Besides the very basic WordPad the only other Microsoft text processor is Microsoft Word, which isn’t free, you can try to get a pirated version, which besides being unethical it carries a high risk of downloading a virus and ending up spending even more money due to identity theft or you can try one of these free alternatives to Microsoft Office instead.
Unlike Google Docs, Thinkfree and Zoho requiring you to have an internet connection, the following free word processors can all be downloaded and work offline, you don’t need to risk storing your confidential data in the cloud not knowing if it is secure enough or who is accessing it.
List of offline free word processors
LibreOffice: Full featured open source office suite that includes six different programs, Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base, the first one is what you need to edit documents, the other programs are for creating drawings/logos, spread sheets, database, formulas and presentations.
If you only need one of the applications you can choose a custom install and tell LibreOffice what software you want, this will save you hard disk space and it will load the application faster. LibreOffice is multilingual and has very extensive documentation as well as a mailing list and forums where to get support.
Jarte: Free word processor based on Microsoft WordPad, the main difference between Jarte and WordPad is that Jarte has far more features and it is in continous development, unlike Microsoft WordPad, an apparent abandonware application that never evolves.
Jarte can open .doc, .docx and .rtf documents, it is very quick at start up, it can be run from a USB thumbdrive as a portable word processor, it includes spelling dictionaries, it supports templates, it can send documents via email and it has detailed help documentation. Jarte can also carry out all the common tasks you would expect from a basic word editing processor, like text formatting, inserting pictures, working with tables, printing settings, etc.
Lyx: Open source word processor for Windows, Linux and MAC, Lyx allows for advanced text formatting, it includes support for Mathematics formula editing including equations and macros.
This free word processor is far superior than WordPad, with structured document creation competence, multilingual interface and document creation in any language including using Hebrew and Arabic characters, total Unicode compliance, software errors, help files and key bindings are also available in languages other than English. Lyx is very light in resources, a great tool to swiftly write notes or letters, Lyx is a what you see is what you get mean editor, it doesn’t use any special text formatting blueprint.
AbiWord: An easy to use free word processor packed with features. AbiWord is open source, available for Windows, MAC and Linux, compatible with Microsoft Word, it can open and save documents as if you were using Word although it also use its own file format called .abw.
Abiword allows you to add plugins, selected during installation, making sure you only have what you are going to use makes this word processor software very lean and light on resources. One novelty is that Abiword has an online service called AbiCollab where Abiword users can share documents and write them together with their colleagues and friends in real time.