by November 1, 2004 0 comments

The standard edition of this office suite from Corel contains the WordPerfect word processor, Quattro Pro spreadsheet and Presentation. It doesn’t have an e-mail application, unlike MS Office that has Outlook. If you’re using Outlook, one good feature is that the office suite lets you access contact information from your Outlook address book. Education, professional and family pack editions of WordPerfect are also available, which vary in their applications and pricing. Make sure you know the edition you’re buying, because the one we received didn’t mention the edition. 

One key feature is its MS Office compatibility. We checked this out in a number of ways by opening basic as well as complex Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents in their corresponding apps in WordPerfect Office. Most documents opened without a hitch. In fact, we even opened a Word document that carried comments and had the ‘track changes’ option enabled. WordPerfect managed to show both. We then opened a complex Excel file in Quattro Pro, containing some basic and logical formulae. Here, the formulae didn’t work in Quattro Pro. We then created a simple Excel spreadsheet with basic formulae, which worked well in Quattro Pro. Similarly, basic PointPoint presentations opened without any difficulty but those containing animations didn’t show up properly in WordPerfect Office’s Presentation. So, the office suite is fairly compatible with MS Office, except certain cases. Another extension to compatibility is that the WordPerfect Office gives you a choice of two modes to work in. One is the native WordPerfect Office interface while the other is the MS Office mode. Difference between the two is that the latter saves all documents in the MS Office format. The Workspace Manager option lets you quickly switch between the two interfaces.

While working on a document, you can see the format you’ve applied in a new window

In overall usage, PerfectOffice is easy and comfortable to use. One feature, which isn’t there in MS Office, is publish to PDF, which lets you export documents to PDF. The ‘Reveal Codes’ option gives detailed information on the text formatting in a separate window. While the package has a few advantages, we did miss some things that we are used to working with in MS Office such as AutoCorrect, which automatically corrects mistyped words. Plus, the Ctrl-Del combination in WordPerfect deletes a complete line, as against complete words in MS Office. So if you’re used to MS Office, it would take some time getting used to WordPerfect Office. But cost wise, the shift could be worth it as WordPerfect Office is priced much lower. 

We got two CDs with the product. One contained the main WordPerfect appls plus something called ZIM Mobile Office, which lets you SMS, e-mail and chat using your mobile phone. You have to register with the ZIM website, and pay for these services. The second CD isn’t of much use and contains commonly available applications such as IE and Acrobat Reader. 

The bottom line: If you’re looking for a MS Office alternative, then this could be worth considering. Though feature rich, do check whether it supports the specific features you require. 

Sushil Oswal

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