Corel WordPerfect Office X5
Like previous versions, Office X5 offers strong compatibility with Microsoft Office
- Excellent compatibility with Microsoft Office, solid handling of PDFs
- Unimpressive newsreader and e-mail features, no Web apps component
The new version of Corel WordPerfect Office X5 bolsters features, but offers little incentive for users of competing suites to switch.
Price$ 399.99 (AUD)
Squeezed by desktop competitors (Microsoft's powerhouse Office suite and the free, open-source OpenOffice) and Web alternatives (apps from Google, Zoho, and others), can Corel WordPerfect Office X5 bring something to the productivity software table? The suite does deliver some unique features--most notably in PDF support and--with the addition of Nuance PaperPort to the suite--in document management. But WordPerfect Office X5 remains a tough sell for general business users who are reasonably satisfied with Microsoft's core Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps, or their free Web counterparts.
I looked at WordPerfect Office X5 Standard Edition ($399, or $199 for an upgrade), which consists of X5 editions of WordPerfect, Quattro Pro for spreadsheets, Presentations (Corel's PowerPoint alternative), WordPerfect Lightning (a note-taking app), Paperport, and Mozilla Thunderbird for WordPerfect Office (which replaces the old WordPerfect Mail e-mail client and personal information manager).
Like previous versions, Office X5 offers strong compatibility with Microsoft Office, including the ability to create, open, and edit the XML-based formats introduced in Office 2007, along with support for dozens of other formats-including antiquated ones that Microsoft no longer supports. In fact, Corel even offers you the option, when launching WordPerfect, of working with a "classic" DOS-like interface (WordPerfect 5.1), featuring grey type on a blue screen. Other startup options are Microsoft Word mode (a throwback to the preribbon interface) and legal mode (which caters to Corel's strong following in the legal community).
Nevertheless, the application reminds you that Microsoft's formats are not its native formats: When you save a .docx file, you get a pop-up 'Conversion in progress' window that goes away quickly, but becomes a bit annoying after multiple viewings.
WordPerfect's ability to edit PDF documents--a weakness in Microsoft's suite--still falls short of perfection. In my tests with a group of PDFs, some remained fairly faithful to the original layouts; but in others, text and layout became scrambled. It beats having no support at all, but Office users will be at least as well off if they install a good PDF plug-in. PaperPort's PDF Viewer Plus, the SE version, lets you complete forms that you could fill out with a free Reader plug-in, and annotate static PDFs, but nothing more. To scan and fill out a static PDF form, you must upgrade to Nuance's PDF Converter.
WordPerfect retains its Reveal Codes feature, which makes fine-tuned format adjustments possible. A new feature that some business and government users may like is support for data import from Web services. Accompanying the suite are various utilities, including an XML project designer and a Pleading Expert.
The decision to go with Thunderbird--available as a free download to everyone--hints at WordPerfect Office's weakness in handling e-mail and newsreading tasks; its Exchange support remains incomplete. Thunderbird is rather slow as a front end to Web-based e-mail; by default, it downloads only headers, and I experienced significant delays when I clicked on a header to download a Gmail message.
Quattro Pro is a respectable alternative to Excel, with reasonably good charting and formatting tools. Presentations is a serviceable PowerPoint alternative for slideshows, and its accompanying Presentation Graphics application offers bitmap image-editing tools for hands-on types; but the beta of PowerPoint 2010 is difficult to outshine in overall ease of use and integration of image-editing tools. Lightning, the note-taking app, doesn't have the suite-wide integration that Microsoft is introducing for OneNote in Office 2010. Further, Corel has no equivalent to Microsoft's upcoming Office Web apps (though so far, these don't seem likely to pose a serious challenge to existing Web-based productivity tools).
One useful innovation in WP Office X5 is the Reference Center, a central repository for help and tutorials for the whole suite. Anyone who migrates to Office X5 from Microsoft Office should find it invaluable.
Microsoft has yet to announce pricing for upcoming editions of Office 2010, but they will undoubtedly be more expensive than corresponding versions of WordPerfect Office. On the other hand, budget-minded users have more free options than ever these days, so X5 is unlikely to draw legions of new customers on price alone. But it should keep traditional Corel fans in the fold.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra tri-band modem-router review
- 3 BlackBerry Priv review: When old habits die hard
- 4 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 5 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Mozilla Firefox update fixes several vulnerabilities
- Like Chromebooks, thumb-size PCs will bloom
- Windows Phone can now work on smartphones with Intel x86 chips
- Dell's OS10 aims to open up networks, then whole datacentres
- iOS 9.2.1 and OS X 10.11.3 are now available
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTDigital Marketing Specialist | Media BuyerNSW
- CCJava Development Contract - MelbourneVIC
- FTTechnical Lead (Java)NSW
- FTNetwork Systems LeadVIC
- CCICT Infrastructure Specialist - (Network Engineer)ACT
- FTIT Technical LeadVIC
- CCEnterprise Systems Infrastructure SpecialistNSW
- CCObjective ECMS Technical ConsultantSA
- FTTeam Lead ITIL- Permanent OpportunityVIC
- FTManager, Portfolio GovernanceNSW
- FTProject Manager | Defence projects | NV1/NV2 cleared | Canberra basedACT
- CCiOS DeveloperNSW
- FTNetwork Engineer | NV2 clearance | Defence projects | Immediate interviewACT
- CCContract System Analyst (Network & System Mgt.) 160205/SA/561Asia
- CCRecords Officer - CanberraACT
- CCSenior Visual DesignerNSW
- CCSharePoint EngineerACT
- CCSenior Change Analyst - Multiple RolesVIC
- FTFunctional Business Analyst - Commodities and FX DomainNSW
- FTCyber Security SpecialistNSW
- FTJava Web Development OpportunityVIC
- CCSolution Architect - Biomedical - South Australia locationSA
- CCProject Server Specialist / MS ProjectNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystACT
- CC.NET DeveloperACT