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AbiWord 2.8.6

AbiWord Editor's Review

AbiWord is a stand-alone word processing package. It is reasonably easy to set up and has a standard interface, so it's not hard to master. Abiword sports most of the features you'll find in any other word processor, with the added benefit of being free and open source. You also don't have to download a whole office suite just to get the word processing package.

AbiWord performs acceptably as a basic word processor. It has all the capabilities you're likely to need, with a full library of fonts and effects, spellcheck, text highlighting and all the common formatting tools you'd expect. The AbiCollab Web service lets you share documents online. Another plus is the capability to handle documents in Microsoft's proprietary formats such as docx and docm. It's lightweight and loads appreciably faster that some, particularly OpenOffice's Writer.

Once highly regarded, AbiWord has failed to keep up with the pack. It's still stable and reasonably easy to use, but the installation is overcomplicated when compared to other packages. The lack of grammar checking is another minus, especially when other free word processors have one. Dictionaries in a variety of different languages are available for free but it can be tricky to get them installed and working properly. 

Pros: Most features you'd want from a word processor, lightweight, fast and free.

Cons: Clumsy installation, no grammar checker.

Conclusion: Not bad, but no longer the clear winner it used to be. if you're looking for an MS Word replacement, there are other lightweight word processors that outdo AbiWord.

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