I’m a follower of Max Limpag. Every tech experiment he does, I follow and try to recreate on my own. The difference is that I don’t document my experiments that much, sole because I lack the tech tools and gadgets that are almost part and parcel of a tech blogger-wannabe’s tool box. A digicam or a mobile phone with the latest features and technologies and yes, a camera. I don’t have those tools yet. So for now, all I can do is write in plain words the tech experiments and tinkering I do. Occasionally I pepper in a few screenshots, graphics and even a screen cast to add sizzle and to help readers fully understand what it is I’m doing or not hoping not to do with my computer.
So much for an introduction and a lengthy one at that. Today, I just followed in his footsteps and made the switch from OpenOffice Writer to AbiWord. This post itself, was written in AbiWord.
So what is AbiWord?
It is yet another free and open-source word processor that can replace your Micro$oft Word. Of all the word processors I’ve tried, AbiWord is so far the best and a refreshing one. From downloading the installer to actually installing AbiWord, it took less than 15 minutes. I’m not kidding, the download took only 6 minutes for it was only a 5 MB download, the lightest word processor installer I’ve ever seen!
How does it look and feel?
The interface looks and feels a lot like Writer in Ubuntu; refreshed, with cleaner lines and icons. The colors may be a little duller than Word but it saves the eyes from strain. Besides, you open up a word processor to write not dabble with fonts, colors and shapes. You use Photoshop or GIMP for that kind of job, but for writing, AbiWord is an enticing tool. It could even be the last word processor you’ll eve use.
It sets you in a writing mode
Still on writing with AbiWord, one of the coolest features it has is the ability to go into full screen mode. Just press F11 and you have your entire screen dedicated to writing, all waiting for your creative juices to be transformed into words, phrases and paragraphs. This feature I’ve come to like can also be found in DarkRoom, a simple old school text processor that lest you write and just write. No distractions from other windows, pop-up notifications and want nots.
This could feature could solve the one of the most dreadful problems bloggers face each day; blogger’s block. You can just go on and on writing till your brain runs out of words or your fingers get tired and sore.
How does it handle?
AbiWord by far is the lightest word processor I’ve ever used. It opens up fast, switches from full screen to normal view in an eye-flash. You can open up a document faster than you can say M$ Word. Wait, I’m exaggerating now but really, it consumes less memory than Writer and Word. A bonus for bloggers and users who like to write while listening to their favorite tracks using memory hogs like iTunes and Window$ Media Player. Sorry but I still use WinAmp and have been using it ever since.
Either way, if you’re a multi-tasker; you can fire up AbiWord along with Firefox to browse the web, and Photoshop to do some image manipulation on the fly. This has been my practice every time I write how-to posts, editing photos and screen shots to suit.
More goodies and features
For added functionality, plugins and add-ons are available for the AbiWord. This allows you to use popular web tools and sites right from inside AbiWord itself. It has a built-in support or link-up feature to Wikipedia, online dictionaries and translation services should you need more information about a particular word in any document you’re viewing with AbiWord. I found these features very unique and useful.
I’d talk more details about these features in a later entry so watch out for that.
Would it leave you isolated?
One of the main reasons why users would be reluctant to switch from M$ Word is the fear many Window$ users feel every time they hear switching from that OS into Linux or a Mac. It’s the issue of compatibility and being left out of the group.
AbiWord takes care of this issue as it allows any document to be saved in the format you choose, .doc, .odt and its own format .abw Another unique and cool feature it offers is the ability to automatically compress a document into a zipped file using its own GZipped AbiWord (.zabw) allowing us to save some space on our hard drives.
Over all, AbiWord has impressed and has proven it can be the last word processor you’ll ever use. Give it a download, play with it, and you’ll love it.