Better mix, for less

Better mix, for less

If you're tired of waiting for Microsoft's delayed Office 2007, consider this: Corel's WordPerfect Office X3 Standard tops Microsoft's Office 2003 Standard in every category.

All five of the principal apps - WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, Presentations, Mail, and Presentations Graphics - are first-rate. Leading the pack is the WordPerfect word processor. For many WordPerfect users, one feature raises the program head-and-shoulders above Word and every other word processor: Reveal Codes. This View menu option opens a pane at the base of the screen showing the document's formatting codes. For fine-grain control over a file's appearance and content, nothing beats it.

Equally notable is WordPerfect's email program, formerly the Bloomba mail client from Stata Labs. The application features a search function that neither Outlook nor any other email program can top.

Also new to the suite is Presentations Graphics (formerly a component of Presentations). A basic tool for editing images and creating customisable layouts.

The suite does have some annoying elements - for instance, a pesky InstallShield Update Manager that's always running in the system tray. Such minor irritations aside, I think people who use their PC for business might very well find what they need here.

Verdict: For a true upgrade to an office suite, business users will find much to like in Corel's package.

System requirements: Windows XP/2000/98SE; 128MB RAM (256MB recommended); 466MHz (Pentium III or equivalent processor recommended); 575MB hard disk space; Super VGA, 16-bit colour monitor with 800x600 or greater; CD-ROM drive; Microsoft IE 5.5. Distributor Ingram Micro. RRP: $569 ($289 upgrade)

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