Get a lightweight yet powerful word processor. Abiword may be the correct choice for you if you want a tool that is compatible with a broad range of file types. To be sure, it’s not as powerful as Microsoft Word or Libre Office’s Writer, but it has most of the capabilities that the typical user need (and many that the average user does not).
Abiword is not well recognized on the Internet, which is unfortunate. It not only works well on Linux and Windows PCs, but it also runs rapidly on almost any machine, including very old ones. This makes it an excellent choice for anybody who finds minimalistic text editors, such as FocusWriter, too limited in terms of formatting, especially if they also find Word and Writer too bloated.
During a recent MakeUseOf Answers conversation, I realized that our staff never got around to evaluating AbiWord. Given that AbiWord has been around for a long time and remains the greatest balance between a bulky word processor and weak text editors, it’s time to make a change.
In A Nutshell
Start Abiword. The first thing you’ll notice is how swiftly this free word processor loads. The second thing you’ll notice is that this interface will seem familiar to anybody who has used Word before to 2007:
You’ll immediately discover all of the formatting options you’d expect, including as fonts, colors, lists, headers and footers, and annotations. Naturally, you can input photos and tables as well; explore the application and you’ll soon get a sense of what it can accomplish.
You can save your files in a wide variety of formats:
The quality of these in their respective native applications will vary, but the flexibility is welcomed. Most of these formats may also be opened, making AbiWord an excellent free word processor for opening unusual files.
Abiword also supports real-time collaboration, comparable to Google Docs. This feature may be the topic of a future evaluation, so I’ll say no more about it for the time being. Abiword plugins may be used to add more functionality, albeit the majority of the finest ones come standard with the software under Linux.
So, what is missing that would entice some folks to use Word or Writer? Of course, macros are not allowed, and there is no grammatical checking. It should also be noted that doc/docx support isn’t ideal. I won’t be updating MakeUseOf’s instructions using AbiWord anytime soon since advanced pictures and tables will cause it to stutter.
Other things are undoubtedly lacking; please leave your suggestions in the comments section below.
Ready to get started? Install Abiword, then.
AbiWord should be easy to install for Linux users; look for it in your package management.
AbiWord for Windows may be downloaded here. Your life would be made simpler if Windows had a proper package manager, but at the very least you may have fun hitting “Next” again.
Mac users may try downloading AbiWord here, but keep in mind that the Mac version hasn’t been updated since 2005. This signifies that certain functionalities are missing, which might pose a security risk. Having said that, it worked for me:
No guarantees it will work on yours, but OS X’s built-in TextEdit is very excellent.
Overall, I believe Abiword is an excellent alternative to both simple text editors and big word processors. What are your thoughts? Leave your opinions in the comments section below!
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