Sidebar Proposal by IBM

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Design Proposal -- Sidebar -- By IBM

The following design proposal is part of the collection of design proposals for “Accessing Functionality”, which is part of Project Renaissance.


We propose a way which we call "Sidebar" to organize the commands/UI entries on UI.
  • All panels in can be docked to this sidebar.
  • Users can switch the panels via tabs beside the docked panels.
  • The properties which related to current context will be shown as sub-panels of properties panel.
  • Current UI can be migrated to this UI easily and quickly.
  • Users don't need to suffer the big changes and knowledge break, like what MS Ribbon did.
  • Provide a reasonable layout. More and more screens are wide nowadays. Put such UI on side will save the vertical spacing on screen and provide more space for editing.


Manage the panels with Sidebar

  • All panels of OOo 3.1 can be docked to the side of editing area.
IBM Sidebar Properties.jpg

Users can click on the icons on a skinny bar beside the panel, to switch between panels.

Here is an example: switch to Style List panel.

IBM Sidebar Style list.jpg


  • Users can select which panels will be shown on Sidebar. Just right-click on the skinny bar and set on a menu.

Be Compatible with current behaviors of panels in OOo 3.1

  • Users are free to dock the panels. They can dock the panels to the Sidebar, as what we are shown here.
  • Users can also dock the panels to bottom/top/left, just like what users can do in current OOo 3.1.

Properties Panel

The properties panel on sidebar

  • There are some sub-panels on properties panel. E.g. Text, Paragraph, Table, Area, Line, Graphic, Cell Appearance, Number Format, Master Page, Page Layout, Template, etc...
  • The properties panel will show different sub-panels for different context. E.g. When users are editing texts, the sub-panels like Text and Paragraph will be shown. When users focus on a slide, the sub-panels of Slide Layout, Template, and Master Page will be shown there.
  • So in most contexts, users don't need to switch between panels manually. They can get them on Properties Sidebar directly.

Example: Editing texts
Here is an example for the context when users editing texts. Text and Paragraph sub-panels will be shown on Properties panel.

IBM Sidebar Properties.jpg

Example: The context when users select a page of presentation
When users select a page(click the thumbnail on Slide View or just click the blank on a page), the Layout, Master Page and Template will be shown as sub-panels on Properties sidebar.
Only recent 6 layouts and templates are shown on the panel.

IBM Sidebar SDPage.jpg

Users can get all layouts/templates via a pop up panel.

SDPage Popup.jpg
Author: Ma Li
IBM Lotus Symphony
Locate in Beijing, China
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