[Contributed by James] The software that a writer uses should not cause any headaches. It should be free and easy to use. Here are 10 of the best free document editing applications.
1. Zoho Writer [Web Based] Zoho Writer allows you to share your documents with the world. You can add headers and footers to your documents, receive an accurate word count, and use many of the features that you’re used to with the commercial word processing products. You can post your works to your blogs and save your documents in a variety of formats, including PDF.
2. Open Office Text Documents [Windows, Mac OS X, Linux] You can edit your documents with ease using Open Office. You can insert tables, change fonts and get an accurate word count on your files. This program excels at basic text editing. Open Office is open source, which means that new features are being added all the time.
3. KWord [Windows] KWriter strives to be as easy to use as possible. You can import content and let the text flow around it with just a few clicks. KOffice imports graphs and spreadsheets, allowing you to resize them quickly and accurately. KWriter is part of the KOffice suite of document editing software.
4. NeoOffice 3.1.1 [Mac OS X] NeoOffice based its applications on the Open Office package, creating a Mac OS X specific suite of tools for document editing. All of the toolbars have been reformatted for the Mac OS X, the program supports magnify and swipe gestures on the trackpad, and has a media browser for your use.
5. EditPad Lite [Windows] Edit Pad Lite is a minimalistic document editing tool which has unlimited undo and redo functions. The program allows you to open multiple documents and switch between tabs to work on them. It is free for non-commercial use, which makes it perfect for the hobby writer.
6. Google Docs [Web Based] With Google Docs, all of the standard word processing features are at your fingertips. You can highlight text with bold, italics or underline. There is a word count available. You can share your documents easily and save them in PDF format.
7. JDarkRoom [Windows, Mac OS X, Linux] This is a no frills minimalist document editing program. The interface looks like an old CRT screen, allowing you to type without the distractions of menus. It is more functional than Notepad, offering a word count feature and a word count goal. With this program, you are able to get all of the simple document editing done.
8. Bean [Mac OS X] Bean provides a live word count, a great feature for freelance writers. There is a slider bar with which to change the view, a page layout mode and many other salient features. It reads and writes in .rtf, .txt as well as .doc. You can export your documents as PDF files.
9. ThinkFree [Web Based] ThinkFree allows you to log in through your Gmail account. It will open all MS Office documents without the need for the Office suite. It will allow you to import and export your documents freely.
10. AbiWord [Windows, Mac OS X, Linux] AbiWord is a cross platform document layout program. It has advanced options like tables, bullets and footnotes. You can perform mail merges with this software. It is fully compatible with both OpenOffice and Word documents.
Each of these document editing applications allows you to create professional-quality work. All that is left is the wordsmithing.
As a tech writer, James has extensively used several of the tools above. He is an in house staff writer for a specialist supplier of franking machine ink cartridges in the UK. Check out their blog for more posts about art, design and media.