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abiword  

Go to www.abisource.com to get the program

I had high hopes for this product, but it didn't really suit some of my personal work habits, so I stopped using it. It may, however, work for you.

I've always wanted a simple word processor that would do a few things for me:

  • Load quickly [waiting for a bloated word processor to load is frustrating]
  • Handle RTF (Rich Text Format) files reliably [portable; available across a wide variety of platforms]
  • Have strong keyboard compability with Windows WordPad (and therefore with MS Word) [my fingers do this automatically by now]

I've tried Jarte (both the free as well as the Plus version) and it has some pretty severe limitations in how it handles numbered/bulleted lists in outline format.

I figured I'd try abiword and see how it handled things.

Overall, it is a pretty good word processor, and it definitely does load quickly. It has a wide array of features that work quite well. In general, if you want something smaller and quicker than OpenOffice, abiword is not a bad choice.

However, the sticking points for me meant that I had to stop using the product.

  • There are some keystroke sequences that I personally use a great deal and which are not supported in abiword (not surprising given its pedigree): {Alt-Shift-<arrow>} for example, let's me move outline items around easily. I didn't realize how much I used it until I kept stumbling over it in abiword where the same keystroke combinations do nothing. You have to use {Tab} to indent an outline element and {Del} to outdent.
  • I did run into some differences in the RTF implementations between abiword and Jarte/WordPad: numbered or bulleted lists saved in abiword resulted in "doubled" item markers when opened in the other two programs (MS Word didn't have that problem)
    abiword display:
    Jarte display:

Anyway, it may work for you... it just didn't work for me.

Enjoy!

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