For some reason I've always hated the layout of Office Suite tools such as LibreOffice, OpenOffice and Microsoft Office (I seem to find the Ribbon interface nicer than what has gone before, although I can't put my finger on why.)

I always find the sheer quantity of UI in these programs have a real negative impact on creativity. I still haven't found anything as inspirational as a blank sheet of paper (or perhaps more accurately, less demotivating than a blank sheet of paper.)


I've tried disabling and removing bits in the past, but I've never ended up with something I was happy with. Recently I tried attaching one of the two standard toolbars vertically, instead of horizontally. Surprisingly to me, the result feels a lot nicer. There's still some way to go, though.

focuswriter is pretty good but I like to have some graphical features. By analogy when I write on paper it's not always straight lines of words, but sometimes bubbles, arrows, lines, strikethroughs, etc. At least I can get bullet points by remembering the write X compose key sequence (alt gr, dot, equals)


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The sequence to produce a bullet is rather “compose, dot, equal”, but thanks for the tip, I did not know it and it will be very useful to me!
Comment by Elessar,
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I've taken to writing Markdown in a simple text editor when I want to just jot down some ideas. The formatting is a bit limited (and ugly), but somehow I prefer it to either MSWord/LOWriter or TeX.

I think it comes down to having too many clunky controls (e.g. manually adjusting text size to make a heading or selecting a style in LibreOffice then having to tweak it because it's ugly) or, in the case of TeX, ugly formatting making the source hard to read. Somehow, having to interact with controls with the mouse as well as having non-visible structure in the document is off-putting.

Comment by dhardy,
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On my X keymap I have bullet on Mode_switch-Enter and ‣ on Mode_switch-F11 and a “list dash” on Mode_switch-Shift-Enter. This is an approximation¹ of how the keyboard layout is set out (it’s basically US, but² Escape and ` switched for Thinkpads, and Alt put on the left Winkey so that the Altkey can be Mode_switch, plus all latin1, most cp1252 and some Unicode chars… and CapsLock is gone!). This is how it looks in uxterm – all other terminal emulators fail at displaying it properly…

① It’s an approximation because it’s for the HEAD branch, not the “grml” branch, of the file in CVS; on wheezy you̲’ll need the latter though, the former is for XFree86® on MirBSD.

② Of course you can customise all that, or ask me to help you with that. Swapping keys is dead easy.

*edited to add hyperlinks — Jon*
Comment by mirabilos,