How to Open, Edit, & Convert ABW Files

ABW files are documents created by AbiWord

What to Know

  • Use the free AbiWord or LibreOffice Writer program to open an ABW file.
  • Those same programs and other converters can save an ABW file to DOCX, PDF, and other formats.

This article explains what an ABW file is and how to open, edit, and convert one on your computer.

What Is an ABW File?

A file with the ABW file extension is a document created by the AbiWord word processor. Similar to Microsoft Word's DOCX format, this one uses XML to store rich text, images, tables, etc.

How to Open an ABW File

Both AbiWord (for Linux) and LibreOffice Writer (Windows, Linux, macOS) can open ABW files.

Since ABW files are stored in XML, you can also open one with a text editor, which is great if you don't want to bother installing one of those programs linked above. However, doing this doesn't properly format the document, so you'll see lots of things you wouldn't see if it were open in a word processor. Still, this is a fine way to see what the document says and to copy out text if you need to.

ABW files in a folder
ABW Files.

How to Convert an ABW File

If you're already using AbiWord or LibreOffice Writer, you can open the file in one of those programs and then save it under a new format. AbiWord, for example, can convert to MS Word formats like DOCX and DOC, as well as to RTF, TXT, EML, ODT, SXW, etc.

Another option is to use CloudConvert. It's a free file converter website, so you just have to upload the file there to convert it to a different format like PDF.

You might also have luck using Docpose to save the file to a huge number of document formats. Like CloudConvert, this one works entirely online, so it runs in your web browser.

Still Can't Open It?

If you can't open or convert the file with one of the programs listed above, you might be confusing a different format, like Amazon Kindle eBook (.AZW), with this one. Since their file extensions are so similar, this is fairly easy to do. The same is true for A2W and ABR files.

Although they're similar since they are documents, some AbiWord files are Gzip compressed XML. Those use the ZABW or ABW.GZ file extension.

Other technology terms use these letters, but they don't have anything to do with the file format. Examples include available bandwidth, average bandwidth waste, and abandonware.

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