Essential Computers

This range of little books from Dorling Kindersley is intended for people who have literally no idea of how to use specific programs and find the instructions useless.

The books cover Building a Website, Email, Browsing the Web, Letters and Mailing with Word 2000, Digital Cameras and, probably best of all, Creating Worksheets with Excel 2000. The books are filled with clear colour illustrations and take the reader step-by-step through what can often be a rather daunting experience, to get them to the stage where familiarity takes over and the programs' help files start to make sense.

I personally found that the book covering browsing the Web was rather unnecessary, since the process is very simple. The clear illustrations and instructions for dealing with Word, Excel and Outlook, though, reminded me of the very steep learning curve with which these programs expect you to deal without any real help.

If I have one criticism of these books, it is that the majority of them only deal with Microsoft Windows 2000 programs, when other software - such as Lotus Notes -- is all but screaming out for the same treatment. If you know someone who is a bit lost, these books leave the "helpful" Talking Paperclip dead in the water.

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Alex Rieneck

PC World

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