The Best Free Word Processor – AbiWord – Multilingual MS Word Alternative

A friend called me recently and wondered if he could “borrow” my copy of MS Word so that he could update a saved copy of his resume in Microsoft Word format. It seems he no longer had access to Word.

I pointed out to him that he could simple download any one of the many free alternatives to Word that are available for download; most of which “save” and “open” in Word’s .doc format. It surprised me to learn that he was unaware that there are free alternatives to Word, of which, AbiWord is arguably one of the best of these light word processing applications.

AbiWord has been designed to integrate perfectly with the operating system it runs on, and there are many, including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X (PowerPC), ReactOS, and BeOS. This great application has been written to take advantage of the functionality provided by the system it runs on, such as image loading, or printing capabilities.

AbiWord is no slouch when it comes to being able to read and write all industry standard document types, like OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Rich Text Format, HTML web pages, and many more.

There’s no learning curve involved with AbiWord since it features a similar looking interface to Word, with it’s basic character formatting, paragraph alignment, spell checker, interactive rulers and tabs, styles, unlimited undo/redo, find and replace, and image support.

AbiWord has a very small resource footprint, which allows full functionality on systems that are not considered “State of the Art”. For those users with underpowered systems (by modern standards), this alternative light word processors should prove to be ideal.

I find AbiWord with its surprising amount of features and simple straightforward interface, to be the appropriate word processor I need running in the background while I’m on the Internet. Its small memory footprint, as opposed to memory hogging Microsoft Word, is ideal for most of my day to day work. In fact, portable AbiWord is my word processor of choice for my portable office on my USB key.

As you can see from the picture below, this article was written on AbiWord.


Multi Platform


Advanced document layout options

Tables, bullets, lists, images, footnotes, endnotes and styles

Available in most common, and many not-so-common languages

Spell checker

Dictionaries for over 30 languages

Supports right-to-left, left-to-right, and mixed-mode text

The above feature allows support for languages like Hebrew and Arabic

Mail Merge capabilities

Download at:


Filed under Freeware, Mobile Applications, MS Word Alternatives, Open Source, Portable Applications, Productivity Software, Software, USB, Windows Tips and Tools

4 responses to “The Best Free Word Processor – AbiWord – Multilingual MS Word Alternative

  1. Tim Knoerle

    All I can say is a heartfelt thank you for all the information you’re providing to those like myself who didn’t know! It is nice to know there is info that is trustworthy and reassuring from folks like yourself. Thanks Bill!
    Tim Knoerle

  2. Brian Fennell

    My .beloved wife died 11th August last . I want to email her many friends and contacts worldwide ,but dont wish to send messages from her computer with her email address. How can I transfer her address book to my computer?. Both computers are running Ms XP and Outlook Express .
    Any help would be much appreciated

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Brian,

      Read this tip by Leo Notenboom, a highly regarded techie, which addresses your question directly.

      How do I move my Outlook Express folders to my new machine? Bill

  3. Brian Fennell

    re transfer of Outlook Express folders from my wifes machine to mine , I am unable to read the tip which you posted ,it wont open for me . I am sure I am overlooking something simple but have tried everything possible with no result. Help pleaseBrian fennell