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TextMaker Makes Strong Showing as Linux Word Processor - page 3

Fast and Easy, Too

  • July 3, 2003
  • By Rob Reilly

TextMaker's look and feel is like many other word processing programs, in Linux, as well as Windows. (As a matter of fact, TextMaker comes in a Windows version, too.) Softmaker uses task and object "strips" instead of task bars, but they are functionally the same thing. The layout of the TextMaker working screen is pretty standard with the usual groups of buttons at the top with line number, chapters, sections and columns at the bottom.

New documents are started in a straightforward fashion. Simply start the program and a clean edit screen will appear, all ready for you to start typing in your document. Likewise, if you want to edit a Microsoft file, click on File, then Open and select your .doc file. TextMaker also can pull in standard text files.

You can save files as native TextMaker (.tmd) format and as various flavors of Microsoft Word. Standard text (.txt) and HTML 4 formats are also supported. The native OpenOffice.org (.sxw) format is not supported, however, and doesn't even show up on the "view all files" list box.

TextMaker could be a reasonable HTML editor for an average person creating an occasional Web page or two. I found that the generated HTML tended to be pretty "wordy" as far as specifying fonts, font sizes and so on. And it didn't indent or group things like lists very well. I was happy to see a page printed from TextMaker (native format) looks almost identical to the same HTML formatted page displayed on a browser. Most other word processors produce HTML code that approximates the native printed document, but never really seems to get it quite right. Softmaker seems to have done a good job with their implementation.

One interesting use I found for TextMaker happened when I was cruising Web sites. Some Web sites offer various Word files as how-to's, product descriptions and general information about products. I configured Mozilla to view .doc files in TextMaker and now I can see Word files nearly instantly.

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