Edit text files and documents in peace with Zen Writer

With this free alternative to MS Word, you can edit text files and documents.

If your job involves writing or editing, you probably need a word processor to get it done. Microsoft Word can cost hundreds, so a free alternative is nice. Zen Writer is a stylish program that will save you cash, but you'll sacrifice most of the features you need in productivity software.

True to its name, Zen Writer gives you an open, peaceful place for organizing thoughts. The customizable music and backgrounds produce a calming effect. You can add a typewriter sound effect to your keystrokes and it even saves your work automatically. It's a fun environment for brainstorming, but it won't match other options like OpenOffice or LibreOffice for productivity. Most of the features you need aren't there. There are only five fonts, and you can't bold, italicize, or underline. There are also no graph, list, or image options, which other word-processing programs have built in. This program just gives you an open space to write in and nothing else.

Zen Writer probably works well for fans of minimalist note-taking environments. Setup is a breeze and it's more pleasant than the blank, white background you may be used to. However, it doesn't offer enough to be a good standalone option. It doesn't save files in DOC format by default or include other productivity software, which means it won't work for essays or presentations.

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