VisualEditor: Collapse all the text styling buttons (except link?) into a single text-styling icon in the toolbar
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From en.wp.

John Broughton: <<So there is now a new toolbar, and - bizarrely - the icons for media, reference, reference list, and transclusion '''are no longer visible'''. They are now under the "More" menu.
Okay, one could argue that these four are, somehow, ''advanced'' editing options (no matter how critical they are to editing articles). But I'd love to hear from someone as to why Bold and Italic (the first in particular ''rarely'' used in articles) still have icons visible on the toolbar, while five other formatting options are now under "More". It really, really would have been better to have a "Format text" drop-down menu that had all seven text formatting options on it, and to leave the media, reference, reference list, and transclusion icons where they were, visible on the toolbar. Or, worst case, leave them under the "More" menu [one more click, and thus one less reason for experienced editors to use VE, because this '''makes it more cumbersome to use''' those four things]; at least then they wouldn't be paired with formatting options with which they have little in common. [...] (And don't even get me started on the ''sequence'' within the new "More" drop-down menu - apparently the ''least'' important choices are at the ''top'' because that's the way that ''no one else'' does drop-down menus, so obviously everyone else is wrong?!?)>>

Andrew Davidson: <<Bold formatting is not rarely used. It is used in all articles right at the beginning to emphasise the name of the topic and any synonyms. But this usage is quite specialised and subject to the conventions of our manual of style. The VE should understand this. Either the use of bold text should be handled by a style sheet/template/wizard approach to article creation. Or the appearance of the bold option in the toolbar should be context sensitive so that it only appears when editing the lead of an article and warnings appears if it seems to be used incorrectly. >>

Salix alba: <<One problem I get is the toolbar frequently splits into two lines. If my browser less than 1100 pixels then the toolbar wraps leaving lots of white space which could be usefully filled. I'd be happier either with single line with more drop downs or two full lines, just not empty space.
I guess different editors will want different things on a toolbar. Doing inline maths you would want italics, sub, and sup to be easily added plus greek symbols eiπ. Other editors will have different requirements. Tooltips would be handy to get shortcuts for each action, (no I will not read the help page). The wikitext editor's toolbar manages to make a lot of things easily accessible.>>

Version: unspecified
Severity: enhancement


Elitre created this task.Sep 18 2013, 1:21 PM

User Pointillist on the English Wikipedia has some really interesting ideas on this subject, posted here:

Without all the very useful images, he writes (please pardon my clumsy textual effort to reproduce his proposal and check out the link to see it the way it should look):

Summary: as discussed above and in bug 54271, the sequence of buttons in the toolbar isn't appropriate for typical article editing activities.

The current toolbar gives too much priority to hard-coded formatting such as Bold, Italic, Lists and Indents. As a result:

  • The most important buttons (e.g. for referencing) are pushed into a secondary position and may even be forced onto the "More" drop-down
  • Wikilinking is incorrectly associated with formatting
  • Formatting buttons are divided between the left-end of the toolbar and the "More" drop-down
  • It isn't immediately clear what "More" is offering

I propose that article content buttons should be at the left end and formatting should be at the right end of the toolbar, so something like this:
[Undo * Redo * Link * Media * Reference * References * Template * Equation * Paragraph * Clear formatting * Bold * Italic * Superscript * Subscript * Programming language * Unordered list * Ordered list * Reduce indent * Increase indent]

If "More" is necessary, it would probably be inserted into the formatting buttons, and the users would expect to find more of them in the drop-down, like this:
[Undo * Redo * Link * Media * Reference * References * Template * Equation * Paragraph * Clear formatting * Bold * Italic * Superscript * More]

Of course, this is only a starting point. By the way: underscore and strikeout shouldn't be formatting options in the article space, "Page title" isn't necessary as a paragraph style. Thoughts?

Grouping commands under a "Text format" drop-down menu is a natural (obvious, intuitive) way to collect commands that are rarely used. For example, bolding of text, in articles, is typically done ONCE (in the lead paragraph, by the author of the article), and then never again.

A "Text format" drop-down menu would take all of the following off of the main toolbar line, leaving space for (at the moment) everything else:

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Superscript
  • Subscript
  • Programming language
  • Underline
  • Strikethrough
  • Clear formatting

Putting all these under a single menu has the advantage of - in the future - allowing projects to control which options are visible in which namespaces. For example, on the English Wikipedia, strikethrough almost certainly should not be a (visible) user choice in mainspace (articlespace), nor should underlining.

It's important, for SPEED, that frequently used functions are immediately accessible. Articles should have lots of footnotes, a fair number of templates (particularly for footnotes), and at least a couple of images. Putting the related commands into a drop-down menu, as opposed to having them directly on the toolbar, is undesirable: It makes VE less attractive to experienced editors (slower to use) and more difficult for new editors (because now they have to be instructed on, and remember, a TWO-step process (menu, select) rather than a one-step process (click), for important things like images and footnotes.

My feelings are similar to John's on this. We can't bury important buttons like references in a dropdown menu. And, as John points out, for the english user base anyway, the options of underline and strikethrough are very rarely used. New users are going to experiment with the options most prominently placed, these should be the most useful tools that would lead to a constructive (i.e. not reverted) edit.

Conversation on the best order of the toolbar is continuing and is pretty thoughtful and indepth at the English VE feedback page. :)

Live link:

Permanent link to its current state:

I did this in wmf7.

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