Forget the staid, starched-collar business attitude of the traditional office suite. Corel’s latest WordPerfect Office X3 — Standard Edition offers a more visual, Windows-style interface, and Corel’s even given the packaging a colorful, streamlined look.
But beneath its rather consumer-oriented exterior, you’ll find software that easily handles the demands of small businesses and, in a few areas, exceeds the capabilities found in Microsoft Office.
The WordPerfect Office X3 suite comes with WordPerfect X3, a great word processor; Quattro Pro X3, a good spreadsheet; Presentations X3, an adequate presentation package and a few welcome additions. With its new PDF capabilities, Quattro Pro Crosstab feature and even stronger Microsoft compatibility and style, WordPerfect Office X3 makes an excellent choice for anyone looking for a less-expensive office application suite.
Acrobat: Jumping Through Hoops
WordPerfect continues to offer built-in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) support so other people can view your documents without worrying about applications and fonts, something that Microsoft Office lacks. In this iteration, Quattro Pro and Presentations gain PDF publishing capabilities of their own, and in WordPerfect, the feature has been enhanced to convert table-of-content headings into PDF bookmarks — a convenience that makes for better navigation within published PDF documents.
Taking its capabilities even further, WordPerfect now lets you import PDF files and work with PDF-based text and images within the word processor — an innovative new feature.
In testing, the PDF import feature did a good job of handling text, but its ability to interpret formatting was inconsistent. There’s definite room for improvement, but this is to be expected when dealing with PDF documents with complex formatting. Regardless, the ability to import PDF files is a major step forward and clearly sets WordPerfect Office apart from Microsoft Office.
WordPerfect maintains excellent file compatibility with Microsoft Office while continuing to evolve and improve it. While the last version’s translation tools were accurate and reliable, WordPerfect now does a better job of handling text alignments, table borders and automatic paragraph numbering. In addition to opening Microsoft Office files, you can set WordPerfect and the other Corel programs to reliably save documents in standard Office formats: .doc, .xls and .ppt by default.
|WordPerfect Office X3 Standard Edition takes a friendlier, less business-like approach in its interface and packaging.|
Save With Corel
A new “save without metadata” feature saves files and removes the underlying notes, edits and other information that can impact a company’s security. Another convenience, the programs now offer integrated Yahoo Search capabilities to quickly perform Web searches. It’s a feature that lets you simply highlight a term or word in WordPerfect and immediately perform your search.
Writers and editors will love the much-improved word count button. It used to be buried in Properties, which was hidden under File. If you managed to find it at all, you then had to press a tab to use it. Now it’s just a convenient one-click feature.
Another option removes formatting so that it’s easier to cut and paste text from Web pages, and there’s even a keyboard shortcut that lets you quickly perform the task.
Enhanced multilingual support offers more accurate depictions of Czech, Russian and other eastern European languages. You can now view WordPerfect documents through a Web browser, although the computer must have WordPerfect installed.
The suite now supports labels from C-Line and Wilson Jones, in addition to the Avery labels it already supports. The Presentations Graphics X3 program, which in the past only supported Presentations, has been integrated into the suite so that the other applications may take advantage of its drawing and diagram capabilities.
|WordPerfect Mail now comes as part of Standard suite and manages the routing of documents for review.|
Small business owners will love the Corel license flexibility that allows for an additional, free installation of the suite on a home computer or laptop. You no longer need to purchase a another copy for a second computer — a real money saver.
Worth the Upgrade
The interface has been modified with revised buttons and toolbars that reflect Windows themes. The result is a clean, eye-pleasing appearance. As before, you can set WordPerfect to completely mimic Microsoft Office so its menus and keystrokes are similar. It is yet another feature that’s designed to entice and bring over Microsoft users.
A big addition to the Standard version is Corel’s WordPerfect Mail, which was introduced in last year’s Professional Edition. The program offers the standard features to manage e-mail, as well as search and more. Document routing works through WordPerfect Mail so that you can forward documents to multiple people and record their comments and changes. If you’re upgrading, WordPerfect does a better job of maintaining settings from its prior version — a plus for anyone who has to upgrade multiple systems.
Quattro Pro’s new CrossTab reports is comparable to Microsoft Excel’s PivotTable. This is an excellent feature for people who want to work with tables that can summarize data in different ways — an element that has long been missing in Quattro Pro.
Presentations, long in the shadow of PowerPoint, retains its runner-up standing but offers improvements so you can more easily select and customize master slides and display smoother, more rounded text and images.
The lower-priced Home Edition includes: WordPerfect X3 and Quattro Pro X3, plus the more consumer-oriented Corel Photo Album 6 (a digital picture editor); Pinnacle Studio SE (a video-editing program). It also offers Norton Internet Security (with a paltry 90 days of updates) and a template pack.
Instead of simply playing catch up, Corel WordPerfect Office X3 — Standard Edition has added innovations that Microsoft isn’t matching, and its lower price makes it a worthy deal. There’s no better time to make the switch to WordPerfect Office. And current customers who want the enhanced PDF capabilities, the Quattro Pro Crosstab and security features will probably want to upgrade.
Pricing and Availability You’ll find Corel WordPerfect Office X3 (Standard, Home, Student and Teacher and Professional Edition) online at www.wordperfect.com and through resellers.
Corel WordPerfect Office X3 — Standard Edition sells for $159.99 (MSRP) and WordPerfect Office X3 — Home Edition sells for $99.99.
Wayne Kawamoto has written over 800 articles, columns and reviews about computers, new technologies, the Internet and small businesses. Wayne has also published three books about upgrading PCs, building office networks and effectively using and troubleshooting notebook computers. You can contact him through his Web site at www.waynewrite.com.
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