Bug 154709 - After saving as CSV (proceeding past the warning), there is no warning on close that unpreservable formatting or additional worskheets will be lost.
Summary: After saving as CSV (proceeding past the warning), there is no warning on clo...
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Calc (show other bugs)
(earliest affected) release
Hardware: x86-64 (AMD64) Windows (All)
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
Depends on:
Reported: 2023-04-08 05:36 UTC by Ramon Rakow
Modified: 2023-07-03 16:56 UTC (History)
1 user (show)

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Description Ramon Rakow 2023-04-08 05:36:25 UTC
If I open a CSV file, the first time I try to save it I will get a warning that some formatting might not be preserved when saving as a CSV instead of ODS. There is a checkbox on this warning that says "Ask when not saving in ODF or default format", but even after keeping this checkbox checked, I do not receive a warning on subsequent saves. It is possible to close the file and permanently lose formatting without any further warnings. 

It is my opinion that at least one of two things should happen: 
1. it should warn again on closing, to reduce the likelihood that work is lost
2. it should reload the file from disk after saving, and so not display the formatting which is already lost from the file saved on disk (which will then be permanently lost on closing anyway) -- you should immediately lose what you are going to lose, and have the ability to do ctrl-z to revert and save in a different format.

The current flow has led to a lot of lost work, which is witnessed by many confused and dismayed forum threads:

Steps to Reproduce:
1.open a CSV file
2.make some change
3.save (ctrl+s)
4.in warning dialogue leave "Ask when not saving in ODF or default format" checked
5. make some other change, e.g. highlight a row or add a worksheet
6. a) save (ctrl+s) again, then close -- no warning that you are about to lose work
   b) OR just close, now you get a warning that "Your changes will be lost if you don't save them." But actually they will be lost anyway, because it is still saving to csv

Actual Results:
expect to receive a warning before an action that can permanently lose my work
-- expect when reopening a file, that it will look the same as it did immediately after I saved it

Expected Results:
receive no warning

Reproducible: Always

User Profile Reset: Yes

Additional Info:
This is a confusing UI issue especially for inexperienced computer users, has a high impact in terms of lost work, and can turn people off of libreoffice.
Comment 1 Mike Kaganski 2023-04-08 06:15:11 UTC
The warning is only given the first time, and does not nag people. When a warning is shown, it is expected that people read and comprehend; for vast majority, accepting the warning means "I acknowledged it, and am OK with it". Showing it the next time for the same file would be infinitely intrusive. The checkbox is to keep asking the next time the other file is chosen how to save, or another session starts.

There is some value to make the warning more specific, listing all the elements known to not save to the chosen format. But that is different thing.
Comment 2 Mike Kaganski 2023-04-08 06:19:31 UTC
WRT reloading after save: not only this would be too long (sometimes both saving and loading takes minutes; doubling the time for save is unacceptable). But it's worse than that: people have reasons to save to different formats, and keep working with unchanged data. Breaking the workflow, to "teach" newbies like those who are confused the first time they learn that the warning was serious, it bad.
Comment 3 Ramon Rakow 2023-04-13 05:04:13 UTC
So you think that it's acceptable that someone can:

1. Open a CSV
2. Make a change e.g. highlighting
3. Save -- read the warning that says that some formatting may be lost by continuing to save in csv, save anyway
4. Notice that none of their highlighting appears to have been lost by saving
5. Proceed to work on the file for hours
6. Save again and close
7. Come back the next day, all of that work is gone

Or in a different scenario:
1. Open a CSV
2. Make some changes that are preserved by the CSV format
3. Save -- proceeding past the warning
4. Pass the station to wife / coworker / boss, who makes a bunch of changes that are not preserved by the CSV format, who then saves and closes the file, losing all their work and blaming you and libreoffice

If you want to avoid too many nag popups, there is an easy solution here. When the editor window, which is currently displaying data that is not saved to the file (be it highlighting, conditional formatting, whatever) is closed-- that is when a warning is most pertinent. Because that is the point where work is irretrievably lost. It is not a nag to receive one extra warning when you attempt to close the window. If there is unsaved work, you already receive a warning-- if you have last saved to a file format that doesn't preserve the features libreoffice is displaying, that is another kind of unsaved work!
Comment 4 felipelorenzzon 2023-07-03 12:49:00 UTC
I'm commenting just to express I support your ideas, after losing data myself. I wish this platform had a form of "like" button similarly to GitHub issues to express I'm also affected.
Comment 5 Mike Kaganski 2023-07-03 16:56:24 UTC
1. Open MS Word.
2. Create a macro in it.
3. Save as DOCX (not as DOCM).
=> see a warning that macros will be lost.
4. Confirm.
5. See that macro is still there.
6. Close and reopen.
=> Macro is lost.

1. Open Paint.Net
2. Create some colorful painting with effects
3. Save as GIF
=> see a warning that quality will be lost
4. Confirm.
5. See that quality is not worsened.
6. Close and reopen.
=> It is 256-color only.


It is an industry-standard behavior. If someone doesn't recognize it, they should sue their school's computer classes, that they don't teach essential skills. But warning again, or reloading, that are requested here, are *not* reasonable changes.