This free, open-source word processor strikes us as a worthy alternative to pricey, big-name products. AbiWord has a quick learning curve, since the interface is very similar to those in Word and WordPerfect.
You'll find just about all the features you need, including the ability to cut and paste, highlight, and a bevy of common formatting tools. Although we did miss a grammar-checking utility, AbiWord can check your spelling in many languages--you'll need to choose the appropriate foreign language dictionaries during installation. A huge plus is the ability to open and save Microsoft Word documents, though the program also has its own proprietary file format. You can download plug-ins at the publisher's site to import and export a wide variety of other formats, including OpenDocument.
The latest version integrates with the AbiCollab Web service for sharing documents, and finally introduces an annotation feature that competitors have long had. AbiWord should appeal to a wide range of users who seek a functional word-processing app but lack a large bank account.
AbiWord is a lean yet full-featured word processor. It features a familiar-looking interface, basic character formatting, paragraph alignment, a spell checker, interactive rulers and tabs, styles, unlimited undo/redo, find and replace, and image support. It can also import Microsoft Word 97 and RTF (Rich Text Format) documents, as well as support headers/footers, superscript/subscript, widow/orphan control and newspaper-style columns. Many plug-ins are available.
What's new in this version:
Version 2.8.4 fixes a bug where deleting a character in non-Western scripts caused a random number of characters to be deleted.