Microsoft Word has long dominated word processing software. While their products usually suck and bring about a plethora of criticism from all over the web they are probably doing something right with their Microsoft Word word processor which is part of their bloated Microsoft Office package. Today, Microsoft Word is pretty much synonymous to word processing but the hefty price tag makes us all wonder if they are unaware that open source and free software that is just as good, exist.
If you’re not prepared to pay the $100+ for Microsoft Office, specifically if you only require the word processor there are several, highly competitive free and open source alternatives that you can try out. I have highlighted the three best options IMO.
We’ve previously covered OpenOffice a few times and it is hands down the best alternative to the Microsoft Office suite, the word processor in OpenOffice known as the Writer is quite comprehensive providing an extensive set of features which can be directly compared to Microsof Word, as the name suggests, OpenOffice is open source which would in some ways make it excel over Microsoft Office as it is backed by a powerful community. Another point of note is it is a cross-platform software available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
If you are tech savvy and you aren’t dead you probably would have noticed a certain trend in the latest services and products. Most software and tech companies have turned to cloud computing for the number of benefits (Google it) it provides. Google is particularly interesting in taking cloud computing to the next level as it comprises of the Internet which they’re arguably the heart of (or whatever). Google Docs is a comprehensive word processor that is tied to a Google account and provides most features of your word processor, all documents saved or opened can be accessed via the cloud.
Personally, I am slowly shifting towards Google Docs and uploading all my documents. The concept is amazing to keep it short and simple, and as the web app is perfected and more features are added with time, it is only going to get better. For now one drawback I noticed is that importing documents that are more than plain text can cause it to appear buggy in the Google editor, apart from that it is pretty solid.
AbiWord is another reasonable, open source desktop alternative.The fact that it is a standalone word processor and has a portable version available (thanks to PortableApps) caters to being a handy backup solution to maintain on your portable device (in case you need to use a word processor on a porn star’s computer, who are probably the only people that won’t have a reason to have a word processor installed). Abiword is also available for Mac and Linux.
Unless you live in a uterus though, you will probably have an internet connection so Google docs should probably be your word processor of choice over Abiword, not to mention Abiword looks like it came from the 90’s).
There are quite a few other alternatives but the above 3 are the cream of the lot and would serve your word processing needs just fine. If there is any other word processor you swear by, don’t hesitate to leave it in a comment.