Abiword – multi platform word processor

After a recent exchange of ideas about Abiword on identi.ca, I decided to take a closer look at it again. Although OpenOffice is currently my office suite of choice, it is a bit bloated and slow. So, what does Abiword have to offer?


  • It is blazing fast;
  • works in Windows and Linux;
  • has all the main text editing and formatting functions one needs;
  • saves and imports documents in multiple formats (Abiword’s own formats, .doc, .odf, .html, .rtf, .pdf, .docx, LaTeX, Kword and xml);
  • has revision control;
  • has spell checker and thesaurus built-in;
  • and, has a plug-in architecture to improve its list of features even more!


It even has a collaboration function so you can share your document through Jabber or TCP connection (I haven’t tested it).

I have tried Abiword before but to be honest I didn’t know it had this many features. For this review I can say there are a couple of tools I might miss when collaborating a document with others, such as being able to track and manage document changes and notes.

Overall I really liked Abiword and will seriously think about using it more often.

New OpenOffice 2.4.0

OpenOffice.org has just released OpenOffice version 2.4.0. At this moment, mysteriously there is no information coming from the main website, but you can download it through Filehippo. Sorry, no change log yet, no information as to what is new, and on my Linux distro OpenOffice still is showing as the most recent version so I’m assuming version 2.4 is Windows only.

[Update (03/27): here is the press release, the new features list, and the direct download page, it works on Linux!!]


Speaking of OOo, their website has just gone through a nice change of style. Much more user friendly and organized. Maybe they are spending time tweaking the new website and forgot to update it delayed updating it. 🙂

OpenOffice – your free office suite

OpenOffice logoThis is one of the most popular, and most essential, open source projects currently available. OpenOffice.org, or just OpenOffice, or simply OOo, is your multi-platform alternative to MS Office.

For the basic and intermediate users, OpenOffice will suffice as an office suite. Don’t think you’ll be loosing productivity if you used OpenOffice, it has a lot of the same features that the proprietary solutions. When you start using OpenOffice, you will spend a bit of time to find where the functions are, but don’t worry, you’ll find them.


OpenOffice has the Writer for your text documents, Impress for presentation slides, Calc for spreadsheets, Base for databases, plus Draw and Math for images and mathematical formulas. The documents created in OpenOffice can be opened from or saved in several different formats, from the open document (.od) up to the proprietary extensions created by Microsoft. Plus, you can easily export to PDF.

The only problem I have is to seamlessly work between proprietary formats, often documents are not 100% in the original layout. But this isn’t an issue with OpenOffice, the problem is that these extensions are closed so there is no way to find out exactly how to read these files perfectly. The solution, spread OpenOffice to everyone you know so everyone uses an open document format! Simple and easy.

Although there are other open office suite applications, OpenOffice is the best one I found to work between Windows and Linux machines (Mac OS is support as well).

As a tip to start migrating to OpenOffice only, install it to be your default office suite and set it (under Options menu) to automatically save documents using Microsoft’s format. Take your time to learn your way around OpenOffice and when you become well familiar with it, remove your MS Office installation.

Caveats: It is slower to load and the entire suite is quite larger in file size. But, it is well worth it because it is free, it is open, it has free upgrades, and it has some nice extensions.

Download it from the official OpenOffice.org website, many Linux distros already come with it installed, Mac OS users click here, and to run it on your USB drive download the portable version.