AbiWord – The Best Multilingual MS Word Alternative

typewriter-copy 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.

abiword 1


  • Multi Platform
  • Internationalized
  • 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: Download.com


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

3 responses to “AbiWord – The Best Multilingual MS Word Alternative

  1. g

    with my new system build only months away, i’m going it with no excel, word, outlook (no ms office).

    since i don’t use these programs much away from work, i’m quite content with google docs.

    i’ll definitely try out abi. i’m also looking forward to trying open office.

    i see myself getting closer and closer to linux all the time!
    i kind of like the idea of not having to spend so much time worrying about security!!

  2. tim

    Neat. I’ve been using Open Office for some time and find it formidable compared to MS. I use the portable version on my external (I use an external USB drive as apposed to a thumb drive).

    I your opinion, how does Abi Word compare to Open Office? Is it worth a try if I’m already using and evangelizing Open Office?

    • billmullins


      I’m an MS Word man all the way – except of course, for the time I spend on
      the web during which I keep Abiword open for quick cut/paste.

      As you know, Open Office is a superb application and since AbiWord is really
      a “light” word processor it’s not meant to compete.