Jarte is a compact, portable and free word processor with a surprising number of features.

Your first reaction to the program, though, will probably be mild confusion at the odd interface. The toolbar features tiny icons, but clicking these actually call up Jarte's menus, which regularly ignore Windows conventions. (Although fortunately you can tweak the program to restore a more easy-to-understand view - read Welcome.rtf in the Jarte folder for more.)

Once you've mastered the interface basics, however, you'll begin to appreciate Jarte's extensive feature list.

The program can open plain text, RTF, DOC and DOCX files, for instance (and several at once, thanks to its tabs).

Documents can include tables, pictures, hyperlinks, equations or objects.

There's a full range of paragraph formatting options, and a format brush to help apply them quickly.

And there's template support. A clipboard manager to help you display and reuse 25 clipboard clips. A configurable "auto save" option. A handy screen capture tool. A simple spell checker; the option to integrate a dictionary and thesaurus; easy header and footer configuration tools, and the list goes on.

Not bad at all for a portable tool, less than 10MB in size, which you can run from a USB stick.

Please note, if you like Jarte than it might be worth considering Jarte Plus, the program's commercial big brother. This adds features like auto correct, automatic outlining, the ability to attach notes to a document, more customisation options, and a word count in the status bar, amongst other things. It can be yours for $19.95, and you can find out more on the Jarte site.

Version 6.1 (History):
  Bug Fixes:

- Attempts to display the new modern style file Open and Save dialog windows in version 6.0 caused Jarte to crash on PCs that use multiple monitors.
= Some characters were not being displayed correctly in Jarte 6.0's new note hyperlink feature. The characters affected were accented characters and certain symbol characters that do not appear on US keyboards.

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The odd interface is a little distracting, but once you've found your way around Jarte offers a great deal of word processing power