Best Free Word Processor

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Introduction
If you don't have a lot of space on your hard disk, or you simply wish to create word processing documents without installing an entire office suite then you've come to the right place.  The following list contains reviews of free word processors, that load in a jiffy, with capabilities near those of an office suite word processor.  Essential features like font formatting, paragraph formatting, file saving to .txt, .rft or .doc will be assumed.  These reviews will focus on what makes the program unique as free ware often tends to put a special twist on the normal run of the mill software.  Online word processors are generally excluded from this category.  Older or discontinued formats maybe removed from review.  
 
If you are looking for an office suite then click: Best Free Office Suite and take a look at Gizmo's Freeware List of Best Office Suites.
 
NOTE: The Comments section of this category is for brief feedback and input.  Suggestions for new releases or updates for review are encouraged.  For more detailed discussions, please submit those comments in our Forums section.
 
Discussion

JarteJarte

Everything about Jarte breathes lightweight and fast. Created by Carolina Road Software this word processor is offered as a free version, portable version and optional upgrade to the "bells and whistles" version Jarte Plus ($19.95 US).  The program downloads as either a regular install or a portable version in a zip file.
 
Jarte boots quickly with a Welcome document and blank document already tabbed. The layout is a bit shocking for diehard word processor users.  Thinking back, so was changing from the MS DOS style of Word Perfect to the Windows GUI interface of MS Word many years ago.  That's not to say Jarte is the future, instead it's more of a twist on the present.  Absent of the usual button bars in most word processors, Jarte uses a slate looking bar with gel like buttons (see picture) for a cleaner look.  The trade off is using menus and short-cut keys instead of cluttered buttons.  The default layout (called Compact) can be changed to Minimal or Classic views.  When learning to navigate the Compact layout, turning on the labels is helpful.  Minimal layout will remove the graphics and provide a traditional text menu bar.  Classic uses a different layout for the buttons and provides better labeling, and an icon menu for various actions.  There is an option to turn on button labels in Compact layout if you need them.  My personal favorite is the Classic layout.  In this layout it's easier to set bars for reference tools like dictionary and thesaurus and set a search bar; or both.
 
Individual documents are opened in tabs that become labeled with the file name once saved.  This makes working on multiple documents simultaneously easier than using short cut keys or a Window menu to navigate between documents.  I found this to be true as I used Jarte to write the reviews for this category. Some of the features, like the dictionary, thesaurus, and help link use online resources.  Spell checking must be manually invoked in the free version by pressing F7 or finding it in the edit menu (Compact layout) or the Spell button in Classic layout.  Automatic spell check is available in the paid version.  For files accessed frequently, like templates, use the "favorites" folder to find and open faster. 
 
What makes Jarte unique is changing the status quo when it comes to word processing by changing the interface and providing a cleaner more playful environment.  
 

WordGraph

WordGraph is physically one of the larger programs.  The installation is fast though.  I tried following one of their download links which took me to Soft82.com.  This site tried to install a download program so I canceled it and tried the Mirror 1 link.  This took me to Majorgeeks.com and installed painlessly.  
 
Unfortunately WordGraph does not setup a desktop icon by default, so I had to dig the program out of the Windows programs menu.  When the program opened I was surprised by the GUI layout.  There are toolbars of quick buttons, but they are more colorful and smoother than most traditional older styles.  The program opened in Outline layout view using a point ruler instead of a U.S. standard ruler.  Also the ruler is on both sides of the document instead of the left side only.  When I tried to get help on the ruler I encountered another challenge, a message that said "The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in this version of Windows. However, you can download a program that will allow you to view Help created in the Windows Help format."  The missing file is WinHlp32.exe.  So I went to the Microsoft website using the provided link, followed the instructions and installed the update.  The help file now works, unfortunately there is no help regarding the ruler or many other functions.  
 
The experience does get better.  WordGraph is intended for more advanced users than many of the other WPs.  This program is actually from an Office Suite so you will find many of the same features.  A cool feature I appreciated are the buttons for things like superscript/subscript, special characters, date & time and highlighting.  I was always bothered having to dig for those features in other WPs.  Being able to tile multiple documents horizontally or vertically is a nice feature. Although the margins are shown in millimeters, when you move the mouse over one of the margin settings it shows the U.S. equivalent of inches.  For security WordGraph has the ability to scramble the text and lock the document.  The software company touts word art and math equations but I didn't find anything outstanding in either of these features.  Use of the Math Equations/Expressions requires installing their Spreadsheet program Accel.  Another feature missing from the troublesome help file.  There is an upgrade available for later download, however this requires downloading a zip file, unzip the file in a directory then copy the files into the original SSuiteOffice directory and paste to overwrite the existing files.  The process seems a bit cumbersome to me.
 
What makes this program unique is the appearance and layout.  Many functional toolbar button choices often not found in WP programs.  
 

AbiWord

AbiWord

AbiWord uses the traditional word processing GUI layout.  The program is a bit dated since the last release 4 years ago.   AbiWord touts being open source and cross platform similar to MS Word.  The goal of the program is to function on multiple platforms.  To that credit, most other word processors are Windows platform only.
 
The download and install process for AbiWord is easy and comes complete with six different install types: typical, full, full with file associations, minimal, full plus downloads, as well as a custom install where the user can pick and choose between which functions and features to add or remove from the installation. In under thirty seconds the program is installed and runs upon completion.
 
At first look, there is very little that appears to make this program unique, aside from being cross-platform.  I did manage to find the Extra toolbar.  This toolbar adds buttons I typically miss in a word processor; lining, super/sub scripts, paragraph spacing, line spacing, and head/footer buttons.  Another feature I like is being able to change the ruler measurement from inches to point, centimeter, or pica using the preference menu.  AbiWord has a dictionary and a reference section, but no thesaurus.
 
Sharing documents is possible with the integration of AbiCollab Web service in the latest version (2.8.6). This feature is especially welcome for scenarios such as remote collaboration.
 
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Best Free Text Editor
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Quick Selection Guide

Jarte
4.5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Clean fresh looks, task oriented, various layouts.
No grammar checking.
http://www.jarte.com/
5.0
2.97 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows XP to Windows 8

Jarte 5.0 can be installed directly over earlier versions of Jarte. All existing Jarte settings are preserved.

WordGraph
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Advanced features, additional command buttons, tile docs, custom ruler
Hard to setup help file, help insufficient, updates cumbersome
8.10
14 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000 - Win 8

Update 8.12 available. Exports to multiple formats. Dual monitor compatible.

AbiWord
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Custom ruler, Extra toolbar with cool buttons, cross platform
Help section is lacking, outdated look and feel
http://www.abisource.com/
2.8.6
7.94 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
Windows 2000 to Windows 7, Linux, Mac OS X

Supported formats: OpenOffice.org documents, .doc, .docx, .rtf, HTML web pages

Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor joeguru. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

 
Tags

word processors, wordpad replacement, text editors, best free, light-weight word processor, wordpad, letters

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Comments

by hndagizmo on 30. August 2013 - 5:36  (110408)

Thanks for the article.

I created a resume in Wordpad but it does not always hold column alignment especially when printing.I need to know that when I send a resume to an employer and they display it or print it,the character alignment will be held.I do not need a lot of bells and whistles just basic functions.Thanks for any recommendations.

by joeguru on 30. August 2013 - 18:31  (110417)

First try saving your Wordpad files as .docx. If that doesn't help, I recommend you try using one of the reviewed programs.

Depending on your computer/word processing experience, for resume creation I recommend WordGraph (more advanced) or AbiWord (less advanced). Also make sure to save your documents as .doc or .docx. NOT .txt or .rtf types.

If you continue to have issues with formatting after trying one of these programs, please post to our Freeware Forum section.

by Rev_Don on 30. August 2013 - 16:56  (110416)

Wordpad simply isn't capable of doing anything as critical as a Resume reliably, at least in my opinion. Essentially it's little more than a glorified Text Editor (an advanced NotePad). Your best bet would be to download and install LibreOffice or OpenOffice and use the Writer app from it. It will hold it's formatting much better. Abiword would be my next choice.

Always make sure that the printer you intend to print to is selected as the DEFAULT printer prior to printing. That way you can see how the printed page will look in Print Preview before you print. If you have one printer as the Default, then select a different printer at the print process there is a good chance that the formatting of the document will change. This holds true with ANY word processor that you use, although some are worse than others. Depending on how close the different printers are internally, the differences can be minimal or can be quite severe.

And it isn't a matter of a lot of bells and whistles. It's a matter of quality of the product. Think of it this way. Most people only use about 5% of the capability of their computers and the software they have installed on it, but if the computer or the software isn't capable of doing what they need then it isn't up to the standards that they need. You may not need to ability to create complex tables, numbered lists, equations, or many of the other capabilities of an actual work processor, but you do need something that is capable of consistent formatting, something that LibreOffice, OpenOffice, or AbiWord are much better suited for than WordPad.

by RosyG. on 4. June 2013 - 12:04  (108266)

@joeguru
Thanks for the great list of free word processors!

So thanks to you I downloaded and installed WordGraph... and was I surprised, it has the ability to display thumbnails of the current document. I have not seen this feature in other applications.

I find this to be very helpful as I don't have to jump around from my document to the print preview to get my formatting right.

On their website I found a portable word processor called QT Writer, not as fully featured as WordGraph, but I think it could be very useful as a portable app.

As for the ruler, I don't think it does anything but show the pixel height if the displayed page {just my opinion}.

The best thing of all is that everything is free on their website, saved me a bundle.

Thanks!

by joeguru on 5. June 2013 - 4:17  (108286)

Thank you for the feedback. Yes the QT Writer has good qualities too but a bit light for this category. I think the Writer's D'Lite is good for those who are extremely computer challenged and just want to type and print. Yes SSuite does have a whole suite of nifty free programs.

by Panzer on 16. April 2013 - 7:55  (107134)
by joeguru on 15. May 2013 - 2:13  (107757)

Thanks Panzer, I'll check it out in the near future.

by tatiana.larina on 30. March 2013 - 13:46  (106662)

I tried Abiword, Jarte and Polyedit Lite. Unfortunately neither of them works with revisions which is a problem for me (a lot files going back and forth between me and my editor). Additionally, PolyEdit Lite comes bundled with Pokki and some kind of game package, even though I unchecked all the opt-in boxes during the installation. So, it's back to Open Office for me, bloated as it is.

by DrBongo on 7. February 2013 - 19:08  (105183)

Not having a grammar checker is listed as a :( for Jarte. In my opinion, it's a :) not having one.

by Louie G on 25. December 2012 - 17:10  (103980)

I've been using Jarte for quite some time now. I liked it so much that I just bought the Plus version. Thanks for the excellent article!

by IndianRed (not verified) on 2. December 2012 - 13:26  (103209)

What about WordGraph from SSuite Office?

I saw the interfaces are much more easier to use with the latest tabbed document features popping up on all the new word processors.

I am sure they are worth a look at?

For more info: http://www.ssuitesoft.com/wordgraph.htm

by joeguru on 2. June 2013 - 0:54  (108206)

Reviewed and posted. Thank you for the suggestion.

by Ziplok on 14. May 2013 - 5:53  (107732)

very NICE.

by MidnightCowboy on 2. December 2012 - 13:36  (103210)
by presque_vu on 10. November 2012 - 10:51  (102112)

Non-technical reviews.

Atlantis Nova is amazing! It is clean, clear, simple and lightweight. It is logical to use- everything seems like it's where it should be.

AbiWord was alright for a while. The layout frustrated me because it seemed all over the place. It felt chunky to use and very old-school.

Jarte didn't feel like it was made for writers. It seems like a program from the 90s used on Goosebumps the TV series. It just looks awful and the layout doesn't scream out, "write on me!"

Kingsoft Writer is okay. It feels like a ripoff of Word 2007 without the benefits.

[Moderator's note : Commercial content edited out.]

by joeguru on 2. June 2013 - 1:06  (108207)

Plus Kingsoft doesn't use the new ribbon in their free version. Too bad.

by alexxx46 on 10. November 2012 - 14:32  (102118)

Yes, Atlantis is lightweight, but it has a very outdated look. The free version can save DOS, text and rtf files.

by presque_vu on 10. November 2012 - 20:39  (102130)

Hey alexx46,
most of what I wrote the Moderator edited out (fair enough) because I got a bit commercial when talking about Atlantis.

by kiwiplayer (not verified) on 28. August 2012 - 9:06  (98403)

I've checked out three of these word processors in some depth, and I can't say I agree with your ratings at all, so I think maybe things have moved on since this article was originally published ...

Jarte:
I persevered with this for about a month, and it's a cumbersome beast. The menu structure is quite frankly, weird - often requiring a lot of clicks to achieve even the simplest of tasks, and not at all intuitive. And configuring it to suit your personal preferences is fiddly, and easily lost if you click on the wrong menu option, upon which you have to dig about figuring out how on earth to restore your preferred settings. I'd give this product 5 out of 10.

AbiWord:
Initially, this was a breath of fresh air after using Jarte. But the install is odd, loading a lot of Microsoft C++ libraries over and above the software itself. So when I removed it, I had to go and uninstall all the Microsoft stuff as well. It's pretty slow to load, but I could live with that. What instantly condemned it though is that - having spent the best part of three hours creating a document with all sorts of elaborate text formating, and saving as I went - when I came to reload it, the file was corrupted and my three hours work was completely lost. That qualifies for an instant uninstall - any product that trashes your work as you save it is obviously quite useless - 0 stars out of 10.

PolyEdit:
This product is a delight to use - it loads instantly, it's got a clean interface, it's sophisticated without being complicated, and is packed with all sorts of practical and useful functionality that I haven't seen anywhere else. I'm even thinking about using it as a combined word processor and HTML / PHP editor all in one - the only thing lacking is automated colour-coding of tags and variables for coding purposes, something I could probably learn to live without anyway. Otherwise, the only area it falls short is the Help documentation - I had to dig around on Google to find out what 'Format Paint', 'docking', and various other terms meant, but a bit of experimentation sorted them out. A very flexible yet easy-to-use product, so 9 stars out of 10 certainly, probably deserves a 10 out of 10.

by Kurt B (not verified) on 8. September 2012 - 19:26  (98965)

I concur, at least about AbiWord. Used it for 5 minutes on Windows 7 and the interface got messed up so that I couldn't see the left edge of my document. After 10 minutes of simple editing operations, it crashed. That is an instant disqualifier for me. Fortunately I was just playing around with it and not doing serious work.

I consider AbiWord to be beta software.

by MidnightCowboy on 28. August 2012 - 10:11  (98404)

Thank you for the in depth appraisal. The article designation "site.editor" means that no editor is currently assigned and yes it does require an update. Maybe you'd like to take this on? :)

by kiwiplayer (not verified) on 29. August 2012 - 1:11  (98437)

Thanks for the offer, but I'm tied up with another project at the moment, so in the short term at least I couldn't commit the time that such a role would demand - well, to be done properly anyway!

But I'll certainly bear it in mind for down the track, should I find myself at a loose end! Cheers.

by MidnightCowboy on 29. August 2012 - 4:38  (98440)

No problem - thank you for responding.

by Anonymous JBJII (not verified) on 5. August 2012 - 20:38  (97248)

Can someone recommend a wordprocesser for me? I write only sometimes long personal letters to family and ageing friends. I'd like to find a simple program that enables me, without difficulty, to produce a letter with initials at the top, date, and "Dear".........At the bottom I need have only my address, email address, street address, town, state and zip code. And I'd like to have it available with only a keystroke or two. Somehow I've found myself unable to produce such a product with WordPerfect et al. Instead I get entangled in all sorts of difficulties and end up frustrated. So I still write letters but the format is not stylish. Surely there is such a product out there. It can't be the rocket science I seem to have encountered.I'll buy a drink for whomever can help.

by Rev_Don (not verified) on 30. November 2012 - 15:44  (103118)

Any word processor can do what you want. Even WordPad has that capability. All you need to do is create a template with all of the desired information and save it. When you want to write a new letter open that template, change the date, add the name of the person, then insert the main body of text in between the Dear Person and the bottom, save it with a different name using the Save As feature, print, and your finished.

If you want to get more involved you can create a template in WordPerfect that has prompts for the information that changes and also to auto insert the date at the top. WordPefect can do just about anything you could ever want or need to do in a word processor as it borders on being a page layout program. It makes Word look like WordPad by comparison. The only limitations are the user.

There are numerous resources for getting help in setting you your document template in WP. You can contact me if needed and I would be glad to create one for you.

by MidnightCowboy on 6. August 2012 - 5:16  (97267)

This category currently has no editor. You will get a better response by posting your query here in our forum.

http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/i-want-freeware-program-t...

by Gracie (not verified) on 12. March 2012 - 12:01  (90273)

I don't have money to buy Word. This is a great site!!

by DesElms on 12. April 2012 - 0:16  (91935)

If you have no money to buy Word, then either Atlantis Nova or AbiWord will serve you well.

If you need the full Microsoft Office platform (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, database, etc.) then I would think that you could not go wrong with one of the freeware/open-source recommendations on this web page...

Tech Support Alert
Best Free Office Suite
http://bit.ly/HsOylX

...and of them, my recommendation would be LIBRE OFFICE... but that's just me.

And, yes, I agree: It IS a great site, isn't it. [grin]

Hope that helps!

_________________________________
Gregg L. DesElms

by Geoff M (not verified) on 18. December 2011 - 11:11  (85227)

Portable Focus Writer is a great word processor when you are looking for something that just focuses on writing. eg letters, essays, books.
http://gottcode.org/focuswriter/
Great simple interface. Spell checker. Easy formattinmg using themes. Saves in ODT format.

[Moderator's note : Replaced link with homepage of software. Please post the link to homepage of software when suggesting a software]

by alexxx46 on 28. November 2011 - 18:06  (84047)

As far as KINGSOFT OFFICE is concerned, I've uninstalled it in the end,
my primary con being its excessive network activity every time I shot it up.

Generally, I'm feeling sort of biased towards Chinese software.

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