Microsoft Works a deal

You wouldn't use a sledgehammer to hang a picture frame, so why would you sink hundreds of dollars into an office software suite with scores of features you'll never use?

Microsoft's trusty, US$50 Works 8 gives you all the word processing, spreadsheet, database, and scheduling features you're likely to need, without the triple-digit price of its bigger sibling, Microsoft Office. You can even open and save files in Word's .doc, in Excel's .xls, and in other popular Office file types, as well as in the standard Works file formats.

I tested a shipping version of the package, and found the updated word processor more than adequate for most writing chores. It even includes a new dictionary and thesaurus with parental controls.

Other noteworthy features: shareable calendars that you can post to the free ICalShare Web site, and automatic file backups that save your open documents every 10 minutes.

In a world of never-ending up-sell, it's nice to know that you can still get the productivity apps you need--and only the ones you need--without spending a lot of money.

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Dennis O'Reilly

PC World
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