by March 31, 1999 0 comments

Corel WordPerfect Office has long been an also-ran at
the office suite race. But in recent years it has added voice recognition (Lotus
SmartSuite has followed suit now with MS Office still lagging) and got a more cohesive
look. Today, WordPerfect has 22 million users in the US alone. We tested beta 2; WP 2000
is scheduled for launch this summer.

Corel WordPerfect Office 2000

Office
suite (word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentations); Beta 2.
Features: Real time preview, HTML/XML export, supports Office file
formats; voice recognition with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Trellix Website maintenance and
Web page creation tools.
Pros: Consistent look and feel. Top-of-the-line word processor: powerful,
easy-to-use, professional features. voice recognition (not included yet).
Cons: Quattro Pro and Presentations still not on par with Office
2000’s Excel or PowerPoint (betas).
Source: Corel, 113 Rajendra Bhawan, Rajendra Place, New Delhi 110008.
Tel: 11-5811036

WordPerfect 9

This is a very powerful Word processor that
beats Word on features. The Real Time preview (implemented in the font,
border, fills, zoom and other lists) is handy and is probably the easiest way to choose
just the right look for your text. The dialogs are generally cleaner than those in Word 97
or the Word 9 beta. The Table Skew feature lets you rotate the top row and left or right
column of a table for fancy effects. TextArt is similar to MS Office’s WordArt but
more powerful with 3D effects (bevel, lighting, etc, are controllable).

WP 9 lets you adjust the number of pages for
your document (expand your file from occupying two pages to three and so forth). The
QuickFinder is now integrated into Start>Find which is handy. WP 9 retains the WP file
format from version 6, which will comfort existing users.

Some irritations remain. WP 9 still
doesn’t add a file extension automatically while saving a file in another format.
This is an old WP failing. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 3 isn’t available in beta 2
though it’s supposed to make the next beta.

WP 9 has a powerful graphing feature
that’s as good as what the best spreadsheets have to offer. While there’s
extensive support for other file formats, some of the converters need work. HTML as
a default doc format is allowed but only limited formatting is preserved. For instance, if
you change a heading font and save the document, WordPerfect will convert it to the
nearest heading size in HTML. Font tags aren’t supported by WP 9 which is rather
strange.

Quattro Pro 9

This spreadsheet spent much of its life playing second
fiddle to 1-2-3 and later to Excel. New features such as larger worksheets (formerly
limited to 8,192 rows and 256 columns in a sheet, Quattro now supports one million rows
and 18,000 columns in each spreadsheet) and customizable menus and toolbars are obviously
aimed for someone migrating from Excel. The real time preview feature is again a major
plus. HTML export uses XML to store formulas but isn’t as good as the corresponding
feature in Excel 9 (Office 2000 beta). Here Quattro Pro can’t reopen exported HTML
worksheets!


Corel Presentations
9

Presentations 9 is a powerful app with all the
important tools being just one-click away. It matches PowerPoint on features but from what
we’ve seen of the new PowerPoint 2000 interface, PowerPoint still has the edge.Trellix 2

Every suite is bundling a Website creation tool.
SmartSuite has FastSite and Office will most probably have FrontPage 2000. Well, WP Office
has Trellix. It’s a good Web authoring and site maintenance tool but not on par with
FrontPage for ease of use. Some rough edges remain. Trellix warns you when exporting to
HTML that all attributes chosen may not be preserved.

Paradox 9

This database is now wizard driven and looks very
colorful. Considering that Paradox started off as a heavyweight database compared to
Approach or even MS Access, this isn’t bad, as today the very same Paradox is very
user friendly.

The final word

The entire suite looks consistent with the exception of
Paradox and Trellix. The first ten buttons on the main toolbar are common to WP, Quattro
Pro and Presentations. Ditto for all the main menu options. The suite will stand or fall
on WP 9 and Dragon 3. The rest of it isn’t compelling enough. Corel is pricing its
office suite rather aggressively—$109 for the standard edition upgrade compared to
$209 for the Office 2000 standard upgrade. So if you want the ultimate word processor,
voice recognition software, and happen to be on a budget, the Corel WP 2000 suite could be
for you.

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