ISSUE 505: The high-tech office- June
Corel offers a solid upgrade
for venerable Word Perfect
As the major software manufacturers release
their Year 2000 models, you'd have to be living in a cave to escape the
advertising urging you to upgrade.
This week, we'll try to keep the Canadian
Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission happy and look
at Canadian content: Corel Word Perfect Office 2000.
Corel purchased the Word Perfect product line from
Utah-based Novell a couple of years ago and eventually
relocated its development office to Corel's Ottawa headquarters. This
version is the first product produced from its new home.
Corel has done a good job of extending the product
while maintaining tradition. WPO2000 continues to support all the file
formats used in the previous versions while adding increased
compatibility with Microsoft Office formats. The look and feel
of the product will remain comforting to long-time users.
The new Corel Distribute utility eases the work of
network administrators, making it easy to customize installation to a
large numbers of network workstations.
The product comes in several different versions. A
standard edition (about $400) includes the new versions of Word Perfect
word processor, Quattro Pro spreadsheet, Presentations 9 (a
presentation graphics package, naturally), Corel Central personal
information manager and Web publisher Trellix 2. Trellix, which works
only with Word Perfect, does a nice job of converting a word processing
document to an attractive Web page. Word Perfect integrates its use by
adding a publish option to Trellix's menu command.
The suite's programs now work with Microsoft-standard
Visual Basic for Applications macros as well as those written in
PerfectScript for earlier Word Perfect versions. Included add-ins allow
users to save in the Adobe PDF page publishing format or
Another $50 or so gets you the Voice Powered Edition
cludes Dragon Naturally Speaking 3.0. This adds speech recognition,
making it possible to train your computer to take dictation. With
training, users can aim to dictate up to 160 words a minute. Naturally
Speaking can also be used for speaking formatting commands.
For $100 more you can purchase the Professional
Edition, which adds the Paradox database program and NetPerfect, and
automates saving and publishing HTML Web documents.
A nice feature throughout the suite is a real-time,
preview mode that allows you to edit and makes it easy to the view the
document as you experiment with changes of font or colour. The program
functions a lot like a desktop publishing program.
There's a cute AutoScroll option that allows you to
easily move through your document. A lean and mean graphics scrapbook
simplifies the task of finding the right graphic, video or sound to
insert whether from a CD-ROM collection or from the Web. Add-ins such
as the scrapbook can be installed when you find you need them, without
needing to shut down and restart the applications.
Word Perfect does a good job of working with multiple
formats in a single document -- especially useful for large projects.
And long-time users will still be able to manipulate the basics with
the classic Reveal Codes view.
Quattro Pro spreadsheet can work with Excel or Lotus
1-2-3 file formats and even mimic their menu structures. The
spreadsheet can also be used to query data found in Web pages and save
in Web-friendly HTML and XML formats.
Similarly, Presentations can work with Microsoft
PowerPoint files, while adding powerful tools to customize imported
graphics. A wizard makes it easy to save presentations for viewing on
the Web. Wizards are also used in the Paradox database to simplify
table-building and queries. A new Visual Database Designer eases the
task of creating an attractive data entry page.
Corel Central combines a calendar, address book and
task list in a version that's easier to use than previous versions and
respects your existing choice of e-mail program.
This version of Corel's suite is faster and more
reliable than previous incarnations. It also offers improved
compatibility with both the Internet and with Microsoft Office, Corel's
main competition. While Microsoft's product line is more widely used,
Word Perfect remains a popular alternative and is especially
commonplace in law offices. The new version should prove popular,
especially because it is priced much lower than Micro-
Different versions of the Word Perfect product line
are available for Windows PCs, Macintosh, Linux and other Unix
variants. Currently, Corel is only offering the various Word Perfect
Office 2000 products for Windows 95/98/NT. A 30-day trial version can
be obtained from their Web site at www.corel.com. *