AbiWord Review

Screenshot of AbiWord in Windows XP
© Dom Lachowicz

AbiWord is a free word processor that looks nice, is easy to use, and can be modified to provide an interruption-free writing experience.

Both basic and unique, less common advanced features are included in AbiWord.

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Pros

  • Able to check spelling and grammar automatically
  • Uncluttered interface
  • Includes common and advanced features
  • Works with popular file formats
  • Documents can be saved automatically

    Cons

    • Print preview requires an external image viewer program

    Description

    • Collaboration is supported by connecting through either a free AbitCollab.net account or through a direct IP connection
    • Common features are included, such as creating columns, tabs, tables, footnotes/endnotes, header/footers, a table of contents, page numbers, and more
    • Like most good word processors, files and images can be inserted into a document
    • During install, plugins can be included, such as a web dictionary, a translator, Google search integration, and Wikipedia search integration
    • Annotations can be added to documents
    • AbiWord can open popular file formats like DOCX
    • Easily revert a document back to it's saved state without having to exit and reopen the file
    • AbiWord makes is simple to change document properties like the title, author, source, rights, description, contributors, and publisher
    • Can create letters using mail merge by utilizing sources like database and text files
    • Has a command line option to print and convert documents without using a graphical user interface
    • A custom image or color can be used for the background of any page of a document
    • AbiWord lets you toggle the case of words or change them completely, such a making all of them lowercase or uppercase as well as changing the first letter of each word to a capital letter
    • Custom styles can be built
    • You can view past revisions and compare documents with AbiWord

    My Thoughts on AbiWord

    AbiWord looks a bit outdated, but certainly doesn't function that way. Tools and menu items are actually ordered very well and the whole program is simple to use.

    I like that all the toolbars can be hidden to create a near distraction-free experience. The only thing that remains is the file menu, which takes up only a small area of the screen and leaves the rest of the area for writing.

    All the basic formatting tools you need for writing are included, but it's nice you also get access to some more advanced options like inserting tables and allowing real time collaboration, which some word processors don't allow.

    Also, in the settings, you can adjust AbiWord to automatically save documents as often as every minute, which is a wonderful feature.

    The only thing I don't like about AbiWord is that when you open print preview, you must have a program installed on your computer that can read the preview image file. It's true that most, if not all, operating systems have a program like this preloaded, but it's still an extra step that may cause issues.

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