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This page will discuss the user interface for the AutoInput feature in Calc (also known as auto-completion.)

Status: Work in progress.

How it works


In cell input mode or in edition mode when the cursor is at the end of the field.


The content of a cell above the edited cell, if not a formula.

The name of named ranges (see Issue 73997 ) in formula edition or input mode.



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

Discoverability of the menu entry

  • There is an unadapted intermediary step to find the AutoInput option in the menu: the option is located in Tools > Cell content > AutoInput. This may seem illogical since the feature does not deal with cell content, but with the method used to input that content. For examples of users that do not find this menu entry, see Issue 40908 , Issue 17505 and Issue 93483 .
  • The name of the feature is poorly chosen. It has consequences on discoverability because 'AutoInput' does not match the name most users spontaneously give to that feature when talking about it (which is 'auto-completion'.) As a consequence, users looking for the feature may not recognize that this is the feature they are looking for (see last comment in Issue 34417 ). The reason why 'AutoInput' has been preferred to auto-completion seems to be that it does not complete a word, but suggests previous input in a full cell. This is a questionable choice.

Lack of Feedback after input

  • 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.
  • AutoInput uses Sort Lists defined in Tools > Options… > Calc > Sort Lists as sources for AutoInput, changing the capitalization accordingly (see Issue 3765 ). But it does not use it as a source for completion suggestions, so the user cannot know that this change of capitalization is done by AutoInput (and may think it is done by AutoCorrect such as in Issue 55331 ). The user then cannot know that it can be disabled with Tools > Cell Content > AutoInput.

Issues with navigation

Issues making difficult to enter content

Difficulty to discard suggested completion

  • It may be hard to discard suggested completion.

Issues with capitalization

  • When the cell content 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. See also Issue 23146 .
  • Rules concerning capitalization 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.]
  • AutoInput uses the Sort Lists defined in Tools > Options… > Calc > Sort Lists as sources for AutoInput, changing the capitalization accordingly (see Issue 3765 , Issue 88908 , Issue 69984 and Issue 71138 ). Also, Issue 29042 is a request for enhancement of this behavior that still as status 'NEW'.

Issues with interpretation of content

  • AutoInput conflicts with recognition of URLs. See Issue 77373 and Issue 77374 .
  • 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

See the page Auto-completion.

Inconsistency with auto-complete features from other products

  • It does not use a menu. See Issue 76878 .
  • In Excel, it seems that AutoInput suggestions for completion do not rely on the content of the cells in the same column, but on their value. At least, it takes into account references. See the request for enhancement in Issue 43108 .

Other issues

  • Only 2000 cells or 200 strings are analyzed for suggestions of completion. See Issue 89016 .

See Also

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