Sunday, July 1, 2007

Abiword 2.4.6

Abiword is a lightweight, robust word processor that easily replaces Microsoft Word. It supports a wide variety of open and proprietary word processing formats and languages.

Although it can't save documents with the .doc extension (due to Microsoft's closed source proprietary file format), Abiword can save as documents as Rich Text Format files and then wrap them to look like a .doc file, effectively enabling users to switch between Word and Abiword seemlessly. It'll also open .doc documents fairly well, as long as there are no complicated tables or figures.

As a member of my university's tech support, I have a lot of students come in who want to type up essays for their foreign language classes, and Abiword tends to be the best solution, especially for languages that have text running from left to right.

The lack of macros makes Abiword extremely secure; Microsoft Word allows macros, which although helpful for advanced users, mostly serves as a method for virus transmission for the majority of people who just want a no frills word processor.

The well designed user interface should be very familiar and intuitive to anyone who has used any office productivity software, and the keyboard shortcuts are all the same.

Highly recommended.

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