WordPerfect Office 2000
Your Suite Tooth
by Jim Bray
Corel has decided
to tread a different path from its main competitor in the Office suite
is throwing everything but the kitchen sink into its new Office 2000 package,
Corel's WordPerfect Office 2000 is more of a logical enhancement than
anything else. Despite that, however, there are lots of welcome new features
and benefits to this powerful package.
Though I was
never a WordPerfect fan, Version 7 caused me to sit up and take notice
- and Incarnation 8 was a lovely product that proved very hard to ignore.
WPO 2000 continues that evolution, containing versions 9 of WordPerfect
word processor, Quattro Pro spreadsheet, Corel Presentations 9, CorelCentral
9 PIM, Adobe Acrobat reader, and Trellix 2. Beefed up versions of the
suite offer Paradox 9, Dragon NaturallySpeaking 3, Corel PrintOffice,
Corel is concentrating
on power and compatibility with this release, so users of earlier versions
will find the new one looks and acts very familiar. In fact, WordPerfect's
file format hasn't been changed since version 6.1, so all those old files
will still work just fine with no conversion necessary - and there are
so many other input/output filters that opening and/or saving to most
competing applications shouldn't be a problem.
There are also
some thoughtful touches that I wouldn't be surprised to see picked up
by the competition, like "install-as-you-go," which lets you
minimize the amount of sometimes-precious hard drive space the suite uses.
You can choose to do a minimal installation, and if you later try to access
something you didn't install the software will give you the opportunity
to install it at that time.
me the most, however, was Corel's innovative "real time preview,"
which is a wonderful wrinkle that actually lets you see how your documents
will look if you apply certain changes - before you actually make the
if you're working in WordPerfect and decide you want to change the font
to "Arial" from "Times New Roman," you can rest your
cursor over the new font in the drop down menu and the entire document
will change to show you how it will look if you applied the font. If you
like what you see, you click on the font normally and the document updates.
If you don't like it, just move the cursor away and the document reverts
to its previous look.
Corel has also
beefed up the printing capabilities of WP, Presentations, and Central
to make it easier to create things like books and posters. There's also
an enhanced selection of shapes (like arrows, stars, etc.) and of course
an abundance of fonts, clipart, and photos.
re-jigging includes an autoscroll feature that lets you navigate long
documents quickly without using the arrow keys or scroll bar, kind of
like using the wheel of an IntelliMouse-compatible pointing device without
having to use the wheel.
A new print
preview feature lets you look at single or double page previews so you
can mess around with various formatting choices. You can still edit your
masterpiece while in print preview mode, too, and it also gives you access
to that nifty "real time preview."
Block Make It
Fit lets you cram a section of your document into another section, without
screwing up the formatting of other sections, and you can now embed your
fonts directly into the document, so that what you see is what the reader
gets even if that reader doesn't have the same fonts installed as you.
Corel is really
upping the spreadsheet ante with Quattro Pro 9. Not only can you now handle
monster spreadsheets of a million rows, 18,278 columns, and 18,278 sheets,
but you can work on Excel and 1-2-3 files as if you were in their native
apps. Well, almost. While Corel says you can use toolbars and menus as
if you were in the Microsoft products, the icons still have the WordPerfect
look so there's still a learning cure. I wouldn't be surprised if the
icon difference has something to do with copyright...
and shortcut keys are very customizable, and a new page break view lets
you see how your spreadsheet will look printed out, excluding the white
space you get in the WYSIWYG view, so you can adjust your page breaks
before sending the document to the printer and discovering, much to your
chagrin, that it doesn't fit.
a new "formula marker," that puts a little blue triangle onto
cells that contain formulas (making them easier for you to track down),
and a formula composer lets you edit, create, and/or debug your formulas
easily. Dynamic cross tabs reports lets you make summaries of data in
cross-tabulated tables, and "SpeedFunctions" let you stick in
functions you use all the time directly from the toolbar.
9 has been redesigned to offer quicker and easier toolbar access to frequently-used
features, as well as the abovementioned beefed up import/export capacity.
There are also
new image tools - like brightness, watermark, and coloring book, for adding
special effects to your slide show. A new Internet publisher gives step
by step instructions on getting your show online, giving you control over
parameters like page setup, layout, button styles, etc.
Corel says it
has completely redesigned Central so it's easier to use and takes up fewer
system resources than before. It includes a day planner, calendar, memo
and card file functions, and address book. It can load whenever you boot
up Windows (in fact, it defaults to this, unfortunately), making access
a click away from your Windows taskbar.
PalmPilot synchronization in Central.
database application, has also been retooled for Office 2000, but the
version I tried didn't have it included.
Trellix is a
web publishing tool designed for those who don't know much about html
(and isn't that most of us?). It lets you share content ownership to various
users - supposedly cutting down on the webmaster's work (though I'll believe
that when I see it!). They say that Trellix lets you create, maintain,
and update content easily. Its linking ability is designed to make it
easy to create large documents that contain a lot of hyperlinks in them
and converts standard pages designed for output on paper to online documents
complete with navigation buttons, etc.
earlier users of WordPerfect Office will find the new version looks and
feels very familiar, but the suite's more intuitive than before. Or mostly.
I had difficulty finding an easy way to get a word count in WP, and couldn't
figure out a nice way to put a button on the toolbar that would do it
things - like the "shadow cursor" that lets you start typing
anywhere on a page that you like, are wonderful Corel advances (that one's
from version 8) that I'm surprised aren't being imitated more by the competition.
It's nice to
see Corel concentrating on file compatibility, too. Unlike some companies,
which regularly change their file formats - thus making it difficult to
exchange files, even with users of earlier versions of the same software
- Corel's continuation of old file formats (that still work fine) and
beefing up of its import/export filters, makes life a little easier for
I also love
Corel's "context sensitive toolbars," which change to give you
different tools depending upon the task you're doing. This gives you the
advantage of a whole pile of toolbars without taking up all your screen
In typical Corel
tradition, there are also plenty of templates across the suite, and the
whole package has a consistent look and feel that makes it more pleasant
- and easier - to use. "Perfect Experts" can be set to appear
beside the main window and offer you point and click help, kind of like
having "Wizards" around all the time to bail you out when you
bite off more application than you can chew.
"Ask the Perfect Expert," with which you can type in a question
and hope the onboard Help database has the answer. Like most "experts"
that are included in software, however, it isn't nearly as smart as advertised
and your "plain English" questions had better be darn specific
if you expect the little Droid in your computer to understand what you're
WordPerfect Office 2000 is a nice package, and it offers a powerful set
of tools for those who need them.
It's too bad
this package gets overshadowed by Microsoft's Office suite because, while
it definitely takes a different route to the same end, it's an excellent
product that deserves its share of the limelight.
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