February 23, 2019

The StartX Files: Word to the Wise: Wrapping Up and Picking a Winner - page 6

None Dare Call it Settling

  • November 30, 2001
  • By Brian Proffitt

Available from: http://www.koffice.org/
Version reviewed: KWord 1.1
Version currently available: KWord 1.1
License: GPL
Cost: Free

There is no denying that KWord (and the rest of the KOffice suite) has made some significant strides in its evolution to KOffice 1.1. The interface is well-integrated with the K Desktop Environment, as you would expect, and the application itself is fast and stable. However, there are still some outstanding concerns that need to be addressed.

From a tool level, this application is a bit on the light side when stacked up against contenders like OpenOffice and AbiWord. Right away, I had problems with the navigation icon bar that sits off to the left side of every KOffice screen to let you access either KOffice components or documents. This is a really good idea, but in practice it proved awkward, because in KWord there are additional tools over on the very far left of the screen. I clicked the navigation bar twice accidentally while working in KWord, and ended up with extra open documents that I did not need.

If you call up KWord separately, I have since discovered, this is not a problem.

Font support was okay, in that the fonts were anti-aliased as they should be. But the display was really small by default. Trying to read 10-point type at 100% was a squinting exercise. There are ways to adjust this (most notably by increasing the size of the default font in KDE), but a new user will balk at having to figure them out.

File management was one area where KWord seemed to do better at. Opening existing or creating new documents was a snap and easy to manage, as I really liked the comprehensive dialog KWord has to create new documents. I did find a glitch in the filtering process, however. Word documents could not be opened with the Open tool, but you could get them open with the New tool. According to KWord developer David Faure, this is due to a glitch if you have the binary that was compiled in kdelibs-2.1. He recommends that you recompile the app under kdelibs-2.2.

Speaking of filters, yes, KWord will open a Word document, and other proprietary formats as well--but it will just do that. Styles came across in name only and were not accurately conveyed in KWord. Revision marks and other collaborative features were also lost. Saving back to Word is impossible, as you can only save to KWord's format and AbiWord.

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