Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 125 / JANUARY 1991 / PAGE 14

Home Office. (1991 Compute Choice Awards) (evaluation)


Microsoft Works 2.0

For new home businesses, the value of a good integrated package can't be over-estimated. The comfort of a single interface provides uncomplicated access to several companion applications while it shortens the time it takes to learn any one of them. The newest overhaul to Microsoft Works, version 2.0, provides all of these benefits and more. Its seamless integration and powerful applications show once again why, when it comes to low-cost integrated software, this package remains king of the hill.

Beyond the program's easy-to-learn interface lies a group of applications that will serve the needs of almost any home office computer user. The word processor is hardy and boasts a spelling checker and a thesaurus, the spreadsheet is large enough for any but the most complex number-crunching tasks, the database is flexible and easy to use, and the communications module makes getting online easier than ever.

In garnering a COMPUTE Choice Award, Microsoft proves that an upgrade can be more than flash and filigree. Works isn't the least expensive integrated package on the market, and it lacks some features offered by its many competitors. But if you're looking for a powerful set of software that incorporates the best in PC interface design, Works remains the best of the lot.


Ami Professional 1.2b

Most people don't need a high-end desktop publishing program. They need a powerful WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) word processor that includes basic desktop publishing capabilities. That's the philosophy behind the Windows-based Ami Professional, which stresses ease of use and graphics-related features. For the simple tasks for which most people use PageMaker--placing graphics on a page, wrapping text around graphics, and drawing rules and boxes--Ami Pro can easily do the job. In addition, Ami Pro has a generous supply of advanced layout features, including the ability to anchor graphics and sidebars to text, rotate graphics, manipulate gray scales, and create eye-popping charts.

Ami Pro doesn't neglect its word processor side, either. Its meat-and-potatoes features include a spelling checker, a thesaurus, mail merge, and table-of-contents and index generation. More advanced word processing features include sophisticated styles sheets, a first-rate table editor, a handy formula editor for simple spreadsheet operations, and extensive macro capabilities. You can even install your favorite program commands as icons on the side of the screen.

For its powerful WYSIWYG text handling and superior layout capabilities, Ami Professional earns this year's COMPUTE Choice Award for Word Processing.


DeluxePaint Animation

By bringing together powerful animation tools with an interface anyone can use and enjoy, Electronic Arts' DeluxePaint Animation has earned its plaudits as a COMPUTE Choice in the categories of Desktop Presentation/Video and Creativity.

Animation is the heart of presentation graphics, and the PC world is well served by DeluxePaint Animation. Its mouse-driven interface will be no mystery to anyone who has used DeluxePaint. Its tools and procedures are intuitive. Nearly all commands have both menu and keyboard equivalents that allow you to access important page-flipping commands while maintaining your mouse position.

DeluxePaint Animation can provide automatic page flipping, allowing you to use animated brushes to create smooth, realistic motion through a sequence of cels. And you don't have to draw all the intermediate steps in the animation process. DeluxePaint Animation does this for you, creating as many changes as you request between two brush shapes. Thus, you can gradually metaphorphose a chicken into an egg or a bouncing ball into text on the screen.

Imaginative people will have no trouble seeing the uses to which this program can be put. There's nothing like live action to put a point across, so this product is a natural for business presentations or catching the eye of passersby at a trade show. But the interface is simple enough to be grasped by children, who will be intrigued by the cartoons they can create.


Express Publisher

Desktop publishing software keeps getting more and more sophisticated. Express Publisher from Power Up! sports 300 dots-per-inch output on PostScript or HP-compatible printers, dot-matrix and ink-jet support, scalable fonts, kerning, autohyphenation, and more. But the most unexpected feature is the price tag--under $ 150.

Express Publisher get high marks for its user interface. Mouse support and pull-down menus complement an easy-to-learn icon-based command system. Import text from Word, Works, WordPerfect, WordStar, IBM DCA, or ASCII files and place it in an onscreen box. Render the text in Times, Triumvirate, or Univers typefaces (others are available at extra cost); and scale it from 6 to 144 points. The scalable AGFA Compugraphic fonts will print at your printer's highest resolution, whether you're using a $5,000 PostScript printer or a $500 Epson dot-matrix printer.

Liven up your boring text pages with clip-art graphics. Over 200 TIFF-format images are included. If you can't find what you need there, Express Publisher imports PCX, GIF, IMG, TIFF, Encapsulated PostScript, First Publisher, Print Shop, and MacPaint-format images. You can also draw boxes, lines, and circles using built-in tools.

Other high-end features in this low-end DTP program are text-wrapping, paragraph style sheets, and automatic text flow between columns. Best of all, this COMPUTE Choice Award winner doesn't require high-end hardware; it runs fine on a 640K XT-compatible with hard drive.


Pacioli 2000

The success of any business, including one run from home, rests on a solid bottom line. If you're trying to save overhead costs by doing your own accounting, Pacioli 2000 is a solid investment.

This program includes a general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, billing, inventory control, purchasing, budgeting, and auditing functions--all integrated. Information entered in one module appears in others as well. The well-designed report section helps you manage the multitude of information you'll amass about your company and its vendors and customers.

Some knowledge of accounting is assumed, but you can find plenty of help (often context sensitive) when you need it. The manual and videotape are very good, and M-USA provides free technical support to registered users.

Pacioli 2000 wins a 1991 COMPUTE Choice Award for offering full-featured accounting at less than 50 bucks. Flexible enough to manage cash accounting, accrual accounting, inventory accounting, or accounting for a service-based company, this package is also rigid enough to keep you and your home office on track.