Saturday, March 1, 2008

AbiWord 2.4 - A serious Open Source alternative to Microsoft Word or Open Office

Time to upgrade your Microsoft Office and the price has you reeling? Or maybe you've considered Open Office, but have a dial-up connection and can't tie up the phone line for the 2 days it would take to download? Well, there is a serious alternative out there, and it's called AbiWord. And you won't have to leave the rest of the world behind - AbiWord reads and writes the Microsoft doc format, as well as quite a few other formats.

The download weighs in at only 22mb, but the program contains all the features that most of us need in a word processor. MS Word and Open Office Writer are bloated with features that most of us will never use.

AbiWord comes with a very capable spell checker, multi-language support, mail-merge, and can handle tables, columns, headers/footers, page numbers, revisions, bookmarks, table of contents, and HTML links. You can also insert images, fields, text boxes, and symbols into documents.

The interface is very similar to MS Word, but without the extra clutter. The program launches quickly and movement within documents is fast as well. You can export documents directly in the default AbiWord format, MS doc or HTML/XHTML format. Available plug-ins allow you to read/write WordPerfect and OpenOffice files.

One thing missing from AbiWord is the auto-complete that I've grown used to in OpenOffice Writer. This feature completes commonly-typed words for you after you have typed the first few characters. I will be suggesting this feature to the folks at AbiWord. The only other downside to this program is the lack of an integrated help file - The help file is an HTML file stored in the program directory (or you can view the help file on the AbiWord website).

The Bottom Line...

If you've been looking for a cheaper alternative to MS Word or something more lightweight than OpenOffice, then I would definitely recommend giving AbiWord a try. It handles the tasks that most of us need on a daily basis and the price is hard to beat (free for any use). AbiWord is compatible with all Windows up to XP (no mention of Vista support on the author's website), Mac OS X and Linux. You can downloaded AbiWord here.


Syed Kazim said...

Excellent blog!

Rose said...

Sounds like a great program with lots of bells and whistles.

suryas said...

cool and gr8

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