Abiword is a simple to use word processor which works with Ubuntu Linux 10.10. It is also available for Windows. It has most of the functions you need in a word processor like a spell checker, grammar checker, insert table, insert picture print, save, bold, indent, underline, high light, print, print preview, cut, paste, copy, insert tables, bullet points , number points, font color, and more.
It can also convert files to doc, and open doc files. However, when I used Abiword in Windows, it seem to sometimes not convert files properly. The file got corrupted or more advance items like tables, bullets,etc did not display very well, so it is best to save files as abw and then to doc, so you have a backup file if your doc file you made in Abiword got messed up which sometimes happen when saving files to a different file format. If you do not need your file to be edited, you can use Ubuntu print to file function when you print your document, and pick PDF to print your document to a PDF file or you can just do a save as to save your document as a PDF.
One of the main advantages of Abiword 2.8.6 is it fast start up times. It seems to start up a few seconds faster then OpenOffice when using it in Ubuntu Linux 10.10. The user interface is also very clean. There are not a lot of buttons or tool bars in Abiword which can get very confusing for people. If you want to use all the tools in Abiword, you can use the Menus on the top of the program.
Abiword is also a pretty stable program, I notice it does not crash much when I use it. However, I notice it can take a few minutes to re-open files when you turn-on the grammar checker, so I have to be patient, and wait for the file to be completely open before I can continue typing my document in Abiword, so if you notice Abiword is slow when re-opening your document, just wait for Abiword to completely load your document, and don’t click Abiword, or the Minimize or Maximize button since it might make Abiword take longer to open your document file. When I turn off the grammar checker which is off by default, Abiword seems to load files a lot faster. Turning off the grammar checker is no big deal since I know how to check my own grammar, and it is annoying seeing those green wavy lines under grammatically incorrect sentences which Abiword find.
If you used other word processors like Open Office, Word, etc, learning how to use Abiword is simple since the buttons on the toolbar are easy to understand by looking at their symbols.
I notice Abiword’s Autosave feature does not work, so I need to occasionally press the save button, or CTRL+S which saves my document. I also read online that some people also have problems with Autosave not working, so my suggestion is to save your work often manually by clicking the save button. I notice file corruption still happen occasionally like in the Windows version I used last year, so it is best to backup your work regularly to another drive or folder location by doing a “Save as”. I notice the file corruption happens when I make a hyperlink, or copy and paste a bunch of text from one document to another. My best guest is the formating on the other document, or hyper-links are corrupting Abiword files. The grammar and spell check function can be kind of annoying since it does not recognize newer words like autosave, and the grammer check sometimes mark grammatically correct sentences as wrong. There also seem to be no way to change the dictionary to US English spelling instead of British English spelling.
I also notice converting Abiword documents to OpenOffice Format document files can make the file lose some of its formating when Opened with OpenOffice.
Abiword is an okay lightweight, fast, and easy to use Word Processor which you can download and install from the Ubuntu software center by searching for Abiword, and clicking the install button in Ubuntu Software Center. Abiword would be good for students, and people who just need a easy to use word processor for typing out, and printing essays, letters, resumes, memos, recipes, high school science reports, grocery lists, and to do lists.
However, if you also need a free Spreadsheet, Database, Slide Presentation, and Chart Drawing program, and more advance features, I recommend .
- Oracle OpenOffice
- IBM Lotus Suite
- Google Docs which is an online program for creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
Top 5 Pros and cons of Abiword
- Easy to use
- Can open and save to many different file formats.
- Uses very little space on hard drive.
- low memory and CPU usage.
- Auto-save does not work for me.
- Grammar checker seems to slow down Abiword
- Can’t easily change the spell check to another language like US English
- Converted documents look strange on other Word Processors like Open Office.
- Occasional File corruption after applying more advance formating or a hyperlink where Abiword loses your previously typed work or everything.
I still prefer Open Office’s Word Processor as my free word processor of choice for Ubuntu Linux since I have not experience file corruption with it, Open Office is easier to use, has more features, and nicer to use in general. Abiword is good word processor for people who need a basic word processor, but does not insert hyper-links, or copy and paste text from other documents opened in Open Office.