AbiWord is a Free Word Processor for Windows, Linux, and Mac

Sometimes you need a word processing application but not an entire office suite. Today we take a look at AbiWord which is a free word processor for all three major OS platforms.
Using AbiWord
During installation make sure to associate it with doc and RTF files if you want to be able to open up Word documents from others. From here you can also scroll down in the components window and select from several language dictionaries.

The layout is similar to other word processing apps and is easy to use.

You can set up extra toolbars for easier editing and document creation.

AbiWord is multi-platform and here is an example of it running in Ubuntu Linux.

A cool thing about AbiWord is there are several plugins available to increase its functionality. Get the Importer / Exporter plugin pack to Install Microsoft Office Open XML which allows you to open up DOCX files.

In the Tools plugin pack you can add several features to help in document creation and research.

If you want to create documents quickly turn to the included templates.

For example this is what the employee directory template looks like.

AbiWord is a good solution if you need a word processing program, but don’t need an entire suite. It is light on system resources and with the plugins, has plenty of options for creating quality documents. It will save to several different types of document formats as well, which makes interchanging with MS Word or Open Office easy. It is also available in a portable version which is perfect for netbooks.
Download AbiWord for Windows, Mac, or Linux

The Best Free Text Editors for Windows, Linux, and Mac

We all use text editors to take notes, save web addresses, write code, as well as other uses. Every operating system comes with a default, basic text editor, but most of us install our own enhanced text editors to get more features.
In this article, we’ve gathered links to many different text editors used for different purposes. You can use text editors for basic text editing and taking notes, writing programming code, producing LaTeX documents, writing a book, among many other uses.


Notepad and WordPad Replacements

Are you looking for more capabilities than the default Notepad in Windows? Would you rather use a graphical text editor in Linux, rather than the built-in vi? There are many options for useful text editors out there.
Some employ a tabbed interface, such as Jarte (which is based on the WordPad word processing engine and integrates easily with WordWeb), EditPad Lite (which also has the automatic backup), and Notetab Light (which can also calculate the value of mathematical expressions entered in the program). Jarte, EditPad Lite, and Notetab Light are all only available for Windows. Jarte is also available as a portable program.
Typically, Vi is the default text editor in Linux operating systems and it’s a keyboard intensive program with no graphical user interface (GUI). A good text editor for Windows that has hotkeys available for its 312 text-processing functions, innovative features, and timesaving tools is TED Notepad, which is also available as a portable program. Emacs is also available for both Windows and Linux, and is customizable. It also includes a file compare utility and a file manager. You can also add Org-mode to Emacs, which is a personal information management and outlining tool. If you prefer text editors with GUIs, Vim and gEdit are both good options and are available. Vim is essentially the graphical version of Vi. For help editing text files in Vi or Vim, see our Beginner’s Guide.
GetDiz is a Notepad replacement for Windows that allows you to edit many text files quickly from within Windows Explorer and has enhanced functionality for dealing with DIZ and NFO files. It can also display ASCII art correctly. Another ASCII text formatter for Windows is TextMorph, which can also convert text to and from HTML and clean up emails (remove all the “>” symbols, etc.), and search and replace by words or multiple paragraphs.

Programmer’s Text Editors

There are many text editors that provide useful functionality for programmers. Most support syntax highlighting for many programming languages, multiple document editing, and are extendable with plugins. Some also allow editing of remote files through FTP.
PSPad not only supports syntax highlighting, but also matching bracket highlighting for most popular programming languages. It also has a hex editor, macro recorder, and a differencing tool. PSPad also easily integrates with the free version of the TopStyle CSS editor. Notepad++ also supports bracket highlighting and macro recording. It also supports syntax folding and is highly customizable through plugins using the included plugin manager. Both PSPad and Notepad++ are only available for Windows.
The cross-platform (Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X) editor, jEdit, supports syntax highlighting for over 200 programming languages and auto indent, as well as a differencing utility, an FTP browser, and block selecting. It is also extendable using plugins and macros, and there are hundreds of plugins and macros available through the built-in plugin manager feature.
Programmer’s Notepad for Windows supports syntax highlighting using schemes, both built-in and user-defined, code folding and outlining, a tabbed interface with multi-level split views, and the ability to export to HTML (using CSS) and RTF.
If you like the Vi editor in Linux, but prefer a graphical editor that also serves well as a programmer’s text editor, Editra and Komodo Edit are good options. They both provide Vi emulation, as well as support for syntax highlighting in many programming languages and code folding. Editra has a tabbed interface, allows block (un)commenting and (un)indenting, and is extendable using the built-in plugin downloader/installer. Komodo Edit supports background syntax checking and contains a toolbox with shell command integration, macros, and code snippets. Both Editra and Komodo Edit are available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
Other options include the following:

  • Crimson Editor – A very small editor for Windows containing a directory tree view window
  • Geany – A small and fast IDE for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X that supports code folding, code navigation, a build system, and a plugin interface
  • Notepad2 – A fast, light-weight text editor like Notepad for Windows with syntax highlighting and runs as a portable program

Microsoft Word Replacements

There are also free programs that act as replacements for Microsoft Word. They can be used as text editors, but they have more formatting features than simple text editors. You can add images and tables, change fonts and color, and insert hyperlinks.
AbiWord runs on Windows and Linux and can read and write OpenOffice.org documents, Microsoft Word documents, WordPerfect documents, Rich Text Format documents, and HTML web pages. It has advanced document layout options such as tables, bullets, numbered lists, images, styles, footnotes, and endnotes. It even has a Mail Merge utility like Microsoft Word. You can extend AbiWord with a variety of plugins, which can be selected when you install AbiWord. A portable version is also available that you can run from a USB flash drive.
Angel Writer is a small rich text editor for Windows with a high performance rate that allows you to easily create impressive documents.

Minimalist Text Editors

If you get distracted when you write by the plethora of features in text editors and word processors, you might want to try one of the so-called “minimalist” text editors out there. They are “no-frills” editors that either don’t offer any formatting features or many of the other features of modern word processors, and even third-party text editors, or the features are hidden until you want them. Without all the fancy features staring you in the face, you can concentrate on the task of writing. Below is a list of some of the minimalist text editors we found.

  • Dark Room– Available for Windows, requires .NET Framework 2.0, and is available as a portable program.
  • JDarkRoom– Available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X
  • Q10– Available for Windows and as a portable program
  • CopyWriter– Available for Windows and as a portable program
  • WriteMonkey– Available for Windows and as a portable program
  • Bookwrite– Available for Windows and Linux
  • Scribes– Available for Linux
  • FocusWriter – Available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, and as a portable program for Windows

You can even download Word 5.5 from Microsoft for free and run it under DOSBox in Windows.
If you want a simple text editor with the ability to count down from a set word count, try yEdit2 for Windows. If you have to write a certain number of words, yEdit2 can make it easier.

Secure Text Editors

You can also use a text editor as secure place to store private information. There are several text editors that either include encryption as a feature or are specially designed for securely storing text. Notepad++, mentioned in the Programmer’s Text Editors section above, allows you to add encryption functionality using the SecurePad plugin, which is available through the Plugin Manager. SecurePad will encrypt selected text in the current document or the whole document.
Steganos LockNote is a small, simple method for securely storing chunks of information in files. For example, if you purchase a download-only program, you can use LockNote to store the product key or serial number that goes with that program in the same folder, so you always know where to find it.

  • CryptNote – Available for Windows and as a portable program
  • CryptoTE– Available for Windows and Linux, and as a portable program for Windows
  • NotepadCrypt– Available for Windows as a portable program
  • Xint– Available for Windows
  • f0dder’s fSekrit – Available for Windows and as a portable program

LaTeX Editors

Do you write a lot of scientific papers, documents, or books? If so, there are several text editors that allow you to easily use TeX/LaTeX (document markup language and document preparation system) through a graphical interface to create mathematical content and structured documents like academic articles, theses, and books.

  • LaTeX Editor (LEd)– Available for Windows and as a portable program
  • LyX– Available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X
  • WinEdt– Available for Windows
  • TeXstudio– Available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X and as a portable program on Windows and Mac OS X
  • Texmaker – Available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X

Novel Writing Editor

There’s even an editor that’s meant for writing novels, called yWriter5, available for Windows and Linux. It breaks your novel into chapters and scenes, helping you to keep track of your work. However, yWriter5 does not suggest plot ideas, character names, or write any part of your novel for you. The creative task of writing is still up to you, yWriter5 just makes it easier.

One more text editor to mention is Nano in Linux, which is an easy-to-use text editor you run directly on the command line. Nano is installed by default in Ubuntu and many other Linux distros, and is easier to learn than Vi or emacs.

How to Disable Game Center on Your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Apple’s Game Center is included on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It’s a social gaming service for games on Apple’s platforms. With Game Center, you might see friend invites, game invites, and other notifications — but you can disable all that and never see a Game Center notification again.
You can sign out of Game Center, although some games may require it. Either way, it’s possible to disable game invites, friend requests, and notifications — all the ways Game Center can pester you.


iPhone and iPad

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The Game Center app is part of the iOS operating system, and — like all Apple’s included apps — can’t be removed. Of course, you can hide it in a folder so you’ll never have to see it.
To actually modify Game Center settings, open the main Settings app. Scroll down and tap “Game Center” under iTunes U. To sign out of Game Center entirely, tap the “Apple ID:” field at the top of the screen and tap “Sign Out.”
You might want to stay logged into Game Center, however — some games you might want to play require it. But you might not want to see game invites, friend requests, and other notifications.
To disable invites, uncheck “Allow Invites” and “Nearby Players” on the Game Center settings screen. To disable friend recommendations using your contacts, disable the “Contacts” and “Facebook” options.
To disable all Game Center notifications, open the Settings app and tap “Notifications” near the top. Scroll down to the “Game Center” app in this list, tap it, and disable the “Allow Notifications” slider.

Mac OS X

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On a Mac, the Game Center app is included with Mac OS X. As of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, this app is protected with System Integrity Protection and can’t normally be deleted.
To launch it, click the “Launchpad” icon on your dock and click “Game Center,” or press Command+Space to open Spotlight search, type “Game Center,” and press Enter.
To sign out of Game Center, just click the Account menu and select “Sign Out.” Game Center won’t be signed in with your Apple ID anymore, so you won’t see notifications, invites, friend requests, and other Game Center things.

You could also customize what Game Center can do. From within the Game Center app, click the “Account” menu and select “Settings.” From here, you can disable game invites — uncheck “Allow Invites” and “Nearby Players.” You can also uncheck “Contacts” and “Facebook” to prevent Game Center from recommending other accounts you should be friends with based on your contacts.

You can also prevent the Game Center app from showing you notifications entirely. Click the Apple menu, select “System Preferences,” and click “notifications to access notification settings — or click the gear icon at the bottom-right corner of the Notification Center pane. Click “Game Center” in the list, select “None” for the type of notification you want to see, and disable all the options here so you won’t see any notifications.

You might want to leave Game Center enabled while hiding your activity from your contacts and preventing the from inviting you. To do this, you could sign out of Game Center — on iOS, Mac, or both — and sign in with a new Apple ID.
You could create a new Apple ID just for Game Center, as you can be logged into Game Center with an Apple ID separate from the one you use for other Apple apps on your device. That’s your choice.

Forget Bing: How to Use Google Everywhere on Your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Apple has been frantically removing Google from their operating systems. Siri and Spotlight search with Bing by default, and there are rumors they’ll make Yahoo! or Bing the default search engine in Safari next.
For those of us who just think Google is the better search engine, all this deep integration of competing search engines is obnoxious. Here’s how to get Google back.


Siri on Your iPhone or iPad

Siri prefers searching the web with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, and just speaking a search aloud or saying “search” followed by your search will cause Siri to consult Bing.
But you can have Siri perform Google searches, too. When talking to Siri, just start with the word “Google” followed by what you want to search for. Siri will then perform your search with Google. So, instead of saying “vacation destinations” or “search for vacation destinations,” you’d say “Google vacation destinations.”
If Siri ever makes it to the Mac, this same trick should work on your Mac. This is possible because you can direct Siri to perform your search in specific places. For example, you could say “wolfram alpha” followed by a question for Wolfram Alpha, and Siri would ask Wolfram Alpha as you instructed. Siri normally attempts to automatically guess the best place to direct your search, and she always thinks Bing is better than Google.

Spotlight on Your Mac

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The web search feature introduced in Spotlight on Mac OS X Yosemite uses Bing, not Google. Apple hasn’t added an official plug-in system to Spotlight, so you’re limited to just the few services they provide.
Flashlight solves this, reverse-engineering Spotlight to add a plug-in system that lets you do anything you want. Install Flashlight and enable the Google plug-in. You’ll then be able to pull up Spotlight with Command+Space and type “g Search” to quickly perform a search on Google instead of just relying on Bing.

Spotlight on Your iPhone or iPad

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Spotlight on iOS — you know, the search feature that appears when you swipe your finger down on the home screen — also relies on Bing for web search results, in theory.
For now, you can type a search into Spotlight and then tap “Search Web” to perform a Google search for it in your web browser.
If Apple removes this option and forces it to use Bing like Spotlight on Mac OS X, you may just want to pull up your browser and use it to start web searches instead.

Safari on Your Mac

Apple hasn’t yet swapped out Google as its default search engine in the Safari web browser, although this feels like only a matter of time.
If they do — or if someone else has changed the default search engine on your browser — you can quickly change it back. Open Safari, click the Safari menu on the bar at the top of your screen, and click Preferences. Click the Search icon and select Google (or another search engine you prefer) in the drop-down box.

Safari on Your iPhone or iPad

The Safari browser on iPhones and iPads works similarly. Open the Settings app, scroll down, and tap the Safari category. Tap the Search Engine option and select Google (or your preferred search engine.)
If you use Chrome or another web browser, you’ll need to change that browser app’s settings to select your preferred search engine. The setting here only applies to Safari.

Google Apps on Your iPhone and iPad

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Apple has also frantically been stripping other Google services out of iOS, replacing Google Maps with its own Maps app. If you depend on Google services like Maps, Gmail, and others, you can install Google’s various apps from the App Store.
Apple doesn’t allow you to change your default apps in a system-wide way, but there are still ways to stick with the apps you prefer. For example, tapping a map link in the Gmail or Chrome apps will open that map in the Google Maps app, not Apple Maps. Follow our guide to working around the lack of system-wide default-app options on iOS if you prefer using Google’s services.

The Services Menu on Your Mac

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The little-known Services menu on Mac OS X allows you to search from Google anywhere, too.
Simply select some text in any application, right-click or Control-click it, point to Services, and select “Search with Google.” You can also just press the customizable keyboard shortcut to instantly perform a Google search for the selected text anywhere. If Services doesn’t appear in the context menu, you can click the application’s name on the menu bar at the top of your screen, point to Services, and click the “Search with Google” option here.
This is such a long-standing, little-known feature that Apple hasn’t even bothered adding “Search with Bing” here yet. Follow our guide to managing and using Services if you don’t see it — you may need to enable it.

No, this isn’t some paid advertisement for Google. If you prefer Bing, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, or another search engine, go ahead and keep using it. But these tricks can help those of us who prefer Google stay sane when using Apple products. You can even use many of the tricks above to select other search engines.

How (and Why) to Change Your MAC Address on Windows, Linux, and Mac

Each network interface on your computer or any other networked device has a unique MAC address. These MAC addresses are assigned in the factory, but you can change, or “spoof,” MAC addresses in software.
MAC stands for “media access control.” MAC addresses are also commonly referred to as physical addresses or hardware addresses, because they correspond to a hardware adapter.

What MAC Addresses Are Used For

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In addition to their core networking use, MAC addresses are often used for other purposes:

  • Static IP Assignment: Routers allow you to assign static IP addresses to your computers. When a device connects, it always receives a specific IP address if it has a matching MAC address
  • MAC Address Filtering: Networks can use MAC address filtering, only allowing devices with specific MAC addresses to connect to a network. This isn’t a great security tool because people can spoof their MAC addresses.
  • MAC Authentication: Some Internet service providers may require authentication with a MAC address and only allow a device with that MAC address to connect to the Internet. You may need to change your router or computer’s MAC address to connect.
  • Device Identification: Many airport Wi-Fi networks and other public Wi-Fi networks use a device’s MAC address to identify it. For example, an airport Wi-Fi network might offer a free 30 minutes and then ban your MAC address from receiving more Wi-Fi. Change your MAC address and you could get more Wi-Fi. (Free, limited Wi-Fi may also be tracked using browser cookies or an account system.)
  • Device Tracking: Because they’re unique, MAC addresses can be used to track you. When you walk around, your smartphone scans for nearby Wi-Fi networks and broadcasts its MAC address. A company named Renew London used trash bins in the city of London to track people’s movements around the city based on their MAC addresses. Apple’s iOS 8 will use a random MAC address each time it scans for nearby Wi-Fi networks to prevent this sort of tracking.

Bear in mind that each network interface has its own MAC address. So, on a typical laptop with both a Wi-Fi radio and a wired Ethernet port, the wireless and wired network interface each have unique, separate MAC addresses.


Most network cards will allow you to set a custom MAC address from their configuration panes in the Device Manager, although some network drivers may not support this feature.
First, open the Device Manager. On Windows 8.1, press Windows Key + X and click Device Manager. On Windows 7, press the Windows key, type “Device Manager” to search for it, and click Device Manager.
Locate the network interface you want to modify under Network Adapters, right-click it, and select Properties.

Click the Advanced tab and select Network Address in the list. Your network driver doesn’t support this feature if the option isn’t here.
Enable the Value option and enter your desired MAC address without any separating characters — don’t use dashes or colons. Click OK afterward.


Modern Linux distributions like Ubuntu typically use Network Manager, which provides a graphical way to spoof a MAC address.
For example, on Ubuntu you’d click the network icon on the top panel, click Edit Connections, select the network connection you want to modify, and click Edit. On the Ethernet tab, you’d enter a new MAC address under “Cloned MAC address” and save your changes.

You can also do this the old-fashioned way. This involves taking the network interface down, running a command to change its MAC address, and then bringing it back up. Be sure to replace “eth0” with the name of the network interface you want to modify and enter the MAC address of your choice:

sudo ifconfig eth0 down
sudo ifconfig eth0 hw ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
sudo ifconfig eth0 up

You’ll have to modify the appropriate configuration file under /etc/network/interfaces.d/ or the /etc/network/interfaces file itself if you want this change to always take effect at boot time. If you don’t, your MAC address will be reset when you restart.

Mac OS X

Mac OS X’s System Preferences pane displays each network interface’s MAC address, but doesn’t allow you to change it. You can do so with a single command.
Open a Terminal window (press Command + Space, type Terminal, and press Enter.) Run the following command, replacing en0 with the network interface’s name and filling in your own MAC address:

sudo ifconfig en0 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx

The network interface will generally be either en0 or en1, depending on whether you want to configure a Mac’s Wi-Fi or Ethernet interface. Run the ifconfig command to see a list of interfaces if you’re not sure of the appropriate network interface’s name.

As on Linux, this change is temporary and will be reset when you next reboot. You’ll need to use a script that automatically runs this command on boot if you’d like to permanently change your Mac address.

You can verify your change took effect by running a command that shows your network connection details and checking what MAC address your network interface reports afterwards. On Windows, run the ipconfig /all command in a Command Prompt window. On Linux or Mac OS X, run the ifconfig command.
If you need to change the MAC address on your router, you’ll find this option in your router’s web interface.