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This page list all parts of providing some kind of auto-completion feature, then compare and discuss their respective user interfaces.

We will not question the usefulness of these features nor the origin and appropriateness of the items in the suggestion list. We will rather focus on interaction design.

Status: work in progress.

List of Auto-completion Features in OOo

In Writer

In Calc

  • AutoInput for cells contents.
  • For completion of named ranges:
    • In the 'Name Zone' (not sure about the name, translated from french 'Zone de Nom'): the drop-down menu in the formula bar.
    • In the Insert > Names > Define… dialog.
    • In the Data > Define range… dialog.


  • 'Search' fields:
    • In the Help > Help dialog.
    • In the Edit > Find & Replace… dialog.

Interaction Designs

There are three different interfaces for auto-completions in

  • Word Completion
  • AutoInput
  • Some text fields (which are also drop-down menus) use an interaction design similar to AutoInput in Calc for auto-completion.



We list a lot of issues (see the full list). Many of these issues are closed as INVALID or WORKSFORME, but it is rather a consequence of unexperienced reporters setting the issue type as DEFECT instead of ENHANCEMENT. These issues and the associated discussions still are valuable for this evaluation.

Issues with discoverability

  • The lack of feedback explicating what happened after completion, may in many cases (such as Issue 47848 or Issue 51483 ) prevent the user to understand the feature, or even that there is a feature. We then miss an occasion to learn the user a new feature.

Issues with navigation

Issues making difficult to enter content

Difficulty to discard suggested completion

  • For all auto-complete feature working in a similar way than AutoInput in Calc, it may be hard to discard suggested completion.
  • In some cases, suggestion may also be completely useless and systematically needs to be discarded. See Issue 56469 for examples.

Issues with capitalization

  • In Calc: when the word is written in extenso, AutoInput has no other effect than changing capitalization. Many users then complains that it is not possible to enter some word with two different capitalizations in the same column, see Issue 73036 , Issue 5743 , Issue 47848 , Issue 51483 , Issue 51236 , Issue 52784 , Issue 96332 and Issue 77763 . See also Issue 60144 , which is still open because it explicitly questions the fact that auto-completion should not occur when the word is typed in extenso, but Issue 1342 is a request for enhancement of that behavior that has been accepted.
  • Rules concerning capitalization in AutoInput are very unpredictable and depend upon the capitalization of both the first cell containing the text and the text typed, with different kind of capitalization (first letter, all caps, no caps at all…). [It needs more work to tell exactly how it works.]

Issues with interpretation of content

  • In Calc, AutoInput conflicts with recognition of URLs. See Issue 77373 and Issue 77374 .
  • In Calc, AutoInput can conflict with number input if some text in another cell could have been interpreted as a number but it has been escaped with a leading '. See Issue 55652 .

Inconsistency between Calc and Writer

  • Interaction design differs in Word Completion for Writer and AutoInput for Calc. See Issue 8453 for user complaining about it, and this message by Graham Perrin for further details about the differences.
  • Options and their interface differs: in Writer, Word Completion is a tab in Tools > AutoCorrect… but in Calc it is an entry in Tools > Cell Content. For examples of users expecting the feature to have the same configuration interface in the two modules, see Issue 75413 , Issue 80191 , Issue 82106 , Issue 34418 and Issue 34417 . See Also Issue 52054 , a request for enhancement with status 'NEW'.

Inconsistency with auto-complete features from other products

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