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Subject: ODF-Next: Proposal for Preferred Selection in Text Documents

Dear Oasis Team,

this is a proposal to implement Preferred Selections in ODF Text Documents, allowing preconfigured fast selectable text areas.

I plan to write a statistical tutorial in R, and would like to include also R code in this document. Of course, I will also show the results after every executed line. However, I would like students to be able to copy/paste easily the code, avoiding thus to copy also the results and non-code text. Thus, I would like to define a text area that is easily selectable and selectable by default, ignoring interspearsed text.

> x<-matrix(1:10,2)
> (y<-x+1)
     [,1] [,2] [,3] [,4] [,5]
[1,]    2    4    6    8   10
[2,]    3    5    7    9   11
> t(y)
     [,1] [,2]
[1,]    2    3
[2,]    4    5
[3,]    6    7
[4,]    8    9
[5,]   10   11

Now, I would like to have only the following lines defined as an initial selectable area:

Please also note the missing initial character (the ">" prompt).


1.) A preferred selection will identify portions of text that shall be easily selectable by default.

2.) Such areas may span more than one paragraph.

3.) Such areas may contain interspersed non-preferred selection elements.

The user may select with a single click ALL the data that is marked as preferred selection, excluding data not-marked as such. I am highlighting the word: single click. So, it will not be necessary to select everything manually, the Office application will know to select everything, even if it spans multiple pages, because the area was marked as a prefrred selection. This comes very handy, if the selectin goes over more than one page.

Because there may be more than one selections, I propose to have an ID for every preferred selection.

The xml, in pseudocode, may look like (though ID is probably misused in this example and is not a true ID):

<Selection:preferred ID="1">...</>
other content
<Selection:preferred ID="1">...</>
other content 2

With a proper ID, it may look more like:

<Selection:preferred ID="1">
  Selection content
  <Selection:none>none selection content</>
  Additional selection content

But the second variant would prohibit overlapping selections.

This is a new feature, and would not be supported by older ODF - it would nevertheless degrade gracefully.


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