Home > Office > Big Review of Modern Word Processors Big Review of Modern Word Processors Submitted by Jesse R 2007-02-08 Office 59 Comments This is a long review of modern Word Processors. Part 1 published today covers Open Office (open source cross platform), as well as MS Word 2007, and WordPerfect X3. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 59 Comments 2007-02-08 10:29 pm superstoned I kind’a miss KOffice here… Kword is a rather decent wordprocessor. OK, it has issues, but what app doesn’t, and I’d say it is a serious alternative… 2007-02-08 11:26 pm TommyD I agree that it should be in the list. Really, KOffice doesn’t get a lot of air time. but it is quite a comprehensive set of tools. Having said that, I, like many people, was burned by earlier versions and quickly moved to OpenOffice (Star Office at the time). I’ve never gone back to see how things are going. 2007-02-08 11:57 pm superstoned well, it’s not perfect as i said. font kerning is flawed, tough it depends a bit on the font. tables aren’t as stable as they should be etc. but it’s usable for the basic stuff and a bit more (i use it for almost everything). the work on KOffice 2 is more exiting, tough. looking forward to the 2.0 release, and subsequent work… 2007-02-09 12:59 am unoengborg Yes, Kword is quite nice. My guess is that it was left out this time because of its little user base. First of all, it is normally installed only by people that use KDE, and even then. some KDE oriented distros install OpenOffice.org as the default office suite. However, this may change in the future as the switch to KDE4 will make it easier to port KDE applications to other platforms where KOffice will have a better chance of the getting recognition it deserves. 2007-02-09 1:18 am B. Janssen superstoned: I kind’a miss KOffice here… If i’m not mistaken, the review only covers software running under MS Windows. This would be in line with the remaining content of the site. 2007-02-09 1:25 am ubit ” If i’m not mistaken, the review only covers software running under MS Windows. This would be in line with the remaining content of the site. ” True, although I wonder if it runs on Windows/Mac as some other KDE4 apps are currently.. 2007-02-08 11:34 pm AndreHerr Kword and Abiword. An Osnews article recently wrote: “Windows has a much easier to use graphical interface than Linux for novices.” Bullshit. The point is that Windows is simple and does not make progress. You expect it to work. The same applies to wordprocessing. Now that Word made a revision users will feel the pain. Large scale users of MS Word should throw some money on OpenOffice. Just to reduce their procurement costs, even when they take MS Word in the end. These investments really do pay off. 2007-02-09 2:14 am kaiwai Whether they feel the pain is dependent on how well they’ve designed the interface, if the interface is designed to be more intuitive and easy to navigate, then everything should be ok. For me, Microsoft Office 2007, although not the best, can’t be replaced considering what the alternatives are – IBM has, for all intensive purposes given up on Smartsuite, Wordperfect is owned by Corel being pawned off as a piece of low cost shareware with a questioned future – which doesn’t give me confidence about investing NZ$150 or so in a copy of Wordperfect Suite, which then leaves OpenOffice.org/StarOffice; which quite frankly is a memory leaking, bloatware, computer slowly, integration lacking piece of junk – quite frankly, Sun would have had more success buying out Corel when it was on the bones of their ass, inheriet not only Wordperfect which was more or less a damn good office suite which would have required minimal investment to get it on par with Office, it also has the name Wordperfect which still carries some good memories for battle axes out there. Edited 2007-02-09 02:17 2007-02-09 2:37 am llanitedave Of MS Office 2007 is NOT the best, as you claim, what is? While I have no experience with OOo on Windows, I see none of the problems you berate it for on Linux. My Open Office 2.0.4 is solid, reliable, and easy to use — I work with the writing, spreadsheet and drawing modules daily and they’re all quite powerful. Of course, I don’t save in anything but Open Document Format unless I have absolutely no choice — and then I prefer PDF. 2007-02-09 4:37 am kaiwai Of MS Office 2007 is NOT the best, as you claim, what is? Yes, because it can improve; for me to claim that it is the best also means I don’t have any problems with it; I could probably rephrase it this way, “all office suites suck, Office 2007 seems to suck less”. While I have no experience with OOo on Windows, I see none of the problems you berate it for on Linux. My Open Office 2.0.4 is solid, reliable, and easy to use — I work with the writing, spreadsheet and drawing modules daily and they’re all quite powerful. I’ve used OpenOffice.org on Windows, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuSE, Solaris and FreeBSD; it is slow, buggy and crash prone no matter what platform it is run on – for me, the only office suite that quite frankly has hope is KOffice; its properly integrated into the desktop, its lightweight in regards to responsiveness and memory use – if it received more support and more development effort, it could easily over take OpenOffice.org in terms of features without adding to the excessive bloat which OpenOffice has. I’d sooner run Corel Wordperfet Suite, or see a native SmartSuite on Linux than use OpenOffice.org. 2007-02-09 12:25 pm B. Janssen kaiwai: For me, Microsoft Office 2007, although not the best, can’t be replaced considering what the alternatives are […] Sun would have had more success buying out Corel when it was on the bones of their ass, inheriet not only Wordperfect which was more or less a damn good office suite which would have required minimal investment to get it on par with Office, it also has the name Wordperfect which still carries some good memories for battle axes out there. While i would like to see a FOSS WordPerfect, too, your perspective is still limited to MS Windows monocultures. SUN is and was a UNIX shop and has had every reason to buy StarDivision and not Corel. First ly because StarDivision’s office already was running nativly on several platforms, including Solaris, MS Windows and GNU/Linux. Secondly, Corel was a application house trying to branch into the GNU/Linux business. WordPercect Office 8.0 ran barely under GNU/Linux — in an emulated environment, no less (i forgot the name of the solution but i remember the pain.) Short, they had nothing to offer SUN could have had an interest in 1999. Today? 2007-02-09 5:46 pm phoenix WordPerfect up to 8 (or was it 7?) was a native Unix X11 application. Didn’t look or act like the Windows version, but used the same file formats. WordPerfect 9 (2000) for Linux was the Windows version running on a custom version of Wine. Worked fairly well, but you were *very* limited in which distros it would work on. It worked best on Corel Linux, obviously, but that died out very quickly. 2007-02-09 3:45 pm walterbyrd >>For me, Microsoft Office 2007, although not the best, can’t be replaced considering what the alternatives are<< What can’t office 2007 be “replaced” with office 2003, or even earlier? Of course, you would not really office, you would just not upgrade. But, the point is: is there anything you really need in office 2007, that doesn’t exist in office 2003? 2007-02-09 4:41 pm rcsteiner The main thing people usually need is the ability to read the newer document formats created by other people. It’s sometimes hard not to upgrade when the folks you do business with have already upgraded and are using the new document format. 2007-02-09 5:31 pm kaiwai Of course, you would not really office, you would just not upgrade. But, the point is: is there anything you really need in office 2007, that doesn’t exist in office 2003? The fact that I don’t own a copy of Office right now, and rely on using Works *shudder* – otherwise, you are correct, Office 2003 does everything I want out of an Office suite. 2007-02-09 12:18 pm Coxy ‘Bullshit. The point is that Windows is simple and does not make progress. You expect it to work. The same applies to wordprocessing. Now that Word made a revision users will feel the pain.’ — Seems to be what people want and need judging by the size of the user base. If Users are going to feel pain as you put it, then they’ll also feel the pain sitching to open office as this is also a new interface to learn. What usability studies have you conducted to prove that users will ‘feel the pain’ of a new interface? ‘Just to reduce their procurement costs, even when they take MS Word in the end. These investments really do pay off.’ — Yeah, they’ll be useful for sending the staff on training courses for OpenOffice, and don’t forget they’ll need to pay someone to help with support issues, businesses won’t want to wait for a member of the ‘open source community’ to reply to a forum thread when they have deadlines to meet. 2007-02-09 3:52 pm BluenoseJake “An Osnews article recently wrote: “Windows has a much easier to use graphical interface than Linux for novices.” Bullshit.” Not bullshit, personal opinion is never bullshit, you may disagree, but that doesn’t make it wrong 2007-02-08 11:39 pm Hands “Styles and Formatting dialog cannot be docked.” I’m not sure what the reviewer means by this. I often keep the Styles dialog as well as the Navigator dialog docked at the side of the window. As for the rest, I think the reviewer did a good job of trying to remain objective throughout the article. Everyone has their biases, and he obviously isn’t in love with Microsoft, but he did point out some pragmatic strong points in Office/Word 2007 that aren’t matched by the other two suites. I would say that this is the best article I have read for someone that is considering upgrading/changing their current word processor/office suite. 2007-02-09 12:01 am TusharG 50% users dont even use half of the features given by advanced word processors like MS. Looking at the price tag I’d rather use OpenOffice/LaTeX. The review seems pretty nice, I wish it had also covered the printing feature. Cause MS is way ahead in printing features then OpenOffice. 2007-02-09 12:47 am Umbra The only true “Modern Word Processor” that I know of is Apples Pages.app. The rest is last century work, concrete bunkers or mass distraction tools http://www.apple.com/iwork/pages/features/processing.html . : : Abi is a mess & buggy : : OpenOffice Writer was dead before is was born : : MS Word, well forget it . . . Edited 2007-02-09 00:50 2007-02-09 1:35 am codergeek42 > “Abi is a mess & buggy” Have you posted bug reports or sent messages to the mailing list detailing what you see as flawed/buggy? What about it is messy? Apple iWorks is so “modern” because people get paid to work on it full-time. IT is quite the opposite with AbiWord: It’s created and maintained by various hackers in their spare time (mostly); and as with every piece of software, unless they get feedback from their users, they don’t know what is wrong and what works well. > “OpenOffice Writer was dead before is was born” How so? It has paid developers from Sun, Novell, and Red Hat (among others) who continue to improve upon it. > “MS Word, well forget it . . .” You’re missing something here….hmm what is it..oh that’s right: Basic supporting evidence for your trollish claims. Please, just stop trolling or backup your claims with actual hard evidence. 2007-02-09 10:49 am superstoned What he (probably) meant is all those apps are pretty much build around the same old same ideas, nothing new there. You can’t call them modern. And he has a point there. Now he claims Apple’s Pages is better, well I don’t know about that – maybe it’s just as old and uninnovative as MS Office, OpenOffice and AbiWord… But that doesn’t mean he’s not right about the others. Frankly, I think currently the only Office Suit which has a chance of introducing any innovations in a 1 year timeframe is KOffice… 2007-02-09 11:21 am Umbra Sorry to appear somewhat trollish. It does not matter to me weather a product is home made or fabricated in the worlds most expensive coding laboratory. Its a product, and if its is not ready it should not be considered at product and not released. Facts: Abi, Word and OO Writer are all old concepts. They are all based on a approach originating from ancient times – i.e. from many computer-centuries ago. So they are not “modern” i the meaning of that word. They are indeed “old fashioned” in the way they work, look and feel. Usability is rather poor. AbiWord: this package is not ready for prime time and advanced usage. It crashes, and it deforms = It does not work and should net be considered a product. There is absolutely nothing new in AbiWord. It is NOT a modern word processor Open Office Writer: the best ting I can say about Writer is about the PDF plug-in. It makes fine structured PDF’s, with interactive navigation, PDF-bookmarks and hyperlinks. Otherwise Writer is on a dead end development path and has always been. It kills joy of work, and it kill the user by being so underdeveloped in power, and especially in ease of use. It makes ugly documents and is a plain ugly technocratic approach. It’s development phase is so slow that it’s progress wont be noticed in the market place. There is absolutely noting new in Open Office Writer. It is NOT a modern word processor Microsoft Word: What can I say. This product should never have been so popular except for maybe in the early and mid 90″. Today there is very little absolutely new about Microsoft Word. It is NOT a modern word processor, it is old indeed, and still not a good application for word processing. It is too complicated and truly underpowered for long and complex documents. Object placement and positioning in Word is still a true pain. So, my conclusion: Apple Pages is the only truly MODERN word processor in the market. Does this sound strange to you ? First version was released to the market in 2005! . 2007-02-09 2:17 pm alcibiades Don’t know why you were modded down, because its a legitimate opinion. On the substantive point, I don’t think an enthusiasm for Pages, at least for use in writing big documents, would survive detailed acquaintance with Lyx (or the real document processor of your choice). Not to knock Pages particularly. Any ‘word processor’ with its relentless emphasis on styling when you least want to do styling would have the same drawback. 2007-02-09 4:57 pm sappyvcv What’s so modern about Pages? I just opened it up and checked it out, but I’m not really understanding what’s so great about it. 2007-02-09 7:46 pm Umbra What’s so modern about Pages? I just opened it up and checked it out, but I’m not really understanding what’s so great about it. Pages is: Visually pleasing Visually pleasing Visually pleasing Visually pleasing Intuitive Intuitive Intuitive Ease of use Ease of use Ease of use Ease of use You can work more easily on creating content as the app is easy to control Good and easy text and text-style creation possibilities Easy to create and manage own document templates Easy to create and import text-styles from other documents Fantastic build-in templates Strong graphical features Strong image editing features (example: image masking, colour correction) Fantastic layout possibilities Integration with media Can paste external data directly form Excel as tables or data for charts Easy cell calculation Fantastic table formatting possibilities Does not crash on 3000 page import of RTF text Does not crash Joy of work Joy of work Joy of work Modern approach Modern approach Modern approach Simplicity Simplicity Simplicity Simplicity Simplicity Simplicity Next version will be a killer, as the app itself is so young and fresh . 2007-02-10 1:26 am sappyvcv Sounds like Office 2007. 2007-02-11 3:50 pm StephenBeDoper I’m going to bookmark this post for when I need documented proof of the Apple RDF. 2007-02-09 8:14 pm Umbra What’s so modern about Pages? I just opened it up and checked it out, but I’m not really understanding what’s so great about it. Well, I did not “just open” OpenOffice Writer, AbiWord or MS Word to not find “what’s so great about it” : : I have been using OO Writer for years, but gave it up. I know the app and I spent a great deal of time learning to master it in the beginning. But I gave it up. I often wonder weather OpenOffice initially was released in order annoy Microsoft more than the user. But it is truly annoying the user more than Microsoft, so in that sense OO is a success. :: I have spent years on MS Word. It’s best period was in the 90’s. Word was truly great in the 90’s. Now the app is a concrete bunker for tanks, and extremely user unfriendly and complicated. : : I tried, but the AbiWord will never be a finished end-product. It’s a flirt. Use Apple Pages for some months, write some few hundred’s of documents and first then give us your opinion. Learn to use the app. 2007-02-11 3:45 pm StephenBeDoper Pages behaves somewhat more like a page layout program than a word processor. I guess that could seem amazingly modern if you’ve never seen a proper page layout app before… 2007-02-09 9:31 pm Lu-Tze It is curious that your do not find a single feature worth mentioning about Pages that reflects this modernity. You conclude that Pages is truly MODERN because (a) it was first released in 2005 and/or (b) it looks new? If you mean (a) then I doubt many people would disagree though I am sure someone might point at some OSS project that started in 2006 or even 2007. But if you look at Office 2007, it not only LOOKS new, it also has a lot of useful and well-thought out feature. Personally I like the ribbon a lot. It slows me down a bit now but primarily because I am tempted to scroll through all the preview options before choosing one 🙂 And stuff like contextual spelling has been a long-sought-for and hard-to-implement feature. Since this about word processors I will dwell on powerpoint and Excel but those also have made major changes. But if you insist it is ancient just because it is built on code originally written probably in the late 80s or early 90s, then I agree Pages is the only modern word processor. 2007-02-09 11:00 pm Umbra I am sorry, I should have mentioned that I have not tested the MS Word for Windows 2007 version. The only reason is that I have been so disapointed with Word for a so long time, that in fact I have completely given up trying to use it. It took me awhile to get used to Pages new approach, but now I am finally at home with regards to text and content processing. I make my living on the documents I create in word processors, so this is extremely important to me – and my customers who read them – both as hard copy Offset printed reports and as PDF’s. . 2007-02-09 11:31 am dylansmrjones AbiWord is buggy. Especially the Windows build. I’ve tried to use it several times but it gets uninstalled rather quickly. Personally I consider it pre_beta quality. And yeah yeah, file bugs. Some of us do that actually. I agree with you, it’s important to file bugs (if you don’t they won’t get solved, most likely). Apart from being heavy I don’t have any objections to OpenOffice. MS Word have issues with open standards, so I have issues with MS Word (and Office). 2007-02-09 1:22 am da_Chicken For some tasks, like writing long essays, scientific papers and dissertations, LyX can be the best and easiest document processing tool available. It can produce very professional looking PDF documents with minimal effort from the user. The downsides are that LyX doesn’t currently support UTF-8 and it depends on LaTeX, which takes a lot of disk space. Then again, most word processors require a lot of disk space. For writing shorter texts, I find KOffice/KWord most convenient. KWord doesn’t lay out DOC documents as nicely as OpenOffice Writer but KWord has a superior printing dialog when compared to OOWriter. 2007-02-09 2:42 am Constantine XVI I’ve been thinking about giving LaTeX a try, but I’m not sure about it, since it seems to look more like writing code than writing essays. I want it to be able to crank out MLA-compliant papers with little to no effort on my part. I’ve been poking LyX, the LaTeX-powered word processor, and I like what I see so far, besides the apparent lack of MLA support. I was wondering if full LaTeX has that much of a learning curve, and how much the syntaxing gets in the way of your writing. 2007-02-09 3:19 am tyrione No the learning curve is not that steep. The reality is that the more you use it the less you like using traditional Word Processing. I use Kile and TeXMaker, plus LyX in Debian and TeXShop and LyX in OS X. I use Pages.app occasionally and Scribus for Desktop Publishing : when one is doing more layout work. However, with packages like PSTricks, Memoir and other major packages you do get book ready production. If you care about Typesetting you want to learn LaTeX. I use it for writing novels, short-stories, whitepapers and various other technical publications. LaTeX makes you realize that you can have as much or as little control over your finished product as you want. If you are going to do anything in the Pure Sciences then please keep in mind that publishers like Springer-Verlag publish their works in TeX/LaTeX. 2007-02-09 9:10 pm Doc Pain “If you are going to do anything in the Pure Sciences then please keep in mind that publishers like Springer-Verlag publish their works in TeX/LaTeX.” You can notice very fast who has something to say in the scientifical world and who has not. Form and content shozld be on a certain level. LaTeX provides the ability to seperate content from styling which is very useful if you’re working on a larger scale project like a book. But it’s also useful for creating presentations or handouts in PDF format. Surely the best advantage: Documents are stored in plain text files, which is the best and most portable file type (in regards to interoperability). 2007-02-09 7:35 am the_trapper Well, I just redid my resume in LaTeX if you want to see what kind of results you can get from it. (Yes, I know this is a cheap plug, but it is a perfect example for you.) The LaTeX source: http://trapper.jerq.org/resume.tex The PDF output: http://trapper.jerq.org/resume.pdf In practice the learning curve is pretty shallow until you get into really fancy formatting. If you can write HTML, you should really have no problems with LaTeX once you get the basic syntax rules down. The plus side to LaTeX over other similar solutions, is that it is actually capable of almost any kind of formatting you could ever need to do in a document. If you do anything with mathematical formulas, it is the only way to go. This guide is indispensable for learning LaTeX: http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/info/lshort/english/lshort.pdf 2007-02-09 3:27 am Manik Some are just less bad than others. Word processors really need improvement. My word processor would have a command mode, an edition mode, and eventually a select mode. Why ? Because you know what you type, when you type it. You know that what you type is a title, or a subtitle, or a quote, whatever. And, instead of typing, then apply a style, or chosing a style, then type, it would be much better (more practical) to have the word processor open in command mode, waiting for a command, for example “T” for a title, “t” for a subtitle, “l” for a line, “q” for a quote, “p” for a paragraph, “a” for append, “i” for insert (I’m a VIM user), etc.. Once the command issued, it would go in edition mode, automatically applying the corresponding style, going back to command mode when hitting “Enter”, waiting for the next command. 2007-02-09 4:32 am A30Guy A quick look at Word 2007 and 2003 shows that it is possible to assign a keyboard shortcut to a style, so that you can apply styles as you type. (I haven’t checked OpenOffice etc.) There are also keyboard shortcuts for ad-hoc formatting – Ctrl+B for Bold etc. In a text based environment it is logical to apply styles and formatting as you type. In a graphical environment it is more efficient to focus on the content without worrying about the format – letting the creative process flow. When the text is on the page you can then grab the mouse and apply your styles. This also has the added benefit of allowing the hands to rest from typing while using the mouse. Different techniques for different environments. 2007-02-09 11:59 am Manik I know about the keyboard shortcuts to apply Bold, Italic, Underline… but it’s very limited, since that’s all you can do while typing. I want more. I didn’t know about Word 2003 and 2007. That’s interesting. Thank you for the info. Unfortunately, I don’t know of a standalone version for OS X. I use Pages. At least, I can use multiple selections to apply styles. But the problem is that you have to go back anyway to apply your styles, when it could be done during the creative process (I rest my hands enough while I’m thinking about how to translate my ideas to the paper, no need to have a mouse party for that ;-). In fact, we don’t process words. We create documents. And we know beforehand what we’re going to do. Hence, the first thing the application should ask us is “What kind of document do you want to create now ?” Then “What do you want to do ?” (waiting for instructions in command mode). I want a more interactive application, and I think there is too much unused potential in word processors as we know them. LaTeX, ConTeXT, all the TeX derivatives and LyX (document processors) are better than word processors. The ideal for me would be a LyX, but one you could say what you’re doing without having to use the mouse, in the flow of the creative process : a LyX with a command mode, WYSIWYG ! This is my idea of the perfect word, or better said document processor. Now, it’s probably a stupid idea : I have never met someone agreeing with me, or showing the slightest interest for such an application ! 2007-02-09 5:27 am ubit ” I’ve used OpenOffice.org on Windows, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuSE, Solaris and FreeBSD; it is slow, buggy and crash prone no matter what platform it is run on – for me, the only office suite that quite frankly has hope is KOffice; its properly integrated into the desktop, its lightweight in regards to responsiveness and memory use – if it received more support and more development effort, it could easily over take OpenOffice.org in terms of features without adding to the excessive bloat which OpenOffice has. ” I agree, I think KOffice could be much better than OO.org soon. FIrst of all, it has ODF support, so hopefully that OOXML->ODF converter will help there in MS Word compatibility. Secondly, it will have lots of new stuff like a grammar checker in KDE4 (Elixir, also available to Abiword) and that Sonnet language recognition stuff, and thirdly, will (should?) be cross-platform. And then of course the speed and modularity benefits vs OO.org. 2007-02-09 7:47 pm elsewhere I agree, I think KOffice could be much better than OO.org soon. FIrst of all, it has ODF support, so hopefully that OOXML->ODF converter will help there in MS Word compatibility. Secondly, it will have lots of new stuff like a grammar checker in KDE4 (Elixir, also available to Abiword) and that Sonnet language recognition stuff, and thirdly, will (should?) be cross-platform. And then of course the speed and modularity benefits vs OO.org. The killer feature in KOffice KWord for me is the ability to open and modify pdf files. OOo2 needs a tear-down/rebuild, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen; there’s an army of engineers involved just keeping the current version moving. To me it’s biggest handicap is that it utilizes it’s own toolkit, likely a holdover from the time when neither Gtk or Qt was developed to the extent they are today, and probably made sense in terms of cross-platform compatibility. It keeps OOo2 from looking right in pretty much any environment, contributes to the bloat/slow loading and (I’m guessing) limits their ability to leverage features in the underlying enivronment. I understand that with 2.1 they’ve done some work to modularize the code base which should help speed up or at least simplify improvements, efficiencies etc. but I suspect that’s a bandaid to a bigger problem. KOffice, on the other hand, hooks into Qt and many of the cool improvements coming for KOffice 2.0 are tied into new features Trolltech has added to Qt. Although KOffice lacks the featureset of OOo2, it does have some cool additions of it’s own, but perhaps more importantly, is developing at a pace that exceeds any other OSS office suite with a relatively fewer number of developers. That’s the advantage of leveraging the work of the underlying platform rather than creating everything from scratch. The Suite is also very full featured, from image editing (Krita is fast becoming a killer-app for KDE in it’s own right), database requirements, project management, charting etc. And with 2.0, it looks like a lot of those apps will feature even better integration in terms of embedding elements together. To me the whole point of Suite is integration, otherwise it’s simply a collection of standalone apps. Having said all that, I’m still required to use OOo2 or Office for my document handling. The majority of document work I do is for work, and KOffice’s poor MS-Office compatibility (for reason’s I understand, even if they don’t make me feel better) is too big an inhibitor. As well, KCalc isn’t robust enough to deal with some of the large spreadsheets I work with. I’m optimistically hopeful that the availability of KOffice 2.0 on Win will help attract more developers to the project, as well as some better document interoperability. Regardless, I still prefer it now for self-contained document work. 2007-02-09 11:18 am AKuch Well, you are right when talking about “coding”. But it’s a problem of sophisticated layouts (for example I prepare books of 500+ pages with custom layout, tables and thousands of footnotes: believe me, it IS heavy coding using many packages — libraries you would say). But on the other side when you begin preparing your text with the very basic LaTeX — to be learned in one evening — and maybe one, two packages, e.g. geometry and fancyheaders, you assimilate a lot of very good typographic customs and rules, and more you use it, more you see all the annoyances — and obvious errors — of We-Know-Better-What-You-Need wordprocessors. Believe me, learning the principles of a good typographic design is very good lesson, you will never miss the time spent on it. Greets. A. 2007-02-09 12:27 pm macisaac the review brings up this point for office 2007, contextual spelling. I have 07 running on this machine, but haven’t really used it much to tell if I like it or not, so I didn’t know about this feature. tried it, wow. don’t know how they do it, it would certainly seem a lot harder to correctly guess the context of words that simple dictionary lookups for spelling, but they pull it off. I’m pretty impressed. (for those who didn’t read the article: “win or loose. I have a pear of pants” loose and pear would get flagged as contextual errors. nifty.) 2007-02-09 4:16 pm RandomGuy Yes, that’s pretty cool. I wonder how they implemented it. One possible solution would be to take texts of high quality and analyse which words appear close to each other frequently. Then check if the word the user just typed is similar to one that appears a lot more often in the same context. It is also possible that they manually implemented some checks. You should be able to tell the difference between the two approaches by checking how “smart” or “dumb” they seem to behave in certain situations. The former approach would certainly seem to somehow “understand” what you are typing and behave a lot smarter. 2007-02-12 12:17 am StephenBeDoper That’s pretty nifty. Finally fixes one of the favourite complaints of a luddite friend of mine who teaches English in a university: that most spell/grammar checkers assume that that “which” must be preceded by a comma. 2007-02-09 3:23 pm devurandom Hasn’t someone still nailed how bad,bad,bad is the revision control in MS Word? It is so horrible that I make a stand that when I have to exchange .doc files with my collegues (I have to, sigh), I ask them to avoid the revision control at all, and if they don’t, I just accept all revisions and start from there. The revision control of Word becomes a total mess after less than two revisions, and the graphical interface with ballons which shows them is horrendous. If they plan to make a new interface (a two-pages diff view, side by side, for example), I could consider it back a feature. For now, to me it is a bug. 2007-02-09 4:50 pm sappyvcv To each his own. I love the revision control in Office 2007. 2007-02-10 12:03 pm devurandom genuine question: how it’s different from the previous one? 2007-02-09 4:52 pm tryphcycle all this chatter about “the best” word processor is making me sick! NONE of these apps are worth a dame! as far as i am concerned… adobe makes BY FAR the worlds best “word processor” InDesign BLOW all of these other app so far out of the water… is embarrassing! 2007-02-09 6:51 pm AKuch InDesign + InCopy as a preprocessor — feature rich text editor. I do agree, every time I use InDesign I feel like driving exclusive Jaguar or Mercedes 600, but, as far as I understand the idea of wordprocessors mentioned here, all the buzz is about “typography for masses” for less than $1000 per workstation. It is something similar to photo cameras market: thousands of cameras producers tend to reach the level, which is very basic and natural for Nikon or Leica. 2007-02-09 5:35 pm Devilotx screw that, just give me vi in the bash shell and I’m happy. Otherwise Kwrite and gedit work fine for me, I don’t need a “suite” just something to do text editing… 2007-02-09 7:42 pm PowerMacX What I *really* dislike about OO.org is the ugly, bizarre dictionary/thesaurus/etc. installer. And the fact that: 1. I never got it to work, in none of the 3 machines I installed it in (Win XP): it *says* it installed everything correctly, the dictionaries do appear in the preferences, but the spellchecker just plain doesn’t do anything. 2. I still haven’t figured out how to assign a language to a selected text, and choosing a language for an entire document doesn’t seem to work either. OO.org takes forever to open for the first time, and takes way too long to save documents on my machine, but I really wouldn’t mind all that much if at least I could use the spell checker in more than one language (ideally on the same document). Any suggestions? (already tried googling for it) 2007-02-09 8:11 pm systyrant Since everybody has written it off. I use WordPerfect daily with my job and I find it to be outstanding. I’ll admit that version 11 sucked, but 12 was better and X3 is an improvement on that. Sadly, like Microsoft Office, most people have their minds already set against it and refuse to even try it. Worse yet they try it out and immediately hate it because it’s not Microsoft Office. Assuming you are a person that does a lot of formatting with a word processors you probably already know that OpenOffice comes up lacking in this area. Don’t get me wrong it’s not horrible, but WordPerfect beats it hands down. Please don’t think I’m bashing OpenOffice because I keep a copy of it handy always. It does a much better job of opening Word documents. WordPerfect is a great app, but it’s not perfect. PDF export does still have some problems with special formatting and Word document importing sucks. Lest we forget that WordPerfect will never probably have real Unicode support. All in all WordPerfect is a great word processor and is a true WYSIWYG word processor. So much so that actually changing printer can alter the way the document looks. 2007-02-10 8:51 pm ramius I agree. I am a long time WP user and the majority of my documents are still in wpd format. That said, I also use/test out a variety of other ones as well. I really like Word 2007 which is amazing since I consider the previous versions totally unintuative (probably because I came from WP). I like the layout and for me it just makes sense much along the lines on WP’s layout. Is it perfect? No, but what really is these days? I have never really been able to get into OOo/StarOffice. It has some nice stuff, but it’s just not for me. Another word processor I really like is TextMaker 2006. It does an incredible job of opening the word documents I encounter as well as saving them. It’s light and fast. It’s my day to day word processor. Of course that may change once I get my volume license keys for Office 2007, but I figure I will still be using is quite a bit since it works on Windows and BSD/Linux. 2007-02-11 2:23 am systyrant I’ll have to check TextMaker out. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about the ribbon in Word. However, with product activation and OGA along with Words new XML format I’m gonna continue to pass. If I’d never used WordPerfect and didn’t do much more than simple document formatting I would probably find OpenOffice to be quite good, but because I do I find it lacking in those areas. Not that it can’t do quite a bit of formatting, but just not what I want it to. 2007-02-09 8:17 pm systyrant This is something that the article doesn’t really address because it wasn’t the point of the article, but your word processor needs plays a big factor in your decision. One of the things to consider is that even though you may not need anything more than WordPad you may have need for a particular program such as a DMS that would require Microsoft Office or WordPerfect or even OpenOffice. More over you may be using a specialized program that only support Word or WordPerfect (something I’m faced with). I figure you all see my point. Simply choosing an application because it’s free or because you like it better isn’t always in the cards for everybody. It’s like choosing Linux over Windows. If it were that simple, as some claim it to be, then I’m sure Linux would have at least 50% of the market share. The same goes for word processing applications. Sometimes the chose to use Word or even WordPerfect is an emotion one and other times it’s based on need and requirements. Just wanted to point that out. 2007-02-09 11:05 pm deathshadow Does OoO still kern text like a sweetly retarded crack addict?