A class act: Act! 7.0

Act! 7.0 is a major revamp including more than 50 new features for Interact Commerce Corporation's venerable contact management software. Its new interface is largely an evolutionary jump, but the new database underneath effectively makes this a 1.0 release. As a result, longtime fans may find that converting their data to the new Act! is tricky, and they'll definitely discover that some features are missing.

Act! lets you consolidate all of your client information - from contact details to phone calls, e-mail, and in-person meeting notes - in one place. The problem with older versions was that, as you added more clients, the database slowed to a crawl. Act! 7.0 works with Microsoft's powerful SQL Server 2000 Desktop Edition database, so performance is no longer a problem.

The switch can cause problems for existing users, however, because some custom layouts and templates may fail to map to the new database structure. We were able to import most data without issue, but could no longer copy data from a Palm into Act! (we're told that this issue should be resolved in coming months).

Overall, Act! remains a class product but version 7.0 proved to be a mixed bag. A faster database is good, but nagging issues concerning older files make it hard to fully recommend. Act! 7.0 for Workgroups is only available through Interact and is priced at $499 new or $325 for existing customers to upgrade.

Price: $299 ($169 for upgrade) Vendor: Interact Commerce Corporation Phone: 1800 675 617 URL: www.actsoftware.com.au

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