Lighter weight word processor than LibreOffice?

I’m finding LibreOffice Write to be getting more and more obnoxious to use - mostly because it tries to hard to do everything FOR you, except if what it does isn’t what you want…

I do NOT want my word processor to do formatting for me!
I especially do NOT want it to CHANGE the format of things I’ve already done!
I don’t need to have to hunt through large numbers of icons, or 20 different menus to do simple things…

I find that I end up spending nearly as much or more time fighting with LO Write trying to get it to do what I want than I do actually writing…

In many ways the basic text editor is what I want, except that I want to be able to use multiple fonts, or things like bold and italics, etc. I’d almost like to have the same level or possibly just a bit more functionality than I get in the editors in a lot of different forum software… (like this one)

I haven’t seen any options for this kind of light weight program - it would be great if someone could just export one of the forum editors into a standalone program…

I would like to be able to save (preferably natively) in Open Document (.odt) format just so that if I do need more power for the occasional item, I can easily import it into LO Write.

Any suggestions?


For a time I used abiword as it looks and feels like libre office writer but smaller version, but having checked again this morning I see the product ended in 2019 with no website or updates.

I tend to use wps writer now

But have had some limits when wanting to share documents

The association I am a member of tends to use Google documents now so we can share files on line ease for all to update. Mainly sheets for calculations and tables as it is like excel.

Depends on how powerful you need to be and everybody’s demands are different, we only use about 10 % of any functionality with all the office apps.

Also with Google you must be on line to make it work


Have you tried a markup/down editor. I use ReText, it provides basic formatting, choice of fonts and export to pdf, html and odt. Cheers


That is almost a perfect description of what you can do with Markdown, It does bold, italics, headings, code blocks, tables, lists, and can import images.
There are several Markdown editors available that show a dual panel display of what you type in and the final product.
One of the best is called Remarkable.
The itsFOSS editor for replies and posts uses Markdown. It also allows HTML.

If you really want to completely separate writing the text from formatting, use Latex.


Thank you for the suggestions, I will definitely be looking at most of them… I would never use anything Google by choice since I don’t want to feed the marketers, but the markdown editors sound possibly like what I’m looking for…

Basically I do a lot of writing where a text editor is all I need for getting the words into the computer, but I want to be able to do bold or different font sizes / types for emphasis and organizing… I want to be able to do it as I’m typing, I don’t need the fancy formatting ability of Latex.


1 Like

You could also have a look at FreeOffice.

It’s a -somewhat- dumbed version of Softmaker Office suite.
Once a distro aimed for low-end hardware -now I forgot which it was- offered it as a default office suite.
I use both Libre Office, and Freeoffice: Textmaker is definitely better compatible with tricky MS Word documents, however, on the other hand I find Libre Office Impress more intuitive than Presentations, and sometimes even better compatible when showing a ppt.
Textmaker runs circles around LO Writer when loading huge (highly bloated with photos) documents, it also starts noticeably faster than Writer.
Based on my these expereinces I think it is lighter.
However, it’s proprietary, not a FOSS product.


Looking at the markdown editors, they look neat, but aren’t quite what I’m after, unfortunately… I am trying to keep with something that use .ODF format so that I can move it into LibreOffice easily if I have to. That also seems to knock out some of the other suggestions.

I have just downloaded AbiWord which I seem to have problems getting their official site to load, but is still in the Debian repo (which I prefer anyway)

At least the top interface looks more like what I want, will see how it does when I start trying to swap docs back and forth between it and LibreOffice…


You can move .pdf into LibreOffice
I personally prefer things that keep documents as a .txt file,
so I can read it with any editor or pager.


True, but going back and forth gets to be a problem… That is why I want to stick w/ just one file format that any program I use to work on a file can read and write to.


I dont think that universal format exists.
The closest would be an ascii file.

1 Like

True about that, but ascii doesn’t allow any other formatting… .ODF / Open Doc is at least an ISO standard, and isn’t MicroSoft…

FWIW, I just tried Abiword, and it opened a file that I’d created in Libre Office, and it took some battling to clean up all the unwanted formatting junk that LO had put in w/o converting it to Abiword junk, but I finally beat it into submission :nerd_face: I then did some added content and doing my own formatting, and opened it back up in LO, and it preserved everything, so at least a partial solution for now, though I may keep looking…



AbiWord could be for Rich Text Formatting.

ONLYOFFICE has good compatibility with MS Office and ODT documents.

1 Like

There’s always wordgrinder - it’s VERY light - text only (e.g. terminal)… Note it it’s does support formatting like in the old MS-DOS days with Wordstar, WordPerfect, DisplayWrite and Mcirosoft Word (not “winword”).

I think there’s also a “clone” Wordstar-eque WordTsar…

1 Like

Cool to get mentioned in the Weekly :nerd_face:- glad this seems to have gotten some interest… I’m sort of surprised that it isn’t an itch that someone w/ progamming chops (which I don’t have at all) has wanted to scratch - I can’t think I’m the only one that would want something like this…

Well, I finished editing my first document in AbiWord and while I had a lot of headaches beating all the efforts it made to format things for me into submission, and it does a few other things I don’t like, it is lighter than LibreOffice…

I think one of the things that is a big source of the pain is “Styles” that try to force a specified format onto whatever the program thinks you are trying to write… I can get that they may want to keep the formatting in a long document, or across a company, etc. consistent but why can’t I also have a way to say something like “NONE” or “Blank page” and let me do all the formatting myself without interference…

I also wish there was a simpler way to ‘bulk manage’ fonts… (not just in the word processor, but EVERYWHERE in the system where you can pick fonts!) I don’t speak anything other than English with a smattering of a few other Western European languages, so having all the fonts and character sets for other languages (African, Asian, Eastern Europe, etc…) is totally USELESS for me… So why should I have to wade through all these non-useful fonts??? We have Unifont specs, so why can’t we have a way to say never to show any character set EXCEPT the ones we actually use, and possibly a display only subset of the rest… (and I’d imagine a lot of other language speakers would feel the same way about Western fonts)

It would also be nice to have a short (under 10 entry?) list of ‘favorite fonts’, and possibly all the fonts actually used in the document being worked on, before the list of all the rest, just to make it easier to pick one…

OTOH, I do like having a WYSIWIG interface w/ a toolbar button set for doing stuff, it is much better than having to remember a bunch of formatting codes like the old WordStar / PC-Write and so forth…


1 Like

Abiword is still installable in the latest Ubuntu versions. I figured there weren’t any updates because it seems feature complete. :person_shrugging:t3: I still use Abiword for simple documents here and there. These days I mostly use Marker with Markdown. I still have a Markdown cheat sheet in plastic page protector. :nerd_face:

There is also Calligra Words. I have very little experience with using Calligra but it appears to be as full featured as Libre Office.

1 Like

Abiword is also still in the Debian repositories (including Trixie / Testing)…

OnlyOffice isn’t, for any version.


I imagine you would be able to construct a style which imposed practically nothing on your writing layout. If you want to write on an empty slate, why not create one.

Lyx is a wysiwyg editor for LaTeX. I haven’t used it myself, but it ought to do exactly what you want it to do and nothing else.


There are several nice editors available as front ends for LaTeX; I use Texstudio. I have no experience with other markup/down editors.

A frequent requirement is to be able to pass documents from one format to another, for example in a team where we don’t all know the same software. Libreoffice has an output filter that produces usable Tex markup, but it can’t import Tex. Tex - to - RTF converters don’t seem to work nowadays, and the usual advice is to compile the Tex to PDF and then convert that to a M$ Word format for which some offerings are free, at least on line.

One reason for playing this game is that LaTeX handles references (literature citations, figures, cross references, etc) by plain-text markup that are visible on the page and can’t go wrong with repeated editing. I found LibreOffice hopeless in that respect, and there is a strong case for having the bibliography as a separately-maintained plaintext file. The free version of Overleaf’s cloud LaTeX service has enough power for an individual; two people can work together and fight over the cursor! The two online editors are OK, though they don’t have all the convenient facilities of Texstudio and so on.

1 Like