Release Date: February 25, 2005.
AbiWord is a lean yet full-featured word processor. It features a familiar-looking interface, basic character formatting, paragraph alignment, a spell checker, interactive rulers and tabs, styles, unlimited undo/redo, find and replace, and image support.
It can also import Microsoft Word 97 and RTF (Rich Text Format) documents, as well as support headers/footers, superscript/subscript, widow/orphan control and newspaper-style columns. Many plug-ins are available.
AbiWord can check your spelling in many languages--you'll need to choose the appropriate foreign language dictionaries during installation. A huge plus is the ability to open and save Microsoft Word documents, though the program also has its own proprietary file format.
You can download plug-ins at the publisher's site to import and export a wide variety of other formats, including OpenDocument.
AbiWord has a very similar user interface to Microsoft Word to help make it easier for new users to migrate to Abiword. Although there are differences, the AbiWord developers aim to embrace and extend what has become a de facto standard in business, producing a better improved design.
The native file format uses XML, so documents written with the program are perceived to be a safe investment from a digital archiving perspective.
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