Bug 37229 - Replace the "Insert special character" dialogue with the native one
Summary: Replace the "Insert special character" dialogue with the native one
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: ux-advise (show other bugs)
(earliest affected)
Hardware: Other All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
Depends on:
Reported: 2011-05-15 09:51 UTC by Philipp Weissenbacher
Modified: 2016-02-22 23:03 UTC (History)
3 users (show)

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


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Description Philipp Weissenbacher 2011-05-15 09:51:26 UTC
The dialogue for inserting special characters (Insert->Special Character...) is duplicating functionality already available in most platforms.

Thus, why not just call the platform's dialogue and have a nice looking and more standard dialogue? Like the same what we do for the open and save file dialogues.

A short list of insert special character dialogues (partly shamelessly copied from the Gucharmap homepage):
* Gnome - Gucharmap: http://live.gnome.org/Gucharmap
* Windows - http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/app_charmap.mspx?mfr=true and http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/app_start_character_editor.mspx?mfr=true
* KDE4 - http://docs.kde.org/stable/en/kdeutils/kcharselect/
* KDE3 - http://kcharmap.sourceforge.net/

This would have the following advantages:
* Better system integration (higher usability)
* Reduced code size (probably)
Comment 1 Don't use this account, use tml@iki.fi 2011-05-16 02:51:01 UTC
Does it even have to be *replaced*, could it not just be *removed*? The platform-specific way to inserting characters not on the keyboard shouldn't require the application to know about it, should it?

The Character Map in Windows is a bit less convenient than the corresponding thing in Mac OS X. In Windows, you have to separately Copy the character you want in Character Map, and then Paste (Control-V) it into the application. Works fine with LibreOffice.

Mac OS X's corresponding tool has an "Insert" button, that directly sends the selected character as input to the current application. Presumably that too works fine with LibreOffice, I am too lazy to go and turn on my Mac right now to check.

Anyway, I don't know. It might well be that many users are accustomed to the OOo/LO Insert Special Character dialog's look and feel and would be upset if it was removed.
Comment 2 Björn Michaelsen 2011-12-23 12:03:37 UTC
[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
Comment 3 Philipp Weissenbacher 2012-01-09 11:29:53 UTC
Changed to "NEW" as it still applies to 3.5.

Yes, I think we can do that. Rip it out and integrate LO with the system's own tool. Is that too much for an Easy Hack?
Comment 4 Samuel Mehrbrodt (allotropia) 2013-10-03 08:38:38 UTC
What does UX-Advise say?
Comment 5 Tin Man 2013-10-03 09:15:24 UTC
I'm concerned about:
a) integration with Libreoffice -- inserting characters should be a fluid experience and we shouldn't force the user to manually copy/paste characters from the dialog into the document.
b) the dialog missing on some platforms. (Does LXDE have a character dialog?) If it is missing, we should keep bundling our dialog and replace it when possible, like we do with the Open/Save dialogs.

If the first problem can be solved, I'm all for it.
Comment 6 Samuel Mehrbrodt (allotropia) 2013-10-03 11:27:18 UTC
Hm I'm not sure this can work as with the File Open/Save Dialogs.
The system dialogs for special characters are created to copy some characters out of it, not to use it to insert a character in a document.

Maybe it's the best to stick with our own dialog.
Comment 7 Adolfo Jayme Barrientos 2013-10-03 12:53:59 UTC
I’m not sure that this would work, for instance I prefer to use LibreOffice’s dialog instead of Windows’ charmap. I think we should improve ours instead and add missing features such as search
Comment 8 Samuel Mehrbrodt (allotropia) 2013-10-05 20:54:06 UTC
I just read on https://wiki.gnome.org/Gucharmap :
The character map is a GTK+ widget, and can be used in other programs

So there is the possibility of integrating it. We could create our dialog with an insert button and that widget.

Not sure how it is with KDE, Windows, Mac etc.
Comment 9 Adolfo Jayme Barrientos 2013-10-05 21:04:33 UTC
Samuel: I don’t know how much updated the GNOME wiki is, I haven’t seen other GNOME apps integrating it, we don’t use GTK+ directly and Gucharmap is so buggy anyway (for instance, it doesn’t filter out non-avilable chars properly, instead showing half-baked, on-the-fly-rendered replacements), and it’s not available cross-platform.
Comment 10 Khaled Hosny 2013-10-05 23:03:58 UTC
(In reply to comment #9)
> and Gucharmap is
> so buggy anyway (for instance, it doesn’t filter out non-avilable chars
> properly, instead showing half-baked, on-the-fly-rendered replacements)

Half-baked, on-the-fly-rendered what?

It is a *character* map application, not a *glyph* palette, there is a world of difference between both (and it can filter non-available characters, BTW, if you looked hard enough).

What we have in LibreOffice is a half character map half glyph palette thing. Every time I try to use it I find it pretty useless since I need know what font have the character I’m looking for, which is just stupid if its purpose is to allow inputting “special characters”. Searching the web using the character name is usually much faster (though I usually just search in Gucharmap).
Comment 11 Adolfo Jayme Barrientos 2013-10-05 23:55:01 UTC
Khaled: I knew about the filter option on gucharmap, but it did not work. Can we stop the offtopic?
Comment 12 Adolfo Jayme Barrientos 2015-03-24 06:36:19 UTC
We will not remove this dialog. We plan to keep it and have been designing new features for it recently.