LibreOffice Help

One of the modern trends is software developers presuming everybody is connected online 24/7. As such developers often do not provide traditional offline help files. Instead when users select Help options through the menu or F1 keyboard shortcut, a web browser is launched to access the help documention online.

Lazy programming and a poor decision. In North America alone an estimated 40 million homes do not have access to high speed broadband.

Part of the ongoing effort to update house computers from Slackware 14.2 to 15.0 included looking at a newer version of LibreOffice (LO). LO never has been known to launch in a expedient manner. The latest version remains a slow moving old dog on a hot summer day.

Having not used LO Help in a long while was momentarily upsetting. The offline helppack was installed and the expectation was a local Help interface. After pressing F1 a web browser launched. That a web browser launched was upsetting because the presumption was attempting to connect online. Initially not noticed was the URL pointing to local files and not actually online.

If developers are going to continue this lazy practice of providing help files only in HTML format, at least present the user a concurrent dialog explaining the help files are in HTML format and will launch in a web browser.

Despite actually using local offline help files, disturbing is the large obnoxious overlay header across the LO help pages that are in the reader’s way. Especially on a laptop screen. Overlays need to die.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

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