AbiWord / Open Office (XP/Vista/OS X/Linux)

September 5, 2008

Microsoft Office is an excellent suite of work programs, but it’s expensive, and often more than the average user needs. When is the last time you fired up Excel outside of your cubicle? Or even looked at Access, Microsoft’s database program? So pick up AbiWord instead, a free and open source word processor that has all the most useful features of Microsoft Word without any of the bloat that slows down your PC. If you need a full-fledged office suite with a spreadsheet application and presentation software, then look into Open Office, yet another free and open source offering (noticing a trend here?).

Open Office’s Word Processor is every bit as good as Microsoft Word. While its spreadsheet application is nowhere near as powerful as Excel, it is certainly an acceptable replacement for most tasks. And here’s the best news: Whatever you create on Open Office or AbiWord also works on Microsoft Office (and vice-versa, so any Excel or Word docs you need to work with will open up in AbiWord or Open Office).

AbiWord is a lean yet full-featured word processor. It features a familiar-looking interface, basic character formatting, paragraph alignment, a spell checker, interactive rulers and tabs, styles, unlimited undo/redo, find and replace, and image support. It can also import Microsoft Word 97 and RTF (Rich Text Format) documents, as well as support headers/footers, superscript/subscript, widow/orphan control and newspaper-style columns. Many plug-ins are available. Support for tables is currently limited.

Version 2.6.3 may include unspecified updates, enhancements, or bug fixes.

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