AbiWord, short for abierto (Spanish for “open”), is an open source word processor. In development since December 1998, AbiWord has now become the go-to freeware solution for users who want a basic word processor, which can at the same time also support some advanced features like tables, styles, headers, footers among others.
AbiWord’s prime USP is its supreme portability – its source code is so carefully designed that it can be run on virtually any personal computer with a minimum amount of tweaking to be done. It provides support for all Windows flavors, UNIX and also has a port for MacOS.
Along with being multi-platform, AbiWord is brilliant when it comes to interoperability – meaning it can create documents in various industry standard formats, which means that documents created in AbiWord can be opened and edited in nearly any other word processor like Microsoft Word.
AbiWord can support right to left, left to right and mixed mode editing which allows you to write and create documents in more than 30 languages. It also features a great in built spell checker which can highlight spelling mistakes on the go, just like in Microsoft Word.
Also, it consists of a command line interface which allows the user to fully exercise what is perhaps its most powerful feature – the Mail Merge. Mail Merge allows you to merge data coming in from various sources like spreadsheets, text files, relational databases, comma or tab separated text and combine into one vast file. This is useful when you need to assimilate data from different sources.
Another advantage to using AbiWord is that is extremely lightweight and is perfect for older PCs which do not have state of the art hardware running on them. This is perfect for people who are just beginning their business and have limited resources yet require a powerful yet free word processor. The icing on the cake is that for everyone who feels that some key features are missing – worry not, for AbiWord offers a robust plugin architecture which you can use to import images, enable a thesaurus, summarize text among others.
Overall, AbiWord is the perfect lightweight cross platform open source alternative for users who need a basic word processor.