Turn off auto complete in libreoffice or openoffice calc and writer

Assuming you already found the Tools -> Autocorrect options (which is exactly where you'd expect it to be), that still leaves the (very annoying) autocomplete function enabled. To turn it off in calc, you need to disable:

Tools -> Cell Contents -> AutoInput

This will turn it off until you turn it back on. I found it thanks to this weblog (update: link is dead).

Unfortunately, when editing a table in Writer, some auto-correct options still remain: numbers are automatically "corrected", +1 and 1.0 for example change into "1". This can be changed by

setting the "Number format" (in right-click menu) of all cells to "Text".

You can probably change the default table style to fix this forever, but I have not tried yet.

(Why do the bloody programmers always think they know better what I want to do than me? If I type two capital letters that is because I want them. If it was a mistake I can correct it myself. Stop forcing this unwanted "automatic" guessing: 90% 99% of the time the guess is wrong!)

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42 Responses to Turn off auto complete in libreoffice or openoffice calc and writer

  1. Kurt says:

    Thanks! Was wracking my brain on this one, and the "auto" options are spread out all over the place in Calc.

  2. Jonathan says:

    This is among the most annoying features in OpenOffice, and it's really a huge shame that turning it off is so difficult. (I think the same UI designer now works for Facebook, hiding the privacy options.)

    It really should be off by default, or at least painfully obvious how to stop it. I can see many people not wanting to give OO a chance after fighting this non-feature.


  3. Tech Helper says:

    I agree this should be turned off by default, sort it out open office, otherwise great software by the way.

  4. louic says:

    Thank you all for your comments. Unfortunately this is not the only problem I had with openoffice, and I will probably describe more solutions to these small annoyances here. Personally, I prefer my computer to do what I tell it to do, not what it thinks is best for me, because it is usually wrong. I agree that most of the things work fine and openoffice or libreoffice are great packages, but sometimes I just want my good old WP 5.1 back. If I can, I usually use LaTeX, but unfortunately not all my colleagues appreciate that.

  5. Tom Durkin says:

    Thanks so much! Don't like this feature at all so was good to disable it.

  6. Richard Lee says:

    Thanks a ton for this. It was kinda' driving me crazy as I was having the same problem with LibreOffice Calc. The solution for turning it off there is exactly the same as the one you have listed here for OO.

    Thanks again!

  7. Thanks very much for this tip! It's so annoying I've been looking for it for the last half hour.

    Besides the obvious annoyance of having extra letters or words inserted after the word you typed, I kept typing "this" and it kept getting replaced with "This" when the cell lost focus. I tried disabling "Capitalize first letter of every sentence" but it didn't make any difference. Turns out that this anti-feature is to blame.

  8. Zbigniew says:

    DUUDE THANX. I was about to blow a gasket....
    I love you man.....

  9. Himlakropp says:

    What a relief!

  10. Zorobabel says:

    This feature should be disabled by default. LO is great, but some configurations by default. like this, are desperate and annoying. Thanks, you save my morning!

  11. Dennis says:

    Thank you so much for this tip. The automatic functions in Open Office Apps are not usually helpful and more often not only annoying but outright disruptive. This auto-complete feature was a major problem and I'm so thankful it is now disabled.

  12. Gregg Buchanan says:

    Extreme thanks for this fix - i too have been struggling to stop unwanted 'corrections' & suggestions in Writer. and i too am struggling to understand how all this frustration & annoyance can be worth less than a copy of MS Office.

  13. phutte says:

    Til now, it has been lika driving a car who wants to add some behaviour to MY DRIVING, or like school tilting my experience of things down the normalized highway.

    At last I can use 'Calc' the way I want to express myself, with just a grid as an aid.. Do I need to say that I have spent hours searching/testing other lightweight applications only to find that they are also 'Intelligent'. Also, swearing and purely hating the developers for not putting this option in front of my eyes. Alot of hate and stomanxiety that is.

    todaysWorldPeaceBadge( $winner = 'Louic' );


  14. louic says:

    It is great to hear that this web page has been useful for you. Thanks everybody for leaving a reply!

  15. atat says:

    Rather than disabling the AutoInput (AutoComplete) function, I'd like to use it.
    Unfortunately I can't, because it's either completely dysfunctional or undocumented and unintuitive.

    What I need:
    * when I start typing, it suggests matching options (fine so far)
    * when I type a key like arrow down or tab, it shows the next matching option
    * when I type right arrow, the selection is accepted and the cursor on the right side of the cell.

    There is (on the mac) CMD+Arrow-down which opens a list. They spoiled that feature as well: The list
    * shows *all* values that exist in the column (i.e. too many to be useful) instead of the matching ones
    * shows the alphabetically first line instead of the first matching

    It seems to me that the developers/UI designers never actually used their software.

  16. Arioch says:

    Thanks for this tip. You might want to clarify that that the menu command you're specifying is in Calc, not Writer... that was not obvious.

  17. louic says:

    Thanks Arioch, I have updated my blog post to clarify this.

  18. Garri says:

    Thank You so much!

  19. Bill Howell says:

    Unfortunately, this disease of the programmers is still alive and well, even after disabling "AutoInput", as noted above. Trying to correct text in cells is a nightmare of wasting time on work-arounds. I entirely agree with louic's comments about features that cause FAR, FAR more damage than good. Sometimes, like in my present case, it's simpler to write and debug a script to do the job, rather than use a spreadsheet. ...Sad

  20. Erik says:

    This is really very helpful; thanks!
    And I agree with all of you.

  21. F Austin says:

    THANKS!! I really disliked this annoying and unwanted "feature". Glad to be rid of it. It should be OFF by default.

  22. Joel Alain says:

    I'd be curious if they ever poll anyone who use Excel / Calc to see who actually use or like the ?$%#$&?& auto-whatever features to see what % of people actually think it saves them time.

    I have been using computers for 24 years and i CAN'T remember of even ONE time where i was glad those dumb "always on by default" features were there. Even the best AI ever made will NEVER be able to guess what i want to do, let alone some dumb script that try to predict whatever. This is the most frustrating thing EVER on a PC. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to break my keyboard on my monitor because of those auto-annoy-you features. NO i don't want you to auto-complete 17 000 times each time I write "1" and you automatically enter for me "1 whatever" and I have to enter backspace to remove it.

    The ppl that invented those features and shove it down our throat should be sent to jail. The only thing as annoying or more annoying then that is how every program on earth is able to screw up "bullet points" and start giving you double-space when you press enter or the indentation suddenly change or whatever. How the hell can you get bullet point wrong? How f***** hard can it be?

    Venting feel good. thanks for the therapy

  23. Libremydick says:

    Why did I get on the net tonight?

    I figured out a way to do all the connections in a wiring loom, in a symbolic fashion - in pencil and paper and I decided to transfer the schematics into the computer, via a table.

    Trouble is that the stupid cunts who make Libre Office ( and Open Office ), decide that because you want to put " = " (the equals sign), as the FIRST piece of text into a regular table - NOT a spreadsheet, that it starts to turn a basic text only table into a spread sheet, and the Calc (MS Excel) functions kick in and take over... row / column

    And then your no longer putting text into a table, your entering data into a spread sheet..

    So one cancels the Calc function, in the spreadsheet tool bar that just appeared, and that deletes the " = " in ones table...

    Stuck in a circular loop...

    And there is no help file downloading with the program, the moderators and the rest of the idiots in the Bugzilla forums, have been told to fuck off enough times for their idiot bullshit, that I now don't have a Bugzilla account but there is a registered account with that email address in Bugzilla.....

    Had enough of the retards in the big wide world.

  24. louic says:

    Wow, that is a serious rant you posted there. I can understand your frustration, I feel the same way when I have work to do and deadlines to meet. Especially when finding out how to turn this automation off is not at all obvious. Although I did use the word "bloody" in my original post to express this frustration, I do think that your swearing is a bit over the top here. The developers deserve better than that: surely they have the best intentions and there are a lot of things that libreoffice (or openoffice) is doing right. The developers deserve some respect for that. You are free to use other software if you want. The trouble is that libreoffice is so good that I do not want to use other software. But I would be very happy to see two things though: (1) an easy way to turn off all automatic corrections and changes made to what I type, and (2) preferably no automatic changes by default and an easy way to turn them on as needed, but I guess that second point is more personal although I find it hard to imagine that anyone really likes this autocorrection.

  25. INDIGOWELLS says:

    Just adding one more big 'thank you' for keeping one more person from having a stroke. Libreoffice saved my bacon, but it is quirky.

  26. Matt F says:

    Adding a huge thank you here for posting this. No Apache forum suggestions were helpful when it came to Calc. All of their suggestions were great for Writer or for older versions of OO. If only I could get a simple config file to edit rather than a thousand poorly planned submenus.

  27. Dr. David P. Lowenstein says:

    Know-it-all programmers who continue to feature creep and add useless bells and whistles should be removed forcibly from the project and put to work correcting the massive backlog of bugs and garbage features.

    How is it that Open Office Write or whatever it's called STILL opens password protected documents as read-only and will not work with them. At all.

    Fix this instead of adding worthless auto-complete features, useless sidebars, nagging update screens, and all the other garbage and trash you're copying from the broken filth and lechery that is Google and Microsoft's corporate wank-fest housefire.

    /rant off

  28. John says:

    For reals. I want to type "1", not "1,5,6".

  29. Ale says:

    Muchas gracias.

  30. Francois_C says:

    This autocorrelation is a plague, indeed, and I wonder whether there is one skillful word processor user who finds any benefit in it. This is the perfect "for noobs" feature.
    But it has an even worse side-effect. It can't be disabled in the very cases where it is the most harmful. Two examples:
    When you change the Propeties of the document and try to add a custom property like dc:author. It types Dc:author, which will not work, and I did not find a better workaround than typing a space before the d, then deleting it.
    When you create a new style, if the names begins with the same letters as an existing one, it autocompletes the name, and when you type "enter" without deleting the auto completed part, of course the name is already in use!

  31. Francois_C says:

    PS: I meant "autocompletion", but some autocorrection (or maybe a misuse of the spellcheck;) in Firefox seems to prefer "autocorrelation":D

  32. CAM says:

    Autocomplete is sometimes useful, particularly when entering data into a large enough spreadsheet where there's a high frequency of repetition of cell values... although it would be far more useful if there were a quicker way to select among possible completions than typing 3/4+ of the cell value.

    That said, typically developers are inherently lazy (although we'll behave in ways inconsistent with that) and will frequently develop ways to save work (although occasionally the development takes more work than is saved, but it's one of those inconsistent behaviors.) Autocomplete reduces typing, but requires a little brain activity to notice that something has been suggested. Autoincorrect, OTOH, can be a real pain, but can also be used. (I've created numerous 'corrections' for documents that allowed often-used and excessive-length words to be typed as three letters each time, and then auto-replaced. Granted, slightly less efficient than just using a global search and replace at the end, but it makes the work in progress read nicer.)

  33. louic says:

    I agree with you CAM that there are use cases for autocorrect. But the issues I have with it are that (1) It is too hard to turn it all off, the settings are in different (and illogical) places, and (2) It imposes itself too much, and I have to press extra keys to NOT autocomplete something.

    Then there also are the places where I think having it turned off by default would make more sense, such as in tables in Writer. Changing +1 to 1 is a step too far: If I did not want to see the +, why would I type it?

  34. Stargazerjim says:

    I agree with almost all of the comments, but auto complete is a real time saver for me. I am on row 5120 of a spreadsheet at the moment. 10% of the entries in this column are "3" and one is "3x". That x is needed to let others know that in this case the 3 was an error in the real world. Now every time I type "3" I have to type "3 [delete]". If I turn auto complete off, then in a different column I am stuck spelling out 12-15 character repetitive words by the thousands, all of which are unique within 2 letters.
    All I want to do is clear the auto complete in that one column. Or even clear it all.
    Yes, I can fill in the longer words with macros, and I have, but come on, they have the functionality built in, but we are not allowed to control it.

  35. louic says:

    Thanks for your comment Stargazerjim, your use case is interesting. I know you did not ask a question, but my "solution" to the problem with 3 and 3x would be to create an extra column with True/False values that describes whether the data is an error or not. From my point of view this leads to cleaner data, because you do not mix numbers "3" and text "3x" in the same column. If you really need the 3x you could add yet another column with a formula that either copies the number, or adds the x when a "False" is detected.

  36. Stargazerjim says:

    Thanks for the suggestion, louic!

    The second option would work, but even though I deleted the 3x it still autofills the x every time I type a 3. I had to copy the entire spreadsheet with no x in that column onto a new spreadsheet, and rename them both to get it back to the correct name. Not a big deal, but it's silly. If they would just put in a "clear Autofill" button, this would never be a problem. For some reason, perhaps because I am working on odd stuff, this happens a lot. And when looking up this problem, I am not alone by any means.
    I just want my button!

    (By the way, since the invalid 3 only happens about 1 out of a 1000 iterations, I just highlighted the cells in red. All I need is a visual clue, that column is never used in any computations or lookups.)( But I will use your idea elsewhere...)

  37. jarze says:

    How about turning off autocomplete in Search box? Is that possible? The "normal" options seem not to have any effect on that.

  38. Another Anonymous User says:

    Much obliged :)

    Your post helped me a lot.

  39. Mark Bekker says:

    Thanks a lot , I was looking for weeks how to get rid of this annoying autocomplete.

  40. Hardy says:

    Thank you for this post. Would never have thought of looking there, even though I do remember running into this problem every time I buy a new computer and install OpenOffice on it. I am a bit disappointed that they have not changed this in the latest release SEVEN YEARS LATER, despite the fact that I am obviously not the only one who is annoyed by this feature. When I am bored, I will post a copy of this thread on the Apache forum.

  41. Steve says:

    Remember the good old concept of "Fatal Error", which was supposed to be something that could truly be fatal? That concept morphed over time to mean it would kill the program, but ...

    So I was using Calc to do some housekeeping related to billing clients. One client wanted itemization by task, so I had to split things out into a lot of detail with dates and hours.

    Then they wanted it all in their spreadsheet, instead of a nice table I could produce from my DB. So, I listed it out, copied, and pasted into OO Calc. Then, since all the numbers came in as text with a tic mark in front of them, and therefore summed to 0, I had to do down the cells, one at a time, keying in the same value that was already there and pressing enter.

    I almost missed the resulting discrepancy, then blew about a half hour trying to figure out why the total in the spreadsheet didn't match the total from my invoicing system. It turns out that as I was working my way down the hours column, every time I typed 1 [enter] it produced 1.5, since that happened to be the first entry I had made in that column that began with 1.

    So, not fatal in terms of actually losing a life, but the type of thing that could be fatal to a business relationship.

    I yearn for the days when only Microsoft products did way too many things that I didn't want.

  42. Chris says:

    Thank you.
    I am learning to accept the unintuitive features of OpenOffice suite, but the auto-complete aspects totally fail for me - and I could not find the darn off switches!
    Thanks again,
    Chris in New Hampshire, USA

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