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FAQ: Supported Word Processing Formats

(Duplicate Question)

Q: Does AbiWord support other file formats? (Can it import files from, for example, WordPerfect?)

A: Yes. Yes.


Some formats are supported by plugins, some formats are supported "natively" by AbiWord. This page includes *drafts* of two lists to show the formats supported natively (i.e., without plugins) — one for the stable series (1.0.x) and one for the development series (1.99.x).

For additional formats supported via plugins, see PluginMatrix#Import_Export_Filters.

To answer the specific question about Word Perfect, Word Perfect is supported via plugins — see PluginMatrix#Import_Export_Filters.

_Here are the start of two lists — as Im not currently using AbiWord, Im not sure that these lists are 100% accurate — please correct them as appropriate._

Lists of Natively Supported Formats

Formats Supported Natively by AbiWord Stable Series (1.0.x)

  • native AbiWord (.abw)
  • AbiWord template file (.awt)
  • others <anybody: if you know what they are, please add them>

Formats Supported Natively by AbiWord Development Series (1.99.x)

  • native AbiWord (.abw)
  • AbiWord template file (.awt)
  • GZipped AbiWord (.gabw)
  • Rich text format (.rtf)
  • Rich text format for old applications (.rtf) (??)
  • XHTML 1.0 (.html)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc) (Im not clear on what version(s) are supported)
  • Text (.txt, .text)
  • Encoded text (.txt, .text)

Caveats re the Lists

_I found these by looking at the Save As options on a fairly recent (but not the latest) version from the development series. (About AbiWord says 1.9.0, but Im almost certain its really more recent than that.)_

_Also, Im not clear on what some of them mean — whats the difference between text and encoded text — if you (anybody) can provide a brief explanation, or a link to an explanation (or both) that would be good. (Maybe the brief explanations should be on separate TWiki pages, we can move them later if you choose not to do it at first, or, do it now by just forcing a link by, for example, enclosing "Encoded text" in double square brackets.)_

_Encoded text includes filters that allow the use of additional (mainly asian) character sets.)_

Other Tidbits

Some interesting tidbits from the mail lists:

Supporting OASIS / XML Format

In this email the question was asked whether AbiWord would support the standard XML format for office documents being developed by the OASIS consortium, or better yet make it the default.

Dom answered that AbiWord does have plugins to support the Open Office format, but AbiWord would be more likely to make .doc/.rtf the default if it changed the default, but, see next item.

Dom also said:

However, its possible for users to make any file format the default one via editing a single line in their preferences schema. It is also possible for any distributor of AbiWord to make a similar change by changing a single line in the AbiWord source.

All Formats are "Native" ;-)

In the same email mentioned in the previous item, Dom explained that in one sense, all AbiWord formats are native (my words, not sure Dom would say it quite the same way) — this is what Dom did say:

Finally, our inport/export "filters" dont take an AbiWord file and do something akin to an XSLT transformation on them. They all serialize AbiWords internal state (Piece Table). Some filters do it better than others. Not all file formats are created equal. Only one of them will/can ever be perfect at serializing/deserializing the AbiWord Piece Table, and that is the ABW filter. And perfection is something that should be strived for. Dataloss is simply unacceptable.

In a followup in the same thread somebody (not sure of attribution) cited one problem common to creating a common format (aside, IIUC, I believe Word(97) handles margins as a section property, like AbiWord):

In AbiWord, margins are a section property. In OpenOffice.org, margins are a paragraph property. Its an open question which one is better (I prefer the AbiWord implementation, personally): but the fact remains that you cant map one representation onto another seamlessly (from abw->sxw, you have to keep track of margin state, and set it for each paragraph, from sxw->abw, you have to keep track of margin state, and create a new section whenever it changes).

Page Status

Clearly, this page is ready for refactoring. Anybody?


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