AbiWord is a free word processing program under the GPL which runs on Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, ReactOS, SkyOS, BeOS and other operating systems. AbiWord was originally started by SourceGear Corporation as the first component of AbiSuite, as an ambitious plan to create a full Office Suite that would be free software/open source software . SourceGear gradually moved to other business interests and the project is currently run entirely by a team of volunteer developers. AbiWord is part of GNOME Office, a collection of office applications with some degree of integration.
AbiWord Version 1.0 was released on April 18, 2002 and received praise for its speed and small size. However version 1.0 did not yet include support for table based layout, which many users considered an essential feature. Table support was finally included as planned for version 2.0, which was released on September 15, 2003.
AbiWord has several import/export filters including RTF, HTML, OpenOffice.org, Microsoft Word and LaTeX. The native file format uses XML, so documents written with the program are perceived to be a safe investment from a digital archiving perspective.
AbiWord has a very similar user interface to Microsoft Word to help make it easier for new users to migrate to Abiword. Although there are differences, the AbiWord developers aim to embrace and extend what has become a de facto standard in business, producing a better improved design.
AbiWord contains a Wikipedia plugin to look up an encyclopedic reference for a selected word.