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.