In addition to the ability to open and save as Microsoft Word files, the program offered by OpenOffice sports a user interface that bears a strong resemblance to its Microsoft counterpart making the learning curve nearly nonexistent, and the programmers actually make intuitive changes. Writer moves the ability to edit headers and footers to the insert menu from the view menu – a perpetually bizarre choice in Word. Writer's programmers also excised the obnoxious auto complete functions inherent in word where a simple tap of the enter key can produce an unwanted outline or worse.
Writer isn't perfect. Although it does include English spell-check (with more languages available to download and install), but grammatically challenged writers will have to make friends with a good proofreader since there isn't an available grammar checker. Some of the other features lack the same polish available in Word and WordPerfect and copy/paste can entail some formatting issues.
Writer exceeds expectations particularly for a donation supported word processing program. Check it out. It might not be enough to convince you to uninstall Office, but you might discover you only like Word because everyone else does. [OpenOffice.org]
-- Word Couter is a nifty little tool, which allows you to count the frequency of words appearing in a block of text. Seeing how many time the words demonstrates appears in that English lit paper has never been easier. The program allows for pasted text or an uploaded .txt file and organizes words alphabetically or by frequency. You'll still need a good thesaurus to figure out different ways to say 'improves,' but Word Counter gets you halfway. [Word Counter via Lifehacker]
-- The rewind button can be friend or nemesis while typing up transcripts depending on how quickly you can type. Listen and Write helps get those fingers moving quicker. Although the text can be a little dry - most articles are edited news stories – the content is interesting enough. Topics range from the plight of the honeybee to a selection from Anne of Green Gables, which is not for the slow-fingered. Articles are organized by length of repeatable segments. [Listen and Write via Lifehacker]