Talk is cheap, but Word is expensive. Fortunately, Jarte is free. This clever little word-processing program lets you open, modify, and save files in common formats. And we do mean "little": Jarte fits onto a small, 64MB USB drive with room to spare for a couple of documents, making it perfect for travellers who want to work on projects and might not have Internet access for using Web-based alternatives.
Jarte's tabbed interface makes it easy to work on several files -- in several formats -- at once. We also appreciated the clickless file menus, which open with a mere mouse-over. (Selecting menu items require clicks, of course.) You have a choice of three layouts: the Notepad-style Minimal; the default, aptly named Compact; and Classic (with big, handy buttons).
Whether we ran Jarte off an XP system's hard drive or a portable USB drive, it opened Microsoft Word .doc, Rich Text Format and Word 2007 .docx files without a hitch. (The .docx functionality requires Microsoft's free, but large, compatibility pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 file formats.) We successfully saved files in .doc, .txt and .rtf formats.