Friday, June 19, 2009

Text sidebar feature

I started fiddling briefly last night with Lotus Symphony. I thought I'd comment on one feature, and suggest an improvement. Recall my troubles reported yesterday regarding page numbering? So I started my test drive with page numbering.

The Symphony page numbering feature is intuitive and efficient: Create>Page Numbering. That opens a concise dialogue box, with three dropdown menus for: Position; Alignment; Page Styles. You select, say "Footer" for position; then "Center" for Alignment; and "All Current Page Styles" (those are the defaults). Then, voil√°, you have a centered page number in the footer. Nice.

But I thought... hmmm, what if I wanted to put the page number somewhere else. It's unlikely that I would randomly put a page number in the middle of the text, but quite possible that I'd want to create a text box (Symphony calls this a "frame"). The page numbering feature seems to be limited to header and footer. If you want it in a Frame, you'd have to add it manually: a pain.

I thought, hmmm... what if I want page numbers on the side of a page, or say I wanted to add an index tab, or additional text or graphics not in a header or footer, but in a text sidebar?

Here's a suggestion for the IBM Lotus Symphony developers, or any other provider of such products. Why not add a "text sidebar" or "sider" or "tab bar" feature that behaved like headers and footers. Like headers and footers, it could be set to reside inside the margin area if desired. One additional aspect however would be the easy ability to turn text vertical, say for an index tab, or leave it horizontal, say for side page numbering.

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