Web Features Enhance PhotoSuite 4

The software's unintimidating interface includes step-by-step walk-throughs to help you complete tasks. The approach is helpful, but sometimes you must take multiple steps to accomplish common image-editing chores. For example, to rid one photo of the wild-eyed alien monster look, I had to go to Prepare/Touchup/Remove Red-eye. In most other packages, a single button takes you to red-eye removal. Furthermore, it's all too easy to adjust a picture to get it just right-and then forget to hit Apply before returning to the previous menu screen, thereby losing your changes. And while the interface resembles a Web browser, I missed having a universal Back button for jumping to a previous screen.

The parallels to a browser are natural, since this shipping version of PhotoSuite incorporates Microsoft Internet Explorer 5. This integration let me seamlessly tap into the Internet without leaving the PhotoSuite environment. For example, I could share photos via a direct interface with Intel's GatherRound.com photo-editing site or upload images to Kodak's PhotoNet.com.

Better still, new Web features make it a snap to do everything from generating a Web page using a handful of templates to creating animated GIFs. Plus, you can now create your own screen savers, stitching together as many as 48 images. As bonus, MGI throws in a handy file viewer.

Quirks notwithstanding, PhotoSuite 4 is an excellent imaging option for people who want a one-stop-does-it-all package. And at $50 (with an additional $10 rebate option for registered users), the price is right. If you already have a previous edition of the package, however, upgrade to version 4 only if the program's improved Internet integration strongly appeals to you.

MGI PhotoSuite 4 Platinum Edition; Street price: $US50; MGI Software; Distributor: OziSoft; Phone: (02) 9902 3000.

Buy online: http://www.mgisoft.com/buy/index_ps4.asp

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