Bug 91874 - A Search by function or keyword over main menu-- similar to SpotLight, Tell Me, or Ubuntu's HUD but native for LO GUI
Summary: A Search by function or keyword over main menu-- similar to SpotLight, Tell M...
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: UI (show other bugs)
(earliest affected)
Hardware: Other All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
QA Contact:
Keywords: needsDevEval, needsUXEval
: 78033 100315 101110 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Reported: 2015-06-05 11:07 UTC by Yan Pas
Modified: 2016-12-24 07:08 UTC (History)
11 users (show)

See Also:
Crash report or crash signature:


Note You need to log in before you can comment on or make changes to this bug.
Description Yan Pas 2015-06-05 11:07:44 UTC
Request feature similar to Tell Me in Office 2016. Searchbox located next to main menu. When you type there - dropdown list appears with relevant suggestions. For intance in Calc you type "piv" - and this searchbox suggests you "Data - Pivot Table - Create"
Comment 1 Björn Michaelsen 2015-10-28 23:31:49 UTC
LibreOffice already exports its menus via dbus on desktop environments that support it -- thus enabling the Ubuntu HUD.
Comment 2 Björn Michaelsen 2016-03-29 23:16:01 UTC
Closing this as WFM as the dbus menu export is there and works. All it needs is the desktop software outside of LibreOffice to pick it up like Unity does.
Comment 3 Adolfo Jayme 2016-04-02 04:08:49 UTC
@Björn, this feature request is for LibreOffice *itself* to provide a search box where one can find menu commands. Of course, this will be redundant with Ubuntu Unity’s HUD feature, but this functionality is lacking in all the other platforms LibreOffice runs on.
Comment 4 Adolfo Jayme 2016-06-11 07:48:14 UTC
*** Bug 100315 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 5 V Stuart Foote 2016-06-11 12:34:31 UTC
Thanks Adolfo! I'd searched for these but didn't pick them out :-( To suplement Yan's OP here, bringing these over from dupe bug(s) and adjusting summary--consolidating UX and any implementation discussion on this issue.

bmharding 78033#0
Implement a smart text box to allow people to find functions in LibreOffice or tutorials and help without hunting through the menus.
To improve usability and productivity and to help users discover functions in various LibreOffice applications.
(i) The Smart address bar in most web browsers allows the user to start typing and see items from their browsing history, bookmarks or a smart auto-suggested web search. If they don’t find it, they can use a web search to do so. (e.g. Chrome, Firefox smart bars)
(ii) Windows 7’s Start Menu will search for installed programs, documents, other files, emails, control panel items etc.
• If no results come up, offer a web-search based on, for example, LibreOffice Writer + search term which might throw up tutorials which use a different form of words than is used in the feature or function’s name or description.
• Allow the user to pin favourite functions next to the smart box (icon + mouse-over tooltip) and/or display recently found functions. Only power users will find the Customize menu options.
• Context-aware results – e.g. if the cursor is in Writer table and the user starts typing ‘COL’ they might want things to do with Background COLOR or Font COLOR or table COLUMN-width. If in non-table areas, they might be interested in Font COLOR or COLUMNS text layout. If in a multi-column area they might want to insert a COLUMN-break.
• Indicate where to find the feature via the pull-down menu structure.
• Make common suggestions based on cursor context all the time without requiring input. E.g. if selecting text in a table, display “type here or see suggested functions” and when cursor is there, offer select cell, select current row, select current column, select whole table. 


nielsenmateusz 100315#0
Searching through menus can often be time consuming, and if you're inexperienced with the Suite, you have to go to the Documentation to find a specific feature that you want. 

A nice way to fix that would be implementing a search box that allows you to search for specific functionalities in the program. Search for "horizontal line" and you get all the functionalities of the program with this keyword, including "insert horizontal line".

You can simply click enter, and it will insert a horizontal line, or you can press Ctrl+Shift+Enter and it will show you how to navigate the menu to find that specific thing you searched for. 

If you search "Horizontal Line" and use the help option, it will open
Format -> Styles and Formatting -> Horizontal Line
step by step, showing the user how to get to that functionality without using the search box.

Now the user can learn about the program in a more visual way without going to documentation.

Stuart 100315#1 --
Isn't this just a rehash of see also bug 43894 -- if the built-in help is installed the indexed search is provided as localized for the OS.  F1 provides the dialog where select the Find tab. And on OS X, believe it is integrated into the Help menu.

Tomaž 100315#2 --
No, this sounds like "search for commands" that is available by default in MSO 2016 (and with a plug-in in previous versions). And Ubuntu also has something like this to search the menus of programs (including LibreOffice)..

When we reorganized the menu and we moved commands around something like this would be useful for the users. For example people didn't find pivot table at its usual place - with this the user could type "pivot" and the search would find all commands that has "pivot" in the name. So in this case it would find "Insert -> Pivot Table.." and if you click on it / hit enter, it would execute the command.

I think something like this would be useful to have native in LO to make searching for commands in the menu easier and I don't think it would be that hard to implement.

Heiko in 100315#3 --
Isn't this system feature, like Spotlight on MacOS or Unity's HUD? And in case of Microsoft Windows there might be an app which does the same. So NOTOURFEATURE?

Tomaž  in 100315#5 --
Well for OSX and Ubuntu it is a system feature but this requires a system with global menu and integration from LO. So I doubt there is an application for Windows which does this.

I think this feature is useful for all users so it would be useful to have it available in LO on all platforms. The search could go even deeper and not be bound just to the menu (style search and apply for example). That's probably why MS added it to MSO 2016. It is quite convenient to hit Alt-Q and type "ins pic" + enter to open an insert picture dialog.
Comment 6 V Stuart Foote 2016-06-11 12:35:53 UTC
*** Bug 78033 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 7 Heiko Tietze 2016-06-11 21:56:46 UTC
I'd follow Björn here: system functions should remain where they belong to, at the OS/DE. It might be a well-accepted feature on MacOS or Unity but it isn't known on Windows and those users never expect it.

However, the feature itself is great and fits perfectly into the criteria for extensions. So my suggestion is to introduce a category or keyword here on the bugtracker where we move those tickets which could be taken by the community. Similar to EASYHACKS with a few tips how to solve the problem.
Comment 8 Yousuf Philips (jay) 2016-08-05 09:52:23 UTC
This feature was something me and joel talked about in 2014 and i had it in a google docs file of enhancements, so glad someone already created a bug report for it, as i was just about to do so. ;D

Here is the text i had in the google doc file.

"Search field that will have the power to search through menus (similar to ubuntu’s HUD), provide links to other related menu items (e.g. user types ‘header’ and related shows ‘footer’), list help results (pulled from the help search if its installed) and link to youtube videos related to topics (each feature will have associate video links associated with it explaining more about the function and how it works - e.g. TheFrugalComputerGuy vids[1])."

This feature is also available in MS Office 2007 and 2010[2] as well as MS Office Online and Google Docs.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/user/TheFrugalComputerGuy/videos
[2] https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=28559

This feature would be useful as a text field in the toolbar, especially in a UI mode where the menubar is hidden.
Comment 9 Yan Pas 2016-08-05 09:58:12 UTC
Eclispe IDE Neon has this feature too and has even search over settings.
Comment 10 Heiko Tietze 2016-10-11 13:26:10 UTC
*** Bug 101110 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 11 Mike Kaganski 2016-10-12 05:36:55 UTC
As advised by Heiko, here are relevant bits from bug 101110:

I imagine that something like in AutoCAD, where there is a rich menu with an input box, where one can enter either help request, or (some characters of) a command name, and in the list beside the input box, there appear both similarly named commands and help topics, so clicking to any of those, one gets either the command executed or help topic open. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peDXW7lu6tk

The "menu" could be e.g. in a sidebar.

I suppose that this would make it easier to use some commands that one cannot fins in menu/toolbar. And macros should be available there, too, as ordinary commands.
There are several main problems that this proposal could solve.
1. When I want to use some rarely-used command. :) For a power user, that knows of some less-used functionality but useful in some situations, this is surely often encountered situation. One single rare command may be required once a year, but there's another one, and another, too much of them.
2. When I want to maximize usable screen space, like using new single toolbar. So, the toolbar space is not too huge.
3. When I don't know (remember) where the command is (menu/toolbar) and what its icon is, but searching by (part of) command's name will show me its icon and (hopefully) will show me its position on menu. Further, I may not remember its correct name, I may enter a word "capitals", and each command having a good description and growing dictionary of aliases, I'll be presented with "Format->Text->UPPERCASE" and "Format->Text->Capitalize Every Word" commands, and also "Format->Character" with help section describing its Font Effects, and Character Styles in that context. This way, anyone will find it easier to find commands for requested functionality, easier to learn and enhance proficiency.
This kind of UI is very common currently. You may see it in Unity Dash, Windows Start, Blender etc. Also, I see a wish for this rather frequently in forums (e.g. here: http://blender.stackexchange.com/questions/40163/find-commands-by-name , here in Russian: https://www.linux.org.ru/forum/talks/12695695/page1?lastmod=1467486174771#comment-12705845)
(In responce for suggestion that it's better addressed with a plugin fetching Uno commands list):
I'm afraid it's impossible without "native development", because otherwise it won't be able to use additional information. I mean, that it must respond to "contextual" meaning (bring commands that don't have typed words in names, but that may do what user wants, e.g. by having a dictionary of "tags" attached to each command), etc. Supporting external DB of such information is unfeasible, because it would require from maintainer to do it multilingually, track each new/modified command, etc.

Not every LO feature has its uno command: e.g., many entries inside Format Character dialog. I'm afraid, that if users will search for "Blinking", they won't find requested commands using your suggested approach, while in best case they would be presented the option to open that Format Character dialog.

Many uno commands would likely come unlocalized; that would be a showstopper for this feature.

The feature should also provide relevant help entries (online/offline, depending on whether help is installed locally).

I suppose that the feature is only possible by gradual development. First, create infrastructure for it, e.g. means for feature developers to define the "tags" for their commands. Implement the feature to be user-visible, and then gradually fill required data to existing commands, hopefully with a bunch of easy hacks. Include this into localization process, etc.
And btw, with notebookbar coming (that is often criticized for wasting vertical space, and is targeted to users that tend not to use menu), and already implemented single toolbar (that clearly seeks to maximize screen real estate), the need to hide menu bar will be greater. It would be possible to continue being productive without menu bar in LO, if such a feature is implemented.
See also: bug 90195