I really like LibreOffice however I'm having issues with it freezing up and I can't seem to start a new instance of the writer on multiple desktops (I'm using dwm and want several documents open).

For this reason, I need a writer application (don't use spreadsheets or presentations that much) that has all the features of LibreOffice but can be launched independently of other instances.

The features I require the most would be:

  • Rich text editing (bold/italics/fonts/font sizes/etc)
  • Ability to add headers and footers to pages
  • Ability to add formulas to pages (I'm sure this can be accomplished with a LaTeX plugin of some sort)
  • Portrait/Landscape view
  • Split text into columns
  • Export to pdf (not essential but makes it easier if its integrated)

I've tried alternativeto.net without much success. Any ideas? Maybe my problem with LibreOffice can be fixed.


I'd recommend trying to fix the LibreOffice problem, but if that doesn't work, have you heard of Abiword? It's older than the OpenOffice.org project and is similar to MS Word (pre-ribbon versions) or Writer from the LibreOffice suite.

Another idea, if you are familiar with LaTeX, is to try one of those near- (or not quite so near-) WYSIWYG editors like Kile (KDE), LyX (Qt dependencies), or Texmaker (Qt).

Caveat: I have not used any of the above pieces of software because LibreOffice and straight pdflatex have been enough for everything I've needed to do so far.

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    I've started using Texmaker and absolutely love it! – n0pe Oct 19 '11 at 18:11

Texmacs will do 2 columns, and is relatively lightweight and provides rich text:

enter image description here

That seems to imply that you don't get three or more columns, but... that is the cost of asking for "lightweight".

Mind you, I just use LaTeX.

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You would probably be able to start a new instance of Writer if you create a separate user. Also, try KWord.

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