Bug 52387 - Usability issue: There is no provision to export/import user-settings
Summary: Usability issue: There is no provision to export/import user-settings
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: UI (show other bugs)
Version:
(earliest affected)
Inherited From OOo
Hardware: All All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
URL:
Whiteboard:
Keywords: needsUXEval
Depends on:
Blocks: User-Profile
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Reported: 2012-07-23 10:13 UTC by narayanaras
Modified: 2019-08-27 06:38 UTC (History)
11 users (show)

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Crash report or crash signature:


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Description narayanaras 2012-07-23 10:13:55 UTC
There is a common need to export the user-settings (either to back up the settings or to copy the same settings in another PC).

However, there is no provision to import or export the user-settings.
Comment 1 Rainer Bielefeld Retired 2012-07-23 12:32:48 UTC
Not a valid bug report, there ALWAYS is a way to do ANYTHING you want, the question is how much it will cost.

@narayanaras@hotmail.com 
What do you need what is not included in a backup or copying the user Profile?
Comment 2 narayanaras 2012-07-23 13:52:23 UTC
Well, that would apply only if I wanted to write an addon for LibreOffice.

But this is not a task meant only for advanced users/programers. Even ordinary users would need to copy user settings (for back up and cloning on other PCs).

Keeping that in mind, an easy-to-reach control should be provided. 
Also, the docs should guide the users by providing a step-by-step method. 

Both these mechanisms are missing.

****
Here are the specifics:

The LibreOffice program has no menu options to deal with user profiles.

I searched for all relevant keywords in the help docs/guides. 
(User profile, user setting, export, import)

The help does not cover "User profile". I tried the Content, Find and Index tabs. (I have installed the latest help pack).

I also searched in the GS3400-GettingStartedLibO.odt
Chapters 2 and 14 do not mention how to copy the settings to another PC.
Or back up (save) the settings for later use.

Just to make sure, I also searched the following guides:

WG3400-WriterGuideLO.odt
IG3500-ImpressGuideLO.odt

They too do not mention the subject at all.

*****
On the whole, it appears that this aspect is not at all addressed in the whole system.

Have I missed something?
Comment 3 Rainer Bielefeld Retired 2012-07-23 14:52:59 UTC
Some interesting aspects, indeed.

I think as a first step we should include some basic information from <https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/UserProfile> into help.

A simple backup might be useful, I have to restore my profile from time to time, but I can't tell whether that also is useful for "normal" users".

All further steps need much care, too many profile switches and similar might cause serious problems.

@David:
Can you check whether some basic info can be taken from Wiki into LOCALHELP?
Comment 4 narayanaras 2012-07-23 15:50:08 UTC
Thanks!

Just a suggestion: Do not use technical words like "User profile".

We need two separate paragraphs, with the following headings:

"copying custom settings to another PC"
"Taking a back up of custom settings"

*****
As a user, I need to preserve the following:

1. My settings in Tools>Options
2. My customized toolbars and shortcuts (including placement of toolbars)
3. My macros
4. My dictionary (the words I added)
5. My templates
6. My addons (?)

If these are replicated on different PCs, I would have a sense of continuity.

Please add if there are other important things that I may have missed...
Comment 5 narayanaras 2012-07-23 15:55:55 UTC
BTW the knowledge base should mention how to install a beta in a separate folder with its own settings. (Is that possible at all?)
Comment 6 Norman Funk 2012-08-24 08:17:05 UTC
The spell check dialogue should provide a button for export / import standard dictionary to a location on the file system for backup / restore purposes.
Comment 7 Joel Madero 2012-12-30 17:42:29 UTC
I'm marking this as NEW simply because it seems like some valid points are made BUT be careful about making this bug too broad 

I'll leave it to developers to decide what should/shouldn't be exported but it does seem like there is room for improvement here, I like :

1. My settings in Tools>Options
2. My customized toolbars and shortcuts (including placement of toolbars)
3. My macros
4. My dictionary (the words I added)
5. My templates
6. My addons (?)

If we could export these as a zip or tar ball and then have an easy import tool, that would be quite useful for a lot of people.

Leaving prioritization alone, seems appropriate
Comment 8 Cor Nouws 2013-05-18 07:16:19 UTC
*** Bug 64439 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 9 Christopher Chavez 2014-08-01 17:50:18 UTC
I see how both this bug and bug 64439 can be solved with the same implementation--essentially having some sort of "profile management" included with LibreOffice. I think other programs have implementations e.g. Firefox that may be worth mimicking.

I would think that the magnitude of requests to reset the user profile warrants some debugging/detection of corrupt profiles, e.g. prompting a profile reset after one or some other number of crashes, and preparing the existing profile for examination by developers if they appear problematic.

It may also be helpful to at least implement command-line parameter to clear, export, and import profiles, if not in addition to GUI "profile management".

I'm not a developer (yet), but I think that one should consider the profiles created by their application to be just as important as the application itself.
Comment 10 Jean-Baptiste Faure 2015-03-01 21:32:16 UTC
I think it is a bad idea to have a function inside LibreOffice to backup the user profile because this user profile will be in use when you will launch the backup; copying files when they are used may give unexpected results.
It would be easier to add appropriate documentation in the help.

That said there is a button "Reset" in the "Expert Configuration" dialog in LibreOffice 4.4 (menu Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Advanced). This button does not reset the user profile to the "fresh user profile" state you get when you remove your old user profile and launch LibreOffice again.

Best regards. JBF
Comment 11 Thomas Lendo 2019-08-27 06:23:23 UTC
Adding needsUXEval to discuss where such import/export is possible and what data should and technically can be part of it.
Comment 12 Thomas Lendo 2019-08-27 06:38:52 UTC
Copied from bug 59493:

A completely new dialog or a new tab in the 'Customize' dialog can be introduced where the user can save, load and set back to default the whole customization that was done in the UI for each application or for a file (see 'Scope' in Tools > Customize > Menus > Scope) or for entire LibO at once.

Customization includes:
* menu changes
* toolbar changes (Notebookbar changes in the future)
* context menu changes
* keyboard shortcut changes
* presentation of the sidebar (open/closed/collapsed, which tab is open, width and position of sidebar)
* window size and position (fullscreen, maximized or left bound or centered on the screen or whatever)
as well as
* toolbar icon size (from Options > LibO > View)
* sidebar icon size (from Options > LibO > View)
* Notebookbar icon size (from Options > LibO > View)
* icon style (from Options > LibO > View)
* icons in menus (from Options > LibO > View)
* shortcuts in context menus (from Options > LibO > View)
* mouse positioning (from Options > LibO > View)
* middle mouse button (from Options > LibO > View)
* font list preview (from Options > LibO > View)
* Theme (from Options > LibO > Personalization)
* UI language (from Options > Language Settings > Languages)
* extended tips (from Options > LibO > General)
and maybe other visual settings.

This feature could be used as a 'UI profile' and would make it easier for users to take UI customizations to another LibO installation or to share a profile.

To avoid the problem of UI elements for non-existing commands (if an existing command changed or was deprecated) or that new commands would be overwritten and made invisible by importing an old profile, the most optimal way to save such UI profile is to save only the changed elements instead of the whole structure. (For example, if a user adds an command to a context menu, not the entire context menu structure should be saved in the profile but only the added command with information at which position it was inserted.)