Monday, July 25, 2005

Writing can be fun

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Last post we discussed office suites, the all-in-one office solution. If you need all of those tools to get your work done, an office suite makes good sense. But, if all you need is a word processor, why load your system with a lot of programs you won't use? You don't need a suite, just a good word processor. Believe me when I say there are quite a few available.

When I first started working with the PC back in 1983, I had few candidates to chose from. WordStar was THE word processor. If you had a copy of the old workhorse, you were cutting edge. But I had one that was better! Bruce & James had one that was called WordVision. It was fast and easy to use. The learning curve for it was short. So short that I was working within 5 minutes of installation. When Windows was released, Write came on the scene.
WordVision has long since gone the way of the dodo bird and if you mention WordStar you'll get a strange look from whoever you happen to be talking Well, today’s word processing selection list is lengthy and the members on that list are small, fast, and free. If you don't believe me go to Downloads or Tucows and enter a search using Word Processing as search criteria and stand back because the list you get will be fairly long. If you enjoy playing and looking for neat software, you're going to have a ball. The list you get will contain two separate types of word processors. They are either Wordpad based or non-WordPad based. What's the difference? To the program developer, it means he doesn't have to worry about much except for the interface or "wrapper". The hard part is done already. The NON wrodpad based program was developed from the ground up. The developer had an idea or came up with a new way of doing the task. Sort of 'a better mouse trap'. For you and me, though, it doesn't make much difference. They both get the job done. I do have a couple suggestions to try, though, as usual.

Jarte (Wordpad based) is a compact word processor and WordPad replacement with a unique, easy-to-use interface. Features include ability to edit Microsoft Word documents, OLE support (insert pictures and sounds), tabbed document access, quality spell checker, page breaks, print preview, visual header and footer designer, clip history, reference bar, multi-level undo and redo, and single click bookmarking. A detailed help file is included. Downloads lists release 2.5 but if you go to the developer’s web site you’ll find Release 2.6 is available. This thing is cute! You’ll see what I mean when you install it. The interface is so simple, a child will enjoy using it. But don’t let the Fun user interface fool you. This thing is all serious business when it comes to being productive. With a few settings you can produce several different file formats. At install, it supports Rich Text Format files, which are supported by most Word Processors. The package is downloaded with either an English, Danish, Dutch, French, or Spanish dictionary. If you need them, you can download just the dictionaries. You also have a free access to Word Web, the online dictionary in addition to the installed dictionary. Spell checking if fast as are all the functions. Try it, I think you’ll like it.

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 tables, styles, unlimited undo/redo capabilities, find and replace, and image support. It can also import Microsoft Word and RTF (Rich Text Format) documents, as well as support superscript/subscript and ruler toggling. Also contains a help system (called AbiWord end-user manual), a column dialog, a GOTO dialog, a new tabulation dialog, and more update localization. Abi is serious. It has the features and capabilities to make any look professional and yet still be a joy to use.

As I said before, there are dozens more out there. Try these! I think you’ll like what you find.