don't always pop up when I single-click in margin space. It is really annoying. It lags. There are so many other good ways to insert a header/footer.
2. The menu Insert → Header/Footer is very sparse. An addition with controls, what the floating menu contains, would be useful (see Comment #1).
Comment 6 RGB 2018-07-21 11:44:18 UTC
I fully agree with Christoph Bartz. Close to hand menus are for frequently used actions, not for something you do, at best, a couple of times for each file or, even worst, a couple of times for each template.

But perhaps the worst part of this "feature" is that it goes in the same line of the "page panel" in the sidebar and other similar features: it hides from new users the fact that pages are managed through styles. I've been using, and explaining how to use, Writer for the last 20 years, and IMHO it's becoming more difficult, not easier, to explain to new users why page styles are their friend and not their foe.
Comment 7 Heiko Tietze 2018-07-26 09:57:35 UTC
Okay, too many options aren't a solution in general (if not "hidden" in the advanced registry) but in that case we could add "[x] Show floating header/footer menu" at Tools > Options > Writer > View > View (defaulting to on).

Let's see if a dev is interested in it. Without Stuart's comment I'd say it's an easy hack but apparently it isn't.
Comment 8 Christoph Bartz 2018-07-28 18:54:24 UTC
I would be very grateful for this!
A [x]-option in Tools > Options > Writer > View > View would be very nice.
A hidden option in Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Advanced > Expert Configuration also would suffice.
In any case – Thank You!
Comment 9 Mike Kaganski 2018-09-08 08:28:44 UTC
(In reply to Heiko Tietze from comment #7)
> Without Stuart's comment I'd say it's an easy hack but apparently it isn't.

It *is* an easy hack. Starting from the place mentioned by Stuart (putting a breakpoint there), one can easily see the call stack, and find a suitable place to put a check for a config setting.
Comment 10 Heiko Tietze 2018-09-18 07:09:14 UTC
(In reply to Mike Kaganski from comment #9)
> It *is* an easy hack. Starting from the place mentioned by Stuart (putting a
> breakpoint there), one can easily see the call stack, and find a suitable
> place to put a check for a config setting.

That's the simple part but there is no good place for on/off. At least I cannot see a simple solution.
Comment 11 Mike Kaganski 2018-09-18 07:31:49 UTC
(In reply to Heiko Tietze from comment #10)

Sigh, I'd prefer to not solve easy hacks for "newbies", because - well, easy hack is expected to allow a newcomer to do something not too dull, and at the same time not too difficult, but...

The top of call stack at the breakpoint:

> swlo.dll!SwHeaderFooterWin::SwHeaderFooterWin(SwEditWin * pEditWin, const SwFrame * pFrame, bool bHeader) Line 138
> 	at c:\lo\src\core\sw\source\uibase\docvw\headerfooterwin.cxx(138)
> swlo.dll!VclPtr<SwHeaderFooterWin>::Create<VclPtr<SwEditWin> &,SwPageFrame const * &,bool const &>(VclPtr<SwEditWin> & <arg_0>, const SwPageFrame * & <arg_1>, const bool & <arg_2>) Line 135
> 	at c:\lo\src\core\include\vcl\vclptr.hxx(135)
> swlo.dll!SwFrameControlsManager::SetHeaderFooterControl(const SwPageFrame * pPageFrame, FrameControlType eType, Point aOffset) Line 107
> 	at c:\lo\src\core\sw\source\uibase\docvw\framecontrolsmanager.cxx(107)
> swlo.dll!SwPageFrame::PaintDecorators() Line 3679
> 	at c:\lo\src\core\sw\source\core\layout\paintfrm.cxx(3679)
> swlo.dll!SwRootFrame::PaintSwFrame(OutputDevice & rRenderContext, const SwRect & rRect, const SwPrintData * const pPrintData) Line 3191
> 	at c:\lo\src\core\sw\source\core\layout\paintfrm.cxx(3191)
> ...

Of course, there's no reason to change something below SwRootFrame::PaintSwFrame, because this method is generic enough (it isn't specific to creation of the controls, but paints the whole frame, as its name suggests). None of its callers would have good knowledge whether (or how) to create those controls.

SwRootFrame::PaintSwFrame itself doesn't directly create those controls, but calls SwPageFrame::PaintDecorators, which does many other kinds of things - so no reason to place the check in SwRootFrame::PaintSwFrame, too: too far from the actual place of controls creation.

The latter (SwPageFrame::PaintDecorators) calls SwFrameControlsManager::SetHeaderFooterControl, which is specifically created to do what we want to manage. So - it's natural to think the two places for performing the check: either in places where SwFrameControlsManager::SetHeaderFooterControl is called (grepping for "SetHeaderFooterControl" gives only two such places, both in the same function) - so just calling it conditionally; or inside SwFrameControlsManager::SetHeaderFooterControl, doing the check and exiting early.

These two options are both acceptable, and a newbie could propose a change with any of them (and then we'd discuss pros and contras in the gerrit change)... just telling "I can't" and me writing all this means spoiling the whole easy hack, effectively because me doing all that the newcomer was expected to do.
Comment 12 Heiko Tietze 2018-10-11 09:00:13 UTC
Created attachment 145589 [details]
Tentative UI

Working on the topic but I'm not totally happy with the text. The new option is on a different level as "Display" so I added "User Interface", which feels not right. UI sounds more like menu, toolbar etc. And "Show header/footer menu" might also have room for a better wording. Any ideas?
Comment 13 Thomas Lendo 2018-10-11 18:35:59 UTC
(In reply to Heiko Tietze from comment #12)
UI seems not correct, you're right, Heiko. I would add it to 'Display'. It's like 'Tooltips on tracked changes' a helping tool to make something easier for the user. Wording can be 'Header/footer menu while hovering over border to page content' analog to 'Helplines while moving'. Or we can move it to 'Guides' ...
Comment 14 Commit Notification 2018-10-12 11:34:20 UTC
heiko tietze committed a patch related to this issue.
It has been pushed to "master":


tdf#118621 - Optionally disable floating header/footer menu

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 15 Heiko Tietze 2018-10-12 12:13:29 UTC
There is now a UNO command, customizable for being placed in the toolbar and available in the menu by default under Insert > Header & Footer > [x] Use header/footer menu.

Thanks for discussion and reviews.
Comment 16 Cor Nouws 2018-10-13 10:52:14 UTC
I love options :) - thanks Hieko!
Comment 17 Xisco Faulí 2018-10-22 17:12:29 UTC
Hi Heiko,
the release notes says it's enabled by default -> https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/ReleaseNotes/6.2#Writer

However, if I do, rm -rf instdir/user/ && instdir/program/soffice it's disabled by default

Build ID: 7da3947535d1b3aac23b3d0a72e94396960ee751
CPU threads: 4; OS: Linux 4.15; UI render: default; VCL: gtk3; 
Locale: ca-ES (ca_ES.UTF-8); Calc: threaded

Could you please double-check ?
Comment 18 Thomas Lendo 2018-10-23 14:31:29 UTC
Yes, it seems that disabled is the default setting now. Default should be an activated 'Use header/footer menu'.

To be pedantic, I don't like that this option is in the 'Insert' menu. It has nothing to do with 'Insert' and--if it really must be in a menu--it should be part of the 'View' menu. Why it's not in the Options dialog?

Version: (x64)
Build ID: ae9f37ba753519ae4a2ae6384d052d417359602f
CPU threads: 8; OS: Windows 10.0; UI render: GL; VCL: win; 
TinderBox: Win-x86_64@42, Branch:master, Time: 2018-10-23_02:03:22
Locale: de-AT (de_AT); Calc: CL