"Good things are worth waiting for". After months of patient waiting, this comforting old adage, has proven to true in the case of Corel's WordPerfect Suite 7 for Windows 95. This long awaited 32-bit product debuted last month ---finally making it fully compatible with the Windows 95, 32-bit operating system.
WordPerfect, the queen mother of all word processors, has fallen somewhat from grace during the past few years due to the formidable efforts of rival Microsoft Word and a sense of being orphaned in this fierce, competitive software market. In an effort to challenge Microsoft's industry dominance, Novell purchased WordPerfect in March, 1994 for an exorbitant price that overburdened the networking giant. In January 1996, Corel of Canada stepped forward and acquired WordPerfect, relieving Novell of their financial albatross at a considerable loss.
All these financial wranglings were taking place coincidental with the historic release of the Windows 95 operating system just one year ago. While most developers were scrambling to deliver software applications for the Win 95 environment, the PerfectOffice suite lagged behind in the 32-bit software race, bogged down in the mire of mergers and acquisitions.
But Corel has finally brought WordPerfect & Co. to the 32-bit party and it's made quite a glamorous entrance. My own first reaction was actually less eloquent, however ... "big and lots" were my exact thoughts. Lots of applications built into this WordPerfect Suite that are big in scope and size.
Let's clarify the size requirements up-front before getting too effervescent about this new product: A full installation of the WordPerfect Suite 7 requires 137MB of hard disk space. That's big. Compare this to a full installation of Microsoft Office 95 which requires approximately 78 MB of hard disk space. Even a minimal installation of the WP Suite requires 55MB of hard disk space. Additionally, you'll need an another 70 MB of hard disk space if you plan to install all the Bonus Applications that come with the WordPerfect 7 Suite. If hard disk constraints are a problem, however, you can selectively install only portions of this Suite.
But if you've got the room, you'll find everything here from spreadsheets to screen savers, word processing to web publishing and thousands of graphic elements befitting a product with the Corel name. Clearly, the presence of the many Internet elements is the most obvious change in this new incarnation of the PerfectOffice Suite.
Both WordPerfect and Quattro Pro, the spreadsheet component, include buttons on the default toolbar for Web access. A single click on the Web button will whisk you immediately to the World Wide Web, if you're connected with an Internet provider. If not, Corel has included A. T.& T.'s WorldNet software for Internet access as well as the Netscape browser bundled with the WordPerfect Suite 7.
The improved Desktop Application Director, or DAD, offers a number of Quick Tasks that integrate all the Suite 7 products and include such functions as accessing the current weather, stocks and financial information from the World Wide Web. This information can then be copied and pasted into your current document or spreadsheet. There's even a Quick Task to track your stocks and create a spreadsheet in Quattro Pro that can be updated every 20 minutes via your Internet access.
Publishing web pages or converting current documents to HTML format is as simple completing a questionnaire. Improvements to WordPerfect include enhanced auto-formatting and QuickSpots, or "hot buttons" that pop up throughout your document and provide shortcuts to available formatting options.
Corel provides a group of "Bonus Applications" with WordPerfect 7 which includes Sidekick, a personal organizer, CorelFlow, a flow chart program, and Dashboard, a Windows 95 control center. The Sidekick organizer is a very strong component of this group and much broader in scope than its competitor, Microsoft Scheduler. Calendars and card files can be formatted in various styles including Day Timer, Day Runner and Franklin.
The standard suite package is available in both Windows 3.1 or 32-bit Windows 95 editions. A new license sells for $279 and competitive upgrades are selling for $99. WordPerfect Suite 7 is a hearty group of applications with plenty of flexibility and muscle for producing a wide variety of documents. I guess "better late than never" is OK -- as long as it's "fashionably late".
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