AbiWord is a free word processing program similar to Microsoft Word, with added tools for collaborating with other users and storing documents online.
The first word processors were used for just that: word processing. You type; words appear on the screen; you save the file on your hard drive. Today, word processors need to be so much more. We don’t just save documents on hard drives anymore. Now we share them online, e-mail them to co-workers or friends, collaborate with others from across the country or across the world, and access them from multiple devices. Traditional word processing programs like Microsoft Word just don’t cut it in today’s online world of social media and telecommuting. Meet the future of word processing: AbiWord, a free word processor designed to keep you and your documents connected to the devices and people in your life.
With AbiWord, multiple people can work on one document at the same time using its built in collaboration tool. AbiWord is integrated with AbiCollab.net, so you can store documents online and easily share them in any format. AbiWord works on any operating system, and is compatible with a wide variety of file formats from Microsoft Word Documents to HTML files, so you can rest assured that anyone can view your AbiWord documents. AbiWord is lightweight, so it’s quick to install and load. It uses very little system resources, so that it can run quickly on even older computers. AbiWord comes in many different languages, so you can share your documents with anyone in the world. Its built-in spell-checker can scan for spelling errors in over 30 different languages, including Hebrew and Arabic. Mail Merge lets you automate form letters, memos, labels, and more. You can even use a command line interface in a server environment. Plugins allow you to extend AbiWord’s functionality to include a thesaurus, text summarizer, and much more.
Tips for New Users
AbiWord’s interface is very similar to older versions of Microsoft Word. Users of Word 2003 and earlier should have no problem making the switch to AbiWord. However, if you’re not familiar with the look of these older Word versions, read through AbiWord’s user manual for instructions on how to get started. AbiWord’s wiki provides additional information like frequently asked questions, and tips on using the collaboration tool. For even more help, subscribe to the AbiWord mailing list, or join the AbiWord IRC channel.
Areas of Improvement
The latest versions of Microsoft Word and other free word processors like LibreOffice’s Write now come with built-in PDF conversion tools. Users of these programs can save documents as PDF files, and even edit existing PDFs. This is a very useful tool in any word processor, but it is currently absent from AbiWord. A PDF plugin once existed, but AbiWord’s wiki claims that it has not been maintained for years, and recommends using PDFCreator instead.
It’s about time the word processor was updated to fit our modern online lifestyles. AbiWord brings the classic word processing program into the future with collaboration, online storage, and more. With AbiWord, you can share your documents with anyone in the world, in many different file types and languages, and on any operating system. The only thing you can’t do with AbiWord is create a PDF. For that, try PDFCreator.
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