Bug 121967 - Can't select/pick multiple objects with CTRL key
Summary: Can't select/pick multiple objects with CTRL key
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: LibreOffice (show other bugs)
(earliest affected)
Inherited From OOo
Hardware: All All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
: 95537 121534 126871 128061 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Blocks: Shortcuts-Accelerators Selection
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2018-12-07 18:29 UTC by Pedro
Modified: 2024-05-22 01:18 UTC (History)
14 users (show)

See Also:
Crash report or crash signature:

Microsoft Office Powerpoint, press Ctrl select multiple objects (71.93 KB, image/png)
2018-12-07 18:29 UTC, Pedro

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Description Pedro 2018-12-07 18:29:07 UTC
Created attachment 147362 [details]
Microsoft Office Powerpoint, press Ctrl select multiple objects

Can't select multiple objects like shapes or images in Writer/Impress/Calc/Draw.

Step to reproduce:

1) insert an object (shape, image, table, etc),
2) Press CTRL and left mouse clic, the first object is selected,
3) keep CTRL key pressed and try to select another object,
4) The previously selected object does not remain selected.

One observation: it's possible to use Shift to perform this action. However, in every other software out there Ctrl is the default key for selecting multiple objects.
Furthermore, Ctrl does not have a function assigned to it in LO. Users are used to using Ctrl to select multiple objects in most other software programs in use today and also in the most used office suites of the competition.

Proposal: change the key binding to selecting multiple objects from Shift to Ctrl.
Comment 1 Durgapriyanka 2018-12-07 19:18:23 UTC
Thank you for reporting the bug. I can confirm that the bug is present in

Build ID: 86daf60bf00efa86ad547e59e09d6bb77c699acb
CPU threads: 2; OS: Windows 6.1; UI render: default; 
Locale: en-US (en_US); Calc: group threaded
Comment 2 V Stuart Foote 2018-12-08 00:15:05 UTC
It makes no sense to adopt <Ctrl> based selection--that is simply not the legacy we have inherited

Otherwise--how is this a "bug", it functions as implemented?  Confirmed NEW in error... to UX-Advise

The Draw objects manipulated on Impress or Draw slide/page are different than controls provided to manipulate Draw objects on Writer canvas or in Calc cells.

There is no magic wand to wave making <Ctrl> + selection function like it does in other applications--it all would have to be developed. IIRC it is down in the guts of VCL and the various edit shells. A whole lot of work to break legacy behavior that is not wrong.

I'm not convinced this merits the effort.
Comment 3 Pedro 2018-12-08 09:39:27 UTC
Using "legacy" as a reason to not adapt Ctrl selection is simply not valid sorry.
Otherwise we would not fix or adapt anything in LibreOffice, we would not have Sidebar or Tabbed UI or new icons. 
We would keep things as legacy. LO is a evolving software.

It's normal that users EXPECT Ctrl to be used for multiple icon selection when it's used by text editors, Office suites, web-browsers, e-mail clients, etc.
If LO does it different, then it's a bug not a feature. 

I write this with no intention to offend, nor did I have that intention when I opened my bug report. Considering the multiple issues with Ctrl selection in LO (check See Also bugs), this is clearly not a good legacy.

If this indeed requires a lot of effort for low visible reward then I agree with you that it won't merit the effort. That to me is a good valid reason because this bug in itself is not very serious indeed. 

But when you compound this bug, with the other two related bugs (non-contiguous cell selection in chart creation in Calc, selecting multiple lines/rows in tables in Writer and Impress) then this probably merits someone to look into all these related issues.

All the best.
Comment 4 Heiko Tietze 2018-12-10 15:45:18 UTC
You can use shift to select/unselect more objects in Draw/Impress. What users expect is Ctrl instead as known from list views where Ctrl works on single entries and Shift for the range. So I vote for changing this.

There should also be the alternative way of doing this by the Navigator (no multi selection at all). And the same is expected in Writer/Calc, see bug 121534 and bug 120721.
Comment 5 Pedro 2018-12-10 17:44:53 UTC
Thank you for the vote Heiko. Now it depends if it's picked up or not.

I also find the idea of selecting objects via the Navigator. This can be especially useful if one has multiple objects overlaping each other and a very high number of objects.
Comment 6 Heiko Tietze 2018-12-10 18:26:14 UTC
(In reply to Pedro from comment #5)
> I also find the idea of selecting objects via the Navigator.

More ideas to rework it are here https://design.blog.documentfoundation.org/2016/07/31/how-the-navigator-may-support-object-handling-in-libreoffice-draw/ (we have many tickets around the Navigator but that's off topic on this thread)
Comment 7 Heiko Tietze 2018-12-13 08:51:06 UTC
Armin, Regina: We talked about this issue in the design meeting with the idea to just exchange shift with ctrl. And while it is convincing to some degree there might also some hurdles. Like shift+dropclick to duplicate or ctrl+doubleclick to go through the z-order of stacked objects (doesn't work for me). Point is, if we change shift to ctrl it might open Pandora's box. What do you think?
Comment 8 V Stuart Foote 2019-03-13 18:02:57 UTC
*** Bug 121534 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 9 V Stuart Foote 2019-03-13 18:08:36 UTC
*** Bug 95537 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 10 Heiko Tietze 2019-04-08 10:06:36 UTC
(In reply to Heiko Tietze from comment #7)
> Armin, Regina:...

Kindly reminder
Comment 11 Regina Henschel 2019-04-08 11:17:09 UTC
I vote for keeping shift+click to expand selection. Inkscape, CorelDraw and Scribus use shift+click too and do not use ctrl+click. PowerPoint allows shift+click too in addition to ctrl+click.
Comment 12 Heiko Tietze 2019-04-08 11:28:01 UTC
So it's a WFM based on Stuart's and Regina's comments. We use Shift as other applications do and want to keep this.
Comment 13 Pedro 2019-04-08 12:33:59 UTC
Powerpoint allows Shift-click but uses Ctrl-click by default!!!
Inkscape, CorelDraw and Scribus are NOT Office suites. They're not even the most used software in their respective categories.

I can point out that WPS Office, Softmaker Office, Only Office, Microsoft Office, Google Docs all use Ctrl click to select images.
So now lets think of a new user of Libre Office that is trying to select multiple objects like he does on any other office suite available. However, this simple process of ctrl-click does not work.

Explain to me the reasoning of "inkscape uses shift-click" applies to a novice user please.
Comment 14 Pedro 2019-04-08 12:35:36 UTC
Also, you can see that there's multiple bug reports of users COMPLAINING about this. Clearly, there's desire for change.
Last I saw LibreOffice targets office suite users and not Inkscape or Scribus users.
Comment 15 Heiko Tietze 2019-04-08 13:09:38 UTC
Point is, you have to learn how the software works. And if we had Shift in the past and would switch now to Ctrl I can hear the users complaining. Having an option would be great but I guess that's too much effort for a little benefit.
Comment 16 andreas_k 2019-04-08 13:17:48 UTC
as some apps did it that way and some other another way. I would recommend to make an overview which apps did support Shift-click and which apps support Ctrl-click. With an good overview it's easier to find a final solution. 

And yes keyboard shourtcut changes are not good for long term users but non standard shortcuts are not good for new users. Have also an look to LOOL.
Comment 17 Luke 2019-04-08 15:37:39 UTC
This is not a WORKSFORME. The CTRL key does not work by default nor is there an option to make it work. The best solution here would be to change the default behavior for new installs to CTRL and offer a backwards compatibility option for existing users. 

The number of CC's and dupes are more than enough to demonstrate that there is sufficient interest for this to be a valid feature request.
Comment 18 V Stuart Foote 2019-04-08 17:48:58 UTC
OP wants us to follow Microsoft convention, our implementation was not theirs and our <Shift>+Click multi-selection is functional.

There is no imperative to adopt Microsoft's solutions, especially if they can not be demonstrated to be more effective. This isn't, and frankly our user community comes more from the non-Microsoft centric Drawing application world where Illustrator, PhotoShop, Corel Draw/Paint, Inkscape, GIMP all use a <Shift>+click multi selection.

While adding a <Ctrl> based multi-select might be a nice to implement user customization--it in no way represents what should be a default.  As noted, implementation of an option would require substantial rework of the control--not worth it.

Oh, and by the way the Microsoft multi-selection implementation on macOS uses <Shift>--not <Command>, (nor <Ctrl>).

IMHO => WF is the correct resolution.
Comment 19 Pedro 2019-04-08 21:52:50 UTC
"OP" (me) does not want to enforce "Microsoft" convention.
"OP" wants to adopt the universal convention used by every other Office suite and most non-niche software (and even file explorers).
Comment 20 Pedro 2019-04-08 21:55:12 UTC
So I assume, that if you are confortable to offer users choice, as apparently you are complimenting Microsoft for doing then change to Ctrl-click for Windows users.
Let non-Microsoft users to keep basking in the glory of Shift-clicking in other OSes but allow Windows users to use what they're best acquainted with by default then.
Comment 21 andreas_k 2019-04-08 21:59:03 UTC
I would recommend to

1. cool down
2. keep this bug open and test the next week if it will be an benefit to change the shortcut
3. keep in mind that shortcut changes will always be a difficult task cause we have millions of users they use or software.
Comment 22 Pedro 2019-04-09 14:21:21 UTC
Okay, I am sorry if I came of as aggressive.
But I find it very distasteful that Stuart insinuates that I want to use "Microsoft" convention. How is that constructive?
It's not a Microsoft convention. It's a general convention.
Go select multiple files in file managers and you use Ctrl while holding Shift gives you a different action in those cases.

Use any other Office suite besides Libre Office and Ctrl is used to select multiple objects. However, having to choose between Ctrl and Shift in most of these Office suites is not an issue because you can use Ctrl or Shift interchangeably. Yes, in Powerpoint you can use Shift to select multiple objects OR Ctrl by default. It provides flexibility to the user to do as he wants to.

I already numbered the Office suites that I tested that use Ctrl to select/pick multiple objects/images. 

1 - Open Office suite,
2 - Insert three shapes in corresponding presentation software,
3 - Hold Ctrl to select multiple objects,
4 - Deselect all shapes,
5 - Hold Shift to select multiple objects.

Expected result:
I can select multiple objects with Ctrl.
I can select multiple objects with Shift.


Can select multiple objects with Ctrl AND Shift:
1 - Microsoft Office
2 - Google Docs
3 - Only Office (another open-source Office suite FYI)
4 - WPS Office

Can select multiple objects only with Shift:
1 - LibreOffice.

These same Office suites simultaneously allow users to use Shift and Ctrl. Both shortcuts are activated by default.
So instead of LibreOffice having Shift OR Ctrl as ONE shortcut, it should conform to what every other Office suite does: provide both Shift or Ctrl as default options to select multiple objects.

So while advanced users (which I consider myself to be one and I always thought that LibreOffice was broken in this regard) might be used to Shift, novice users might be used to Ctrl. In ANY OTHER Office suite, a novice user will use Ctrl. In libreOffice he can't. A novice user will assume LibreOffice is broken and will use another Office suite.
Comment 23 andreas_k 2019-04-09 14:23:56 UTC
To be clear when I used first time draw, I also didn't understood why ctrl didn't work. And everywhere else I ordinary don't select more elements that often.
Comment 24 Pedro 2019-04-09 14:42:23 UTC
Well, here's what I already did:

- I already provided multiple tests.

- Tested 4 different Office suites.

- Demonstrated that all of them not only allow use Ctrl to select multiple objects but also allow use of Shift for legacy users.

- Demonstrated that LibreOffice is the only office suite that does not allow the use of Ctrl to select multiple objects (

- There are multiple users filing bug reports requesting this as Stuart as shown with the duplicates.

- I can't define Ctrl as a keyboard shortcut to do this in Tools -> Customise -> Keyboard.

- Ctrl is NOT used as a shortcut for nothing else.

Proposal: add Ctrl together with Shift as a way to select multiple objects. 

- This way we respect the proud legacy of LibreOffice. 
- Don't mess with established user workflows.
- Facilitate the use of LibreOffice for users used to using Ctrl to select multiple objects.

- We copy Microsoft (the horror). (It's a joke Stuart, please don't kill me).
Comment 25 Luke 2019-04-09 15:39:50 UTC
I tested a 5th Office suite,  WordPerfect Office X9. Here again the CTRL key selects multiple shapes and images. 

New users coming from any other office suite are going to expect the CTRL key to select multiple shapes. Pedro proposal of assigning CTRL together with Shift for multiple selection would be the best compromise for new and existing users.
Comment 26 V Stuart Foote 2019-04-09 18:12:19 UTC
A <Ctrl>+click multi-select is not universal, look at multi-select for any graphics/CAD based project, and the text/graphics widgets of any X11 based GUI. Word Perfect and WordPerfect Office actually followed that legacy (dropped with Linux support). As does LibreOffice's pedigree. So assertion otherwise is not valid.

And, this remains a training and RTM issue for users coming from other Windows based suites. The actual volume of users claiming UX impact is negligible.

IMHO => WF *is* the appropriate UX recommendation--nice to do but no imperative. 

But any dev so inclined to take on enhancing the modifier handling of providing alternate in the selection code (per module) is welcome. 

Just no blanket change from <Shift>+ multi-selection to <Ctrl>+ selections.
Comment 27 Pedro 2019-04-10 14:38:50 UTC
Considering that all other Office suites have it, it is universal in office suites.
If you want to discuss about something being universal then shift click isn't either for this exact function. Just try to press Shift and click multiple non-contiguous files in a file explorer and you'll see the difference.

For any user that uses an Office suite that tries LibreOffice, the immediate reaction will be that this is something broken with LibreOffice (and they're not wrong to think that). And no, this is NOT something only for Windows users.
WPS Office, Only Office exist in Linux. Google Docs is a web based suite. WordPerfect precedes Windows.

However, I do agree that it's not the best to simply replace Shift-click by Ctrl-click. Other Office suites also offer the possibility of using Shift-click, thus:
Shift-click or Ctrl-click interchangeably is the way to go.
Comment 28 V Stuart Foote 2019-08-13 12:52:26 UTC
*** Bug 126871 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 29 V Stuart Foote 2019-10-10 14:42:51 UTC
*** Bug 128061 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 30 johnks 2020-07-05 18:06:10 UTC
i want to add my 2 cents here. 
I consider myself 'fairly' proficient in office suites and been using LO for so many years, probably since '08 so yeah anyways, today i had to make a quick presentation and suddenly i was unable to select multiple objects.

i tried the mouse, tried to ctrl-click but nothing worked. was on and immediately updated to but same thing. 

came here to add a bug report and i see this thread and found out, to my surprise that LO allows that functionality but over "shift-click'.

I would say, ever since i have been working with GUI, be it ms office or browsers or any other software, ctrl-click is the "status quo". it has nothing to do with microsoft. its just what people are used to.

my question. as a new LO user coming from say ms office, how do i know shift-click selects multiple objects as opposed to what my muscle memory does because as a more than casual user, my muscle memory failed and that is not productive

I see firefox allows both ctrl-click, shift-click  but thats another story.
Comment 31 DarkTrick 2020-07-28 06:55:22 UTC
I'd also support CTRL + click for multiselect. 
(does not mean, I would remove shift. 
 Does not mean, I would not remove shift)

> A <Ctrl>+click multi-select is not universal, look at multi-select for any graphics/CAD based project, and the text/graphics widgets of any X11 based GUI. 

I would argue, that graphics (I guess your referring to something like GIMP?) and CAD are no major software. So they don't add up to a "general external consistency" - or at least not enough.

I'd also like to emphasize, that also LO Writer and LO calc follow the "Ctrl+click => multiselect" feature for Text and cells. I would therefore infer, that LO is current not consistent to itself.
Comment 32 DarkTrick 2020-07-28 07:03:22 UTC
From a Control-perspective:

Can someone list the concrete problems, that would arise if CTRL could ALSO be used for multiselection?
Maybe @Heiko?
Comment 33 Heiko Tietze 2020-07-28 07:07:51 UTC
(In reply to DarkTrick from comment #32)
> Maybe @Heiko?

Ctrl+click (and move) copies the object. Draw has a large number of those hidden gems. 

Comment 34 Pedro 2020-08-05 15:10:17 UTC Comment hidden (obsolete)
Comment 35 DarkTrick 2020-08-05 22:28:29 UTC Comment hidden (obsolete)
Comment 36 DarkTrick 2020-08-06 05:33:37 UTC
Sidenote: I just figured, not having this feature also breaks consistency within impress: you multiselect slides with Ctrl+click.
Comment 37 DarkTrick 2020-08-17 11:13:37 UTC
Could someone give me a pointer on where the settings for this shortcut change are? 
I spend about 7 hours going through every mousebuttondown event and adding a printf, yet nothing fires.

What I found so far: 
I found svx/source/svdraw/svdview.cxx pretty soon and it looked promising. It even offers a promising `MODKEY_MultiMark`. However, Changing it to `bCtrl` didn't do anything. Also - interestingly - the bMouseDown and bMouseLeft within `::PickAnything` seem to be activate for every mousemove. 

So.. I would appreciate any input on this one!
Comment 38 Heiko Tietze 2020-08-31 09:34:21 UTC
(In reply to DarkTrick from comment #37)
> So.. I would appreciate any input on this one!

Maybe start in sw/source/uibase/docvw/edtwin.cxx
Comment 39 Pedro 2022-03-12 14:51:00 UTC Comment hidden (obsolete)
Comment 40 DarkTrick 2022-03-14 00:18:39 UTC Comment hidden (obsolete)
Comment 41 Pedro 2022-03-14 09:22:13 UTC
(In reply to DarkTrick from comment #40)
> I spare the details here (feel free to talk to me on IRC).
> It's still on my list, but given the delay already I don't see me pushing
> this soon.

Ok, I'll ask for your assistance in this. If you help me, I can try and tackle this and submit a fix.
Comment 42 Pedro 2022-12-06 16:40:55 UTC
Can confirm this still happens in 7.5:
Version: (X86_64) / LibreOffice Community
Build ID: c50cf1883af26daebdfc9d796ced3c20c222f43b
CPU threads: 8; OS: Windows 10.0 Build 19044; UI render: Skia/Raster; VCL: win
Locale: pt-PT (pt_PT); UI: en-US
Calc: threaded
Comment 43 m_a_riosv 2022-12-25 15:07:06 UTC
*** Bug 152672 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 44 murphyde835 2023-08-22 10:48:32 UTC Comment hidden (spam)
Comment 45 Stéphane Guillou (stragu) 2024-05-22 01:10:50 UTC
Inherited from OOo.
Not to be confused with bug 34438, which is the inability to shift-select multiple images specific to Writer.