While I am happy with portable OpenOffice (POO) as my on-the-go office suite, POO does not correctly render some documents, including my courses’ syllabi. Because of that problem, I turned to portable AbiWord (PAW).
- Small: PAW requires 22MB of space
- Fast: it starts much quicker off a USB 2.0 key, compared to POO
- Simple and easy to use: the interface is very simple.
- Adequate features: I use it mostly to view documents and to write academic papers.
- Space saving: PAW can compress documents to save space
- Limited feature set: it does not bother me, but it is worth mentioning.
- Only word processing, not spreadsheet and presentation
After you download the .zip file from the website, unzip it to your USB key (or your local hard drive) and run the PortableAbiWord.exe file to start the program. Yes, it is that simple. The entire program is about 15MB, but in practice, it occupies a little more than 22MB.
Using the program
PAW starts up quickly on a USB 2.0 key with USB 2.0 highspeed port. On a slower USB 1.1 connection, it starts up much slower, but still very reasonable (about 15 seconds on my test machine).
The first thing you notice is the clean, elegant interface. PAW does not cluster its toolbars with tons of buttons. Instead, you will see only two rows of buttons: standard (new, open, save, …) and formatting (bold, italic, …). If you have been using Microsoft Word or other word processing applications, you should not have any problem using PAW. The feature set is adequate for academic writing with spelling, paragraph formatting and table support.
If you would like a lightweight word processor, you should give PAW a look. It is small enough to fit in my USB key, which is a big plus. If you want more feature, consider the full-featured version.
This entry linked to Wikispaces page (PortableApplications)