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Abiword 2.8 Features New Collaboration Support

Abiword is a powerful free cross-platform word processor program with the features most people need with the bloat and complexity of all the features few people ever use. The focus of the latest 2.8x version of Abiword is on improved collaboration features.

Here are some of the new features:

Improved Collaboration support

AbiWord's collaborative capabilities are greatly improved in this release. For example, it gained the ability to distinguish the text written by different authors using various text highlight colors while collaborating. Figure 1 shows a document being edited by three different authors at the same time. The collaboration support has been tightly integrated with the new online web service called http://abicollab.net/, which lets you store documents online, allows easy document sharing with your friends, and performs format conversions on the fly.

Annotation / Comment support

AbiWord 2.8.0 gained support for annotations, or "comments". You can annotate any piece of text with a remark that will show up when you hover over it with your mouse. A list of all remarks will be displayed in the footer area on every page if desired.

Smart Quote support

Proper Smart Quote support has been added in this latest release. While older AbiWord releases claimed to have it on board (there was a preference to enable Smart Quotes), it was never (properly) implemented.

Multi-Page View

Also new in 2.8.0 is the ability to view multiple pages side by side. This is convenient for users who have large widescreen monitors, or for quickly getting an overview of the document.

Improved OpenDocument Format (.odt) support

The AbiWord development team considers support for the Open Document Format (ODF) important for a number of reasons, including long term durability and our interoperability with other products on the market. These days many governments, companies and individual users are moving to ODF. Thanks to an ongoing grant from NLnet Foundation, AbiWord is on its way to become one the best ODF implementations on the word processor market. This release incorporates many improvements to the ODF import/export filters, such as documents with page anchored images and frames that are now properly imported, as well as documents with a relative width to columns and tables. Coupled with a large number of other improvements makes that AbiWord's support for ODF is better than ever.

Improved Office Open XML (.docx) support

As with OpenDocument Format support, we consider interoperability with the Office Open XML (.docx) format popularized by Microsoft Word to be very important. The Office Open XML import filter in AbiWord 2.8 has seen great improvements as the result of funding through the Google Summer of Code program. The import filter now supports all common complex document features such as lists, tables, headers, footers and images.

Abiword is an excellent general purpose word processor for both home and office use. If you don't need all the bells and whistles of programs like Microsoft Word, take a look at Abiword. You can't beat the price and the features just keep getting better and better.

Rating: 4.8
Operating System: Windows 2000 and above (XP, Vista, etc.), Linux, Mac OS X
License: GNU GPL
Price: Free
Version Tested: 2.8.1
Web Site: http://www.abisource.com/

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Blog | by Dr. Radut