key review info
- Application: AbiWord 2.4.2
- Reviewed on:
- Multi Platform
- (5 more, see all...)
Most of us, form time to time, need to write a document which has a little bit of formating, some tables, maybe some bullets, a picture or two, and most of the time this is just about it. To do this job, the simplest text editor aren't enough. Most of the people focus their attention to Open Office. Well, I think that Open Office might be to much. Open Office is the mother of all office suites. When it comes to just writing some documents from time to time, AbiWord of KWord does the best job. For now, lets talk about AbiWord.
Why do I like AbiWord?
First of all, it's very easy to install it if you download the Linux Autopackage. The file is just 3.4 Mb, so it doesn't take unnecessary space on the HDD and also gives us a hint about how lite this program can be. Don't get me wrong, Open Office is a great program (will be subject for a future review), but maybe sometimes you don't need 100 Mb of fantastic features for just writing a document. For this we have AbiWord. It is an excellent software that will do the job for most average users. AbiWord was designed to be the first of a full suite of applications. Other design factors can't be commented because we will have to talk about Windows XP.
One of the things that make it usable is that it can open and save most of the common formats, such as OpenOffice documents, Microsoft Word documents, WordPerfect documents, Rich Text Format documents, and even more. Soon it will be established a standard open source format for documents and I hope that AbiWord will support it.
Things that make AbiWord cool are tables, bullets, lists, images, footnotes, endnotes and styles. You should know that AbiWord has advanced document layout options. All this are very easy to use and I'm sure no user will be put in difficulty. I like that you can select a text and drag and drop it in a different location. For some, it can be more practical to drag and drop a text in a different location, than cut an paste, mostly when you want to rearrange your thoughts. You can easily switch back an forth between the number of columns with the help of the three buttons situated in the main toolbar. Text can also be aligned using the classic method, either by clicking the icons or just using the well known keyboard shortcuts. With this features you can easily obtain very professional documents.
It is incredible, that even if it has a small size, AbiWord also has a set of useful templates that you should take into account. Even though at first sight I wasn't impressed, after opening a few I noticed that the templates really correspond to standards. Those are really helpful when you want to make a CV or a memo letter.
AbiWord also has a fancy feature called Mail Merge. It automates the job of writing form letters by hand. Special fields inserted into a template document can automatically be replaced with data coming from a variety of sources, such as Relational Databases, Comma Separated Text files or Tabbed Text files.
As I said before, AbiWord it is a light program, with a lot of features, but it also has support for plugins to add even more functionality. AbyWord comes as default with an English grammar checker and not everyone in the world speaks the same language. Unfortunately, even in English, it doesn't work very good and sometimes it can be annoying. Also the grammar spell checker consumes a lot of processing power. If you want to disable it remember that it can be found in the plugins section of AbiWord. Fortunately, you can download from the Internet dictionaries for over 30 different languages. Even if your language is Hebrew or Arabic, you can easily use AbiWord because it supports right-to-left, left-to-right, and mixed-mode text. For some strange characters you can use a tool similar with “character map” from Windows that comes built in with this software.
I love the fact that is light, because it can work well on some of the oldest computers available. The interface is nicely optimized and features don't stand in your way.
When I tried the print preview of a complex document I had the feeling that the application crashed. The sometimes very important print preview is very slow. It would have been very bad if the application crashed because it doesn't have document recovery. Remember to save!
The truth is that I use Open Office, but it's just because I write documents every day, because my hard drive has 120 GB free space and because I am an old user of Open Office. If this is not the case for you, don't hesitate to give AbyWord a try.