Bug 147927 - Make focus rectangle more visible when editing formulas in Calc
Summary: Make focus rectangle more visible when editing formulas in Calc
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Calc (show other bugs)
(earliest affected) alpha0+
Hardware: All All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
Depends on:
Blocks: Calc-UX Selection
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2022-03-11 15:30 UTC by Rafael Lima
Modified: 2022-03-17 12:58 UTC (History)
3 users (show)

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

Images describing the proposal (117.52 KB, application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.graphics)
2022-03-11 15:30 UTC, Rafael Lima
Screenshots from Excel and Google Sheets (235.97 KB, application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.graphics)
2022-03-14 13:12 UTC, Rafael Lima
Sample ODS file (14.51 KB, application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.spreadsheet)
2022-03-14 13:15 UTC, Rafael Lima

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Description Rafael Lima 2022-03-11 15:30:35 UTC
Created attachment 178818 [details]
Images describing the proposal

Recent work on Bug 143733 has made the selection border thicker in LO Calc, which is great and improves visibility a lot.

I would like to suggest the same thickness be applied to the rectangle surrounding ranges used in formulas (see attached ODG image for more details).

Basically, when you double-click a formula that contains ranges, Calc highlight these ranges using a colored rectangle. However, they're too thin and hard to see.

Note that the borders I used in the screenshot are only 0.75 pt (which is the default border thickness). The problem gets worse when zooming in.

Screenshots taken with:

Version: / LibreOffice Community
Build ID: 2c13433ed38e08be60824f21a73ba29f78b9520f
CPU threads: 16; OS: Linux 5.13; UI render: default; VCL: kf5 (cairo+xcb)
Locale: pt-BR (pt_BR.UTF-8); UI: en-US
Calc: CL
Comment 1 Heiko Tietze 2022-03-14 12:20:34 UTC
Cell focus rectangle scales depending on zoom level. At 50% it will be as small as before. Some users might see fat borders as obtrusive.
Comment 2 Rafael Lima 2022-03-14 13:12:45 UTC
Created attachment 178877 [details]
Screenshots from Excel and Google Sheets

Hi Heiko, IMO the way LO currently draws a rectangle around the cell range could have more highlight, to provide the user clearer feedback on which ranges are part of the formula.

For example, see the attached ODG where I took screenshots of how Excel (online and desktop) as well as Google Sheets address this issue. They basically use background highlight colors to make it more visible to the user. We could adopt this strategy in LO as well.

Just as a side note, this issue became more apparent to me while using LO Calc during class, where I show spreadsheets using a projector and I have to zoom in so that students can see what I'm teaching. When I double-clicked a formula, I was not able to see the rectangles, because they were to thin. And on my laptop I could barely see them. If we had thicker borders or a background highlight color, this issue could be solved.
Comment 3 Rafael Lima 2022-03-14 13:15:39 UTC
Created attachment 178878 [details]
Sample ODS file

This is the ODS file I used in the screenshots.
Comment 4 Cor Nouws 2022-03-15 18:43:14 UTC
Hi Rafael,

from attachment 178878 [details] and attachment 178818 [details] I do not see a difference in lines of the selection.
Or is it that you mean the highlighting should be less opaque?
Comment 5 Rafael Lima 2022-03-15 20:38:02 UTC
(In reply to Cor Nouws from comment #4)
> from attachment 178878 [details] and attachment 178818 [details] I do not
> see a difference in lines of the selection.
> Or is it that you mean the highlighting should be less opaque?

Hi Cor, initially I opened this enhancement request to suggest that lines around ranges be thicker, so that they would be more visible to users. Notice in the screenshots that in Excel the lines around the ranges are thicker and more apparent.

However, I'm now starting to think that changing the line width might not be the best approach, but rather to use a semi-transparent highlight color to show users which ranges are part of the formula.

I changed the title of the bug report to emphasize that the objective is to make the ranges more visible while editing formulas, be it by using thicker lines and/or by applying highlight color.
Comment 6 Heiko Tietze 2022-03-17 07:06:55 UTC
We had this topic on the agenda of the design meeting. 

The consistent look and feel justifies the request. So let's do it.