Created attachment 43448 [details]
Printscreen of the two softwares
The revision tool in Word XP places all comments, deletions, and formatting
changes in text balloons on the margin of the document (with the Print View enabled). Each text balloon is colored differently for each author and type of change. Since deletions are removed from the body of the document, the impact of changes on pagination and document length can easily be determined, and text reading is easier.
Improved track changes in LO is crucial for most users in professional environments. Particularly in academic teams, where reviewing articles is a standard procedure, people reject using OOo/LO due to this lacking feature. For more information on this, please see:
Entry in the Documentfoundation WIKI:
Quite comprehensive overview of this problem and comparisons to other office suites:
Related bug in OpenOffice issue tracker:
RC2 is bit by bit identical with release version, so separate items in the version picker are useless. Changes have been discussed with Michael Meeks.
There have been some ideation iterations within the OOo Notes2 implementation, see "Change Tracking Integration" at:
The mockup I've created that time:
[This is an automated message.]
This bug was filed before the changes to Bugzilla on 2011-10-16. Thus it
started right out as NEW without ever being explicitly confirmed. The bug is
changed to state NEEDINFO for this reason. To move this bug from NEEDINFO back
to NEW please check if the bug still persists with the 3.5.0 beta1 or beta2 prereleases.
Details on how to test the 3.5.0 beta1 can be found at:
more detail on this bulk operation: http://nabble.documentfoundation.org/RFC-Operation-Spamzilla-tp3607474p3607474.html
This issue remains unresolved in LibreOffice 3.5.0 (tested and confirmed with beta2 prerelease).
The key issue is that the "Compare Document" functionality of LibreOffice Writer is woefully inadequate. For example, type (without quotes):
"LibreOffice Writer. Compare Document."
Save as version1.odt. Then add one space at the start and one paragraph marker after the first period, as follows (again without the quotes):
" LibreOffice Writer.
Save as version2.odt. Now use "Compare Document" to identify the changes in version2.odt relative to version1.odt: We simply get the full text twice, and EVERYTHING is marked as changed, either as inserted or as deleted.
Now try editing and version comparison not of a page with just four words, but of a 40-page report or of a 250-page book: This is simply a catastrophe with whole coloured swathes of repeated identical or near-identical text, but all identified and marked by LibreOffice as completely different.
CONCLUSION: "Compare Document" in LibreOffice Writer at the moment is completely clueless and completely useless.
Yet fine-grained comparison of versions of a document is an absolutely essential function, eg in editing, in collaborative projects, and similar.
The way is which the results of good fine-grained version comparison are presented (eg, in the main text, in a margin, in balloons, or otherwise) is less relevant than the very ability itself to compare and identify precisely and exclusively all true changes.
And this also applies to footnotes, endnotes, fields, headers, footers, frames, etc, which are currently completely ignored by LibreOffice Writer "Document Compare".
tested and confirmed with beta2 prerelease
Yes changes are a real need, and LO 3.5.5 is not good enough.
For me, this simple step would already be a good improvement:
- to be able to display Writer document with changes only with Margin Marks
- add an Attribute "Hidden" in Deletions Attributes (th
For your information: "Use margins to track changes" is the *Number 2* of the TopTen for Enhancement Requests on the Documentfoudation Wiki.
Please see the votes on: http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Vote_for_Enhancement#Top_Ten_of_Requests
Triggered by question http://ask.libreoffice.org/en/question/8809/track-changes/?answer=8812#post-id-8812 in AskLibO I looked into bugzilla and found there is an enhancement request for printing of comments at the page margin. (https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=36815) . Maybe these to request can be dealt together.
The poor handling of editing comments is basically the only feature keeping me from deploying LO at my work (researchers), please pretty please add this.
The original OpenOffice.org bug report was submitted twelve (!) years ago: https://issues.apache.org/ooo/show_bug.cgi?id=9661
Are there patent issues preventing this from being addressed or is no developer considering this an issue needed to be dealt with?
In my professional context, this is /the/ major showstopper preventing many of my colleagues from abandoning MS Office. Everyone is used to changes being visualised in bubbles on the margins. (And everyone is use to being able to print draft documents out this way for on-paper review, but that's another issue).
I would really like to warmly recommend to make this a priority!!!
Extremely important for me. Probably the most important reason to shift to LibreOffice since I need to collaborate with other people and use track change all the time. Showing changes in balloons is the prefer way for edition.
*** Bug 47298 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Update on vote for enhancements: "Use margins to track changes" is with 11 votes *Number 1* of the TopTen for Enhancement Requests on the Documentfoudation Wiki.
Please see the votes on: http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Vote_for_Enhancement#Top_Ten_of_Requests
If this enhancement is important for you, consider adding your vote to the wiki page.
P.S. Of course, if there are many votes, there is no guarantee that developers start working on this enhancement, but still it shows the relevance of this enhancement.
Not so good idea for me. In the attached printscreen it is very difficult to see the deleted text. You can't read the text as it was before deletion, that is very inconvenient when you have to decide to accept or refuse the change.
I would prefer an easy way to switch on/off the viewing of changes.
Best regards. JBF
Just to follow on from the other comments, the presentation of deleted text with tracked changes as underline or strikethrough, etc. in the main body of the text makes it unusable for me. Others may be more tolerant, but with many changes it is not possible for me to both monitor my changes and read the intended meaning of the modified sentence if the deleted text remains. The ability to move the tracking of deletions to the margin or possibly just a place marker on the outside of the main lines of text would make this program an easy choice over MS Office. Of course, one could track changes and not show them in the present version of Writer, but this does not allow the editor to do his or her work without flipping back and forth between different versions. Balloons work well, but maybe just a mark of where the text was deleted and the ability to maybe mouseover the area and get a bubble of the deletion would be a good halfway point. Happy to help if there is some way to contribute.
What about if we had a button in the track changes dialog allowing to apply/removing a set of changes *temporarily*. Such a function could allow to see a change in situation and see what the text is without the change.
Best regards. JBF
I just checked the list of new features for LO 5.0 beta, and unfortunately, no mention of an improved way to show track changes.
I am doing a lot of collaborative writing in an academic environment, and I agree with many others here that the current way of displaying the changes is not really usable. Keeping all the deleted text crossed-out will also give a completely wrong impression of the actual length of the text after the edits. In many cases, one targets a particular word or page limit, where this is totally misleading.
What could be done in order to bring this to the attention of more developers? Is this really to difficult to implement? Apparently, there is already a mechanism to place comments as balloons on the margins. So shouldn't it also be possible to display deleted text like this, like MS Word does? Only the display colors, etc., of the actual balloon would have to be a bit different to distinguish it from a comment.
Does anyone have an idea whether this is being worked on? It's not in the just-released v5.3, and the developers are only starting to populate the 5.4 release notes.
I heard rumors that this will be included (or perhaps has already been implemented?) for the online version of Libreoffice (where, of course, it would make a lot of sense for optimized collaborative editing).
I agree, LO's implementation of (particularly in displaying) tracked changes is still decidedly inferior to MS Word 97/2003, which was my first exposure to such options.
In my case, I downloaded LO for some of the perks it offers over OO (including having a review toolbar shipped by default; I had to build one manually in OO).
One big thing that LO should have is the concept of 'original' vs. 'final' views of a document with tracked edits. Currently the only two views we have are "show markup" (original + markup) and "hide markup (final + no markup). This is insufficient; it should be expanded to match Word's level of functionality where original v. final and with/without markup are separate options. This gives us a combination of four view modes:
- "Original with markup" forces deletions to be displayed inline; insertions can be displayed inline or as margin balloons.
- "Final with markup" forces insertions to be displayed inline; deletions can be displayed inline or as margin balloons.
One big issue I have run into is that LO's handling of tracked linebreak edits is that when markup is shown, the document is displayed reflecting *ALL* linebreaks in the file, even ones that were inserted or deleted. This impacts how the display is paginated, not cool...
*** Bug 79420 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Being duped by bug 79420 it's better to have all discussion at this place.
In the Bug 79420 report, you mentioned that this is being implemented on (Comment #5). Do you have any additional insight in this regard? Any idea for what release of LO this is targeted?
(In reply to whynot from comment #25)
> In the Bug 79420 report, you mentioned that this is being implemented on
> (Comment #5).
As announced in the release notes , the sidebar deck "Manage Changes" was implemented with 5.3 as an experimental feature (don't remember why). If you are a brave user enable experimental features per Tools > Options > LibreOffice: Advanced.
Oh, my goodness! That is so exciting! Thank you so much for this information. I usually pay quite close attention to the LO release notes, but I must have missed this one because it was under "Experimental" (without a lot of explanations) and not under "Writer").
Definitely, the possibility to sort comments by date and other features will be extremely powerful! I am not even aware that this functionality exists in MS Word.
(And yes, I am usually a "brave user" of LO experimental features...)
That said, while this sidebar is wonderful to display and manage the changes, it does not address the main thread of this bug: to display the changes on the margins. Also, as far as I can see, the sidebar only shows "metadata" of the changes (date, author, kind of change). Correct?
(In reply to whynot from comment #27)
> ...it does not address the main thread of this bug: to display the
> changes on the margins. Also, as far as I can see, the sidebar only shows
> "metadata" of the changes (date, author, kind of change). Correct?
The sidebar has limited capabilities today, yes. We discussed the requirements at https://user-prompt.com/de/tracking-changes-with-libreoffice/ mainly with focus on bug 87695. But there is also an alternative solution to the margin issue included.
I personally gave up using LO for novels, short stories and RPG editing just because of that blatant lack of an essential feature.
So each time Ubuntu gives me a LO update (so far 1:5.2.5~rc1-0ubuntu1~xenial0), I check that, but there's no usable change-tracking, and I go back to Windows and Word, infuriated.
IMHO, this is a no-brainer : anyone professionally using a text editor needs to track changes, and displaying changes in the text itself makes the text unreadable, and therefore the whole change-tracking feature unusable.
(In reply to Heiko Tietze from comment #26)
> As announced in the release notes , the sidebar deck "Manage Changes" was
> implemented with 5.3 as an experimental feature (don't remember why). If you
> are a brave user enable experimental features per Tools > Options >
> LibreOffice: Advanced.
Unfortunately, this just moves the changes dialogue into a sidebar, but it does not add new functionality, or even implement what the reporter of this bug has asked for (and what MS Word has been having now for a decade)
(In reply to Johannes Rohr from comment #30)
> Unfortunately, this just moves the changes dialogue into a sidebar...
That's true. It's only a small step, nothing else.
Would propose to keep current version and possibly add a configuration option to switch onto MS Office version of track changes and support also importing while opening MSO document in LO with track changes made in MSO.
At least by my humble opinion I am satisfied with current track changes logic and design in LO and would like to use it also in future like now.
Certainly this is fundamental difference how the track changes is solved in MSO and LO - therefore it would be nice to have similar or same behaviour in LO like in MSO.
There could be different options how to enable such behaviour like in MSO. One option would be to add an effect that changes will not shown in text. Then there could be an option while accepting/denying changes, allow to show them. Another option would be to just switch completely to MSO way to track changes.
Currently there is a button to show/hide changes (on appropriate toolbar without turning on experimental features) - so if showing track changes disturbs anybody - these can be just switched off and you will always see the latest text with all changes as in MSO. At the same time there remains ability to accept/deny changes whenever there would be needed to decide it.
Basically as there is already a button to show/hide track changes, there would be nice to have a button "Show track changes on edge" (optionally allow also choose either right or left edge) or "Switch to MSO track changes mode". Then it would be easy to switch between two track changes mode. The only missing feature seems to be to show these different color bubbles with changes on edge. Hiding changes already exist which makes the result actually comparable with MSO. Instead of these colorful bubbles there is a track changes management dialog where all changes with names, date/time and comments are shown and can be actually managed in a very compact and fast way.
(In reply to Christoph from comment #3)
> There have been some ideation iterations within the OOo Notes2
> implementation, see "Change Tracking Integration" at:
> The mockup I've created that time:
This mockup looks actually very nice. I guess this could be an option to turn such feature on but leave also an option to use current version of track changes. I guess there could be different modes of track changes and then users can decide which one to use.
To conclude I would say as follows. I tested track changes also in MS Word 2016. There is default mode exactly as in LO Writer currently - nothing is displayed on right edge as there is simple mode by default. Only changed lines will be marked on left as in LO Writer. I used other language version than English and choice names here are not exactly as they might be in MS Word - it's my free translation.
If to turn on track changes "full mode" then by default only attribute changes will be shown as bubbles on right edge. If to turn on "show corrections in bubbles" then you will see all corrections on right edge bubbles. There is also a mode "show only corrections and comments in bubbles" which is also missing on LO.
In my humble opinion managing changes in compact track changes management window is very compact and comfortable way. But it would be nice to have also a MS Word way as MS Word already has a LO Writer way.
These three bubble displaying modes (only attributes, all corrections, only corrections and comments) are missing in LO and what people want. Implementing these three modes into LO would be the first challenge for developers.
In addition in MS Word 2016 there is possible to choose what type of corrections (bubbles) will be shown on edge (these three modes).
Also there is possible to choose persons, who's corrections will be shown. In LO there is filtering in track changes management window but it works only for filtering results in management window and not directly in text. This would be the second challenge for developers.
in MS Word 2016 there is also a mode "show corrections inline" - this is exactly the mode LO Writer is currently using.
In MS Word there is also an option to show only comments and attribute changes in bubbles on right. That is feature I could not find in LO Writer. The most important are comments and these can be managed currently in LO only in track changes management window. This is certainly very compact and quick way and I like it but it would be nice to have also that way as MS Word does. This could be the third challenge for developers.
So I mentioned three challenges for developers by my humble opinion in order to bring track changes onto level people probably want and why this bug report has been created already so long time ago.
As I cannot edit a comment I need to post a new one.
I wanted instead of "In addition in MS Word 2016 there is possible to choose what type of corrections (bubbles) will be shown on edge (these three modes)."
... to say:
In addition in MS Word 2016 there is possible to choose what type of corrections (bubbles) will be shown on edge:
* ink text
* added, deleted parts
in LO Writer such filtering can be done only inside track changes management window but not directly in text. Current way is great but in "display in text" would be a good addition to track changes management window for all of previously described features that are currently only available in that track changes management window.
(In reply to Edmund Laugasson from comment #34)
> This mockup looks actually very nice. I guess this could be an option to
> turn such feature on but leave also an option to use current version of
> track changes. I guess there could be different modes of track changes and
> then users can decide which one to use.
Indeed. Also because with a lot of changes, the margin could become over-populated.
@Edmund: thanks for the write-up of possible improvements. (comment #35 and comment #36). Those are good for one (more?) separate issues, I guess.
I really look forward to seeing improvements in Track Changes in Writer. This is an area, where LibreOffice does not shine compared to the competition. Due to these limitations, it is difficult to convince people who are used to collaborative editing to use Writer.
Do you know the "Track Changes" page in the documentfoundation wiki? There are links to related bugs and there is also the start of a competitive analysis:
Please feel free to add/update the competitive analysis there and also new ideas/mockups!
And please don't just copy MS Word's track changes feature. It is far from perfect either.
Improved track changes in LO is crucial for most users in professional environments.
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Just filed bug #118660, didn't have the right seach keywords, then I changed keywords and found this one, which is basically the same. This is my second time in the LO Bugzilla, 1st time was years ago for the same reason, and I still use only MS Word instead of LO Writer for writing novels and short stories.
I just want to understand why this feature, which has already been demanded many times along the years, hasn't been done yet, particularly as its lack is steadily reported, year after year, as a major roadblock for LOW adoption in place of MSW...
Upon reading some comments, it seems it's linked with a global refit of the Change Rendering System, whose full feature set is still undecided. As the major blocking issue for MS replacement with LO is dealing with deleted text, shouldn't it be possible to display only deleted texts in balloons, leaving further elaborations on the Change Rendering System for when the topic matures ?
Apart from that, is there a technical issue ? Some other undecided questions with conflicting opinions that block the decision process ? A patent somewhere making the balloons unusable ? I just can't figure what could be that blocking on such an important feature !
Thanks in advance if anyone has a clear vision of the situation about this issue ^-^
Still seems not to be there in 6.1.RC1
*** Bug 118660 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I also still can't believe we've had to wait forever.
However, there may be a silver lining. I have the online version of LibreOffice installed on a server of mine (LOOLWSD 3.3.1, LOKit Collabora Office 5.3-53, the CODE implementation). It turns out that it shows both insertions and deletions next to the document (together with information about the time, the user who did the edit, and buttons to accept/reject and even a comment function). In the document, however, it is still showing all the edits as well, notably the deletions in strikethrough font.
Now, this is not exactly what we are looking for, but at least it shows that it is possible to implement this functionality in a quite straightforward way. What it does is that it shows both insertions and deletions in the document AND on the side (essentially showing every edit in two different ways). I guess what most of us want would be to show the insertions in the document (in a different color) and the deletions on the side.
Unfortunately, LibreOffice online does not provide a lot of ways to change the settings; nothing is offered to change the display of changes. But the observation suggests that it should not be all that difficult to implement it. After all, LibreOffice usually only implements a subset of what full LO is capable of. Is there any way this could be brought to the attention of the developers, especially if this is perhaps not a huge deal to do?
Yes, the idea is basically to display the final text in readable form, show insertions by using another colour, and display deletions apart from the main text.
This evolution shows it can be done quite easily. Next logical step seems to add display options for controlling what is shown or not. It's the logical path : first show everything you can, then fine-tune the display.
So at last there is some hope !
(In reply to Benoît Robin from comment #40)
> Apart from that, is there a technical issue ? Some other undecided questions
> with conflicting opinions that block the decision process ? A patent
> somewhere making the balloons unusable ? I just can't figure what could be
> that blocking on such an important feature !
I see several reasons:
1/ it is a bad idea: balloons make the original text unreadable thus the comparison between old and new text is more difficult. That is my opinion and I guess I am not alone.
2/ nobody is motivated enough to implement this change.
3/ LibreOffice is not a clone of MS-Office and it is not motivating to ask for cloning existing software: we should search for something that would be better than current LO and better than MSO.
Best regards. JBF
Thanks JF for answering my questions.
As for (1), I can well understand people would sometimes want to read the original text, that's why the feature should include toggles for different display modes.
I can also understand (2) and I'm afraid I lack both skills and time to lend a hand.
(3) seems to me much more debatable. As a final user, I would say I won't care a damn if the chosen solution is already used elsewhere. I just want to read the final text unhindered while still having access to the changes. If that specific feature isn't available, I just won't be able to use LO for my writing usage, period, and I'll be forced to use MS, even while I'm a LO supporter at heart. If balloons do the job, so be it... If there was another solution available, so be it... But I can't understand stalling the issue just because no NEW solution has yet been found, while an evident one already exists, but is already used elsewhere.
Just to write something positive ^-^ if we absolutely want to be different from MS, we could offer display modes (original+changes) or (final+changes), with a one-click inline/balloons toggle for insertions, if I remember well there is no such thing in MS.
Oh, and btw, I frgot to send you my best regard, sorry JF !
And sorry for JF instead of JBF, malfunctioning neurons, sure...
One option would be to add an effect that changes will not shown in text . Then there could be an option while accepting/denying changes, allow to show them. Another option would be to just switch completely to MSO way to track changes.
I appreciate sharing that a balloon view is not your preference. However, many have a completely different preference. I suppose that further suggests that this should be a changeable setting.
I personally agree with many, many in this thread that the balloon visualization of changes is a "must-have" feature. I spend the majority of my day writing, and I professionally depend on it. For me this feature is so critical and important that I simply cannot use LibreOffice for collaborative writing with my entire team.
I use the mode in MS Word where it shows the final version of the document, but highlights the deleted text in balloons on the border. Personally, I think that having the cross-out text in the middle of the remaining text makes it visually very challenging, and in many cases unreadable. The other disadvantage of keeping the deleted text and showing it in "cross-out" letters is that it bloats the length of the document. What I find so beautiful about the "balloon mode" is that the document looks very similar to the final version, but the deleted stuff is still visible on the sidelines. For many things we write, the length of the document is very critical. If you keep the deleted text in there (cross-out), the document will appear to get longer and longer, the more changes there are (and it becomes less readable). This will mess up a lot of things in the document, for instance how text flows around figures, etc.
A few years ago, someone maintained a "wish list" web page with the Top 10 most desired features for LibreOffice/OpenOffice. This particular request was solid #1 pretty much the entire time. So there are A LOT of people who really, really want and need this feature. I think some of the comments on this thread also reflect this. Based on this background, commenting that this is simply a "bad idea" is not helpful. I understand that people have different preferences, and FOSS is all about choice. Telling users that there need and wish of having this feature is a bad idea is not really appreciative of their feedback.
(In reply to whynot from comment #50)
> I appreciate sharing that a balloon view is not your preference. However,
> many have a completely different preference. I suppose that further suggests
> that this should be a changeable setting.
> I personally agree with many, many in this thread that the balloon
> visualization of changes is a "must-have" feature. I spend the majority of
> my day writing, and I professionally depend on it. For me this feature is so
> critical and important that I simply cannot use LibreOffice for
> collaborative writing with my entire team.
> I use the mode in MS Word where it shows the final version of the document,
> but highlights the deleted text in balloons on the border. Personally, I
> think that having the cross-out text in the middle of the remaining text
> makes it visually very challenging, and in many cases unreadable. The other
> disadvantage of keeping the deleted text and showing it in "cross-out"
> letters is that it bloats the length of the document. What I find so
> beautiful about the "balloon mode" is that the document looks very similar
> to the final version, but the deleted stuff is still visible on the
> sidelines. For many things we write, the length of the document is very
> critical. If you keep the deleted text in there (cross-out), the document
> will appear to get longer and longer, the more changes there are (and it
> becomes less readable). This will mess up a lot of things in the document,
> for instance how text flows around figures, etc.
> A few years ago, someone maintained a "wish list" web page with the Top 10
> most desired features for LibreOffice/OpenOffice. This particular request
> was solid #1 pretty much the entire time. So there are A LOT of people who
> really, really want and need this feature. I think some of the comments on
> this thread also reflect this. Based on this background, commenting that
> this is simply a "bad idea" is not helpful. I understand that people have
> different preferences, and FOSS is all about choice. Telling users that
> there need and wish of having this feature is a bad idea is not really
> appreciative of their feedback.
I could not agree more with this comment.
It is probably the most mentioned missing feature when it comes to collaborative writing and the reason many groups use MS Word for anything that requires input from several users, be it a one-page letter or a long report.
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