Microsoft Works Suite 2001

Many people baulk at purchasing the full Microsoft Office suite. For many individuals, creating complete SQL databases and the like is simply not relevant. In the past, the Works Suite had tried to capture these users but was let down by a poor word processing program. Works Suite 2001 changes all that. In adding the full Microsoft Word 2000, Works Suite 2001 now, well, works.

Apart from the major inclusion of Word 2000, Works has a few other useful improvements. FoneSync 3.1 is a utility to synchronise contacts into a mobile phone or PDA (both Windows CE and Palm OS are supported). The Format Gallery can help with styles and layouts for other Works projects, while getting started is made easy with a great series of Quick Tours. The other nice improvement is the Works Portfolio, through which you can quickly gather items such as photos and text to use throughout the suite.

The main problem with Works is the installation. The program comes with six CDs, and installation requires five of them. To install the typical components, the computer takes 30 to 40 minutes, restarts three times (twice without warning), and takes up around 930MB of hard drive space. The other issue is with the Word installation, which includes Service Pack 1; this automatically upgrades any other MS Office applications you might have, something not everyone might appreciate.

Like pervious versions, Works Suite 2001 offers a number of different interfaces - one of which is the standard list of software, while another starts with a graphical view of all your folders and files. The third is perhaps the nicest: it's a task-orientated interface. You simply choose what sort of task you want to undertake, and drill down through the menus. For each task, there are a few different templates to choose from - choose the one you want and Works will open the correct program with the template.

Altogether, the programs integrate well (surprisingly so, given their different origins). Along with Works 6.0 itself, the suite comes with Word 2000, Money 2001, Picture It! Publishing 2001 and Encarta 2001.

Microsoft Works Suite 2001

Price: $199

Supplier: Microsoft

Phone: 13 2058

URL: www.microsoft.com.au

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Jacinta Thomler

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