Tag Archives: wordprocessor

AbiWord – First Impressions

AbiWord is a free word processing program similar to Microsoft® Word. It is suitable for a wide variety of word processing tasks.

Not being used to AbiWord I opened the word processor and started writing down what came to my mind. I was using version 2.6.6 as provided by Linux/Ubuntu, but followed the instructions on the Abiword.com pages to upgrade to the stable 2.6.8 version. There is however already a version 2.7.8.

First things I notice in AbiWord:

  • The nice clear big buttons, good friendly layout.
  • It loads quickly.
  • When I started using AbiWord the last letter typed appeared half finished. I first thought that it was a nice feature, but when all the letters disappeared half when I let the cursor run backwards over them I understood that it was not meant to be. Disabling Compiz on My Linux/Ubuntu fixed the “problem”. Pitty because I liked the half finished last letter.
  • The arrow in front of the sentence that makes it possible to select the whole sentence with one click.
  • Besides the well known red spell check there is also by default a green grammar checking. I am not sure how it exactly works and if I can use it, but I want it in my “perfect word processor” so I am interested.
  • In the menubar there is an option called collaborate. Sounds interesting, but the help section doesn’t exist unfortunately and only Jabber is available through the pop-up menu. This article from Linutop.com tells more about this feature.
  • It uses by default Konquerer or Epiphany as the browser on my computer to display the help files.
  • There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to edit a toolbar.
  • Mail merge is the term used to print copies of a file, each with a new entry in a data field. Used for example when printing invitations to a list of people where each copy is addressed to a different person.
  • “Revisions”  is very interesting, it is a good way to edit a document of somebody else. It is not so user freindly friendly to have to right click and point/click accept or reject for every single revision, but it works.
  • “Maintain full history” mode makes revision sets every time the document is saved, so one automatically can recreate a new document with a previous version of the current document.
  • ‘AbiWord cannot export Microsoft Word documents at the moment; you should use RTF for sending files to people who use Word.’
  • Plugins can be installed from within the word processor but only if you know the name. A list of plugins can be found on the Abiword homepage and in order to download them one is directed to the download page. There is a section for Linux (which I use) but unfortunately there is no possibility to download any plugins (if needed btw, as many are installed by default).
  • I played around to discover the table features, it worked well, but it doesn’t completely show up after copy/pasting it to this blog post:

Here is a link from magazine.redhat.com with a somewhat older but extensive interview with the developers of AbiWord.

I easily got used to AbiWord and I like the fact that it loads quick. It is a nice alternative in between a text editor and a more complete word processor as for example OpenOffice.org Writer.

See this article for a comparison between AbiWord and OpenOffice.org Writer.

Here is the link to the AbiWord information page.

10 things I want my future word processor to do (daydreaming).

If I allow myself to daydream about the perfect writing program then I see a Personal Assistant Robot in my word processor. It will help me with everything, and even more.

It will be able to

  • Speak all the languages I speak, know all about grammar but also about style and the building up of sentences.

  • Look up sources for me while I type and suggest corrections, further reading or persons to contact, both for me and for the readers.

  • Go through all my previous writings and, whenever I want of course, inform about what and how I wrote about the subject previously. It will only mention relevant writings and thoughts and make suggestions about how to benefit from it in the current text.

  • Know literature so it is able to compare and inform me about styles, scenes, or thoughts that have been used before.

  • Follow the storyline in the book or short story I am writing and propose plot changes, characters or settings. And of course correct me if I write anything that is inconsequent or impossible.

  • Suggest layout, sounds, structures when I am writing poems. It will have different voices in different languages that can read me the poem and it will play beautifully with sounds and rhythm, inspiring me and helping me to learn.

  • Show me all sorts of notes and information on screen in a practical way and clever way so that I won’t get confused or get lost. It can speak to me while I write or just silently and unintrusively give me pointers.

  • Publish, print, turn into an ebook, sent to others conveniently and quick.

  • Load extremely fast so I can write my thought down before I forget it.

  • Be very small so I can carry it with me on whatever device I am using, always synchronized and informed.