|Microsoft Word is almost as hard to escape as Internet Explorer or even Windows itself, as it's included in the purchase price of many computers (whether you want it or not), and so many people try to give you files in Microsoft's proprietary DOC format. And since Microsoft won't tell other developers how to read and write DOC files, it seems that buying Word is the only way out. But other developers have done a pretty good job of decoding DOC files, and many of the other word processors available are pretty darn good in their own right.|
|LibreOffice/OpenOffice/NeoOffice Writer is a good full-featured choice for companies looking for a consistent set of programs (including spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and more) to run on different kinds of computers, and save money at the same time. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or Solaris and stores its documents in OpenDoc XML, a fully-open data storage format. It has excellent compatibility with MS Office files. It's available in several flavours, including LibreOffice, a free open-source community-driven version; and both free and commercial versions under the Oracle OpenOffice name.|
|Corel WordPerfect was once the most popular and successful word processor on the planet, with features that MS Word still doesn't offer, but marketing blunders and the Microsoft bundling juggernaut (including copies of MS Word with manufacturer's systems, want it or not) nearly trampled their sales. But Corel has recovered, and is focusing on feedback from loyal WordPerfect users to improve the program with each new version, such as complete support for PDF import, editing, and export. It's available either in a full office suite or an inexpensive home package.|
|Lotus Symphony Documents is the word processing module in IBM's office suite. It's based on the core of OpenOffice with a user interface developed by IBM/Lotus. Available for both Windows and Mac.|
|Lotus WordPro is part of the SmartSuite package from the creators of the legendary Lotus 1-2-3. While it's no contender with MS Word or even WordPerfect in terms of market share, its integration with 1-2-3 and the rest of Lotus' suite of office programs make it a solid option for those looking for an alternative. And it's a pretty powerful word processor in its own right, winning lots of praise under its original name Ami Pro.|
|TextMaker is part of the SoftMaker suite, which is available not just for Windows and Linux, but also both the "Windows CE" and "Pocket PC "versions of Microsoft's mobile operating system.|
|AbiWord is an open-source word processor for Windows, Unix-like systems, Mac OS, BeOS, and QNX. It's free, with no strings attached. Although it doesn't have all the features of Microsoft's word processor, it's designed to work very similarly, and to read/write Word-format documents, so it's an attractive option for people whose employers have sunk money into MS Office, but who don't want to do so for their home system. It's a key piece of the loosely-coordinated Gnome Office suite.|
|GoBe Productive is a very highly-integrated office software package, by some of the same people who created AppleWorks. Rather than having separate programs or even discrete modules for word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, presentation, etc. GoBe Productive is a single program that lets you do all of these things, even in a single document. It was a popular package for BeOS, and is now available for Windows. A trial version is available for download.|
|Ability Write is part of a complete suite similar to MS Office, and comes close to qualifying as a clone of Word, with file-format compatibility, an interface that will look very familiar to Word users, a similar (but not identical) scripting language, and of course features. And much cheaper. The components can be purchased separately or as a complete package. Available for Windows. A free trial can be downloaded.|
|Nisus Writer is a classic Mac app rewritten for OS X, in both "Express" and "Pro" verions, and supports any language OS X itself does. It takes advantage of other features of OS X, including a hidden "side drawer" which contains a wealth of sometimes-needed auxiliary functions, such as formatting controls. Other handy features are multiple clipboards, customisable keyboard shortcuts, and a powerful macro facility.|
|Mariner Write is a less-bloated alternative to MS Word on the Mac that still has nearly all of the power and features you're likely to actually want. And you don't have to buy an entire office suite to get it. It's very easy to just sit down and get started with, with excellent handling of formatting and styles, and has good read/write compatibility with Word documents, .|
|Microvision's WordExpress is a shareware program that they describe as a "mid-range" word processor, lying between the full-featured (and complicated) applications like Word or WordPerfect and the mini-word-processors included in programs like Microsoft Works. It's small and efficient (there's a version for Windows 3.1), but includes the capabilities most users will need, and you can download a trial copy.|
|Thinkfree Write operates in conjunction with the company's web site, where your documents can be stored (securely) for retrieval from anywhere. It requires a relatively small download, which can also be used (with local storage) offline. It's Java based, so it's compatible with all the major operating systems: Windows, Mac OS, and Unix-like systems. Companies can licence a server edition for deployment on their LAN.|
|Yeah Write is a word processor for Windows created by refugees from WordPerfect Corp. (when the star product was sold off and the company went under). It's also small and efficient (with a version for Windows 3.1) and has a more colorful and friendly interface than most word processors. You can download a free version with some of the features disabled, or pay $19 for the full version. It reportedly runs under OS/2 and Linux (using WINE).|
|CopyWrite is not a "word processor", but a writing tool. It's designed to leave out most of the formatting tools (except the core stuff like bold and italics), and instead provide features to help writers focus their attention on the writing, and organizing their work. It's very lightweight, but includes features for keeping track of chapters, characters, word-count targets, notes, ideas, and versions. Shareware for Mac OS X only.|
|KWord is the word-processing component for the free KOffice suite for Unix-like operating systems running the KDE desktop (also free). It's a frame-based (not page-based) layout program, which gives users a leg up on complex formatting, similar to a desktop-publishing program, but it's a bit of a learning-curve obstacle for new users. It can also be used for simple documents as well, of course, and includes the sorts of features one expects in a word processor (spell-checking, headers/footers, paragraph and text styles, templates, powerful search-and-replace, etc.)|
When used together, WordPad and Word Viewer make up a "poor man's Microsoft Word". WordPad is a bare-bones word processor that comes with Windows. It's not much good for anything beyond simple letters or memos, but it reads and writes documents in Word 6 format. Word Viewer is a free download from Microsoft that can read and print Word 97 and most Word 2K/XP documents, taking the burden off your word processor of choice if people are in the habit of sending you documents in those formats.
icWord is a shareware utility for viewing Word documents on a Mac.
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