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Abiword - forget WordPad, use a Portable App

review from BillWebb, Feb 2007, permalink Word Processing


From Clif:

Bill commented last month about his choice of word processor software. In addition he also mentions how portable applications can be used on your PC. You should have noticed by now, that I love portable (stand-alone) applications and I use them every day. I agree with Bill's choice of editor below and I also ran into the same problem he mentions about a drive icon being hijacked. Pay close attention there!


From BillWebb:

My search for a WordPad replacement has ended (for now) with Abiword Portable from PortableApps.com.


Abiword is an open source, fairly full-featured word processor from http://www.abisource.com. For practical purposes it will do anything one needs in terms of everyday word processing, and the interface is "quite familiar." It also saves documents in a variety of formats, including its own, OpenOffice, .rtf and .doc.


PortableApps has taken a number of common open source applications, such as Abiword, Firefox, GAIM and OpenOffice itself, and stripped them down for installation on older systems and flash drives. They aren't crippled -- Firefox, for example, works normally and you can download themes, updates and extensions -- it just has non-essentials removed to make it smaller and faster. Each application can be downloaded as part of a suite (build it yourself) or individually.


While Abiword is fairly small and quick in its original incarnation, I was looking for even faster so I installed the Portable Apps version. It works great. It might take a second longer to open than WordPad on older machines, but when it does you have a lot more for your time. I have it set to default to all the common document file types. Definitely worth a look, as are the other offerings on the site.


A word about the PortableApplicationsSuite: it is designed to be installed on its own flash drive, although it coexists well with shared drives. It adds its own icon on the drive, and when you click it, one appears in the system tray. A click there brings up a dedicated menu to select applications and preferences. Neat. The only thing is, if you install it on your hard drive, as I did for testing, it hijacks the drive icon and adds its own name and graphics. While everything works normally, it's a bit disconcerting. I had to uninstall it to get my C Drive icon back. I recommend downloading individual apps for hdd installation, or porting the files from a flash drive, which works well -- just drag it where you want it, open, find the .exe file and send a shortcut to the desktop.


Have fun, as a friend of mine always says,




Quote from the website

Now you can carry your favorite computer programs along with all of your bookmarks, settings, email and more with you. Use them on any Windows computer. All without leaving any personal data behind.


See also AbiClipArt