Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 130 / JUNE 1991 / PAGE 146

1-2-3 Release 3.1: The Complete Reference. (book reviews)
by Howard Millman

Like a tour guide, Mary Campbell escorts her readers on a well-documented expedition through the layers of Lotus 1-2-3's convoluted internal architecture. In her newest reference manual, 1-2-3 Release 3.1: The Complete Reference, she tirelessly explores and explains all of release 3.1's myriad features.

Beginning with the basics, Campbell explains 1-2-3's basic elements, such as the work sheet's components, menu terminology, and control key sequences. She subsequently details data entry, manipulating the work sheet's appearance, and printing. In later chapters she describes 1-2-3's more advanced functions, such as macros, database management, and graphics. The last chapter deals exclusively with 3.1's raison d'etre: WYSIWYG. Throughout, Cambell's competent explanations are keyed to illustrations, and she provides numerous (and welcome) step-by-step examples.

In this release Lotus unleashes five new features: a WYSIWYG display, an additional (graphic) menu system, Windows 3.0 compatibility, multiple work sheets in memory, and 13 additional @ functions (prerecorded formulas). Although experienced users of earlier versions of 1-2-3 might consider Campbell's style overly detailed, the incremental challenge of manipulating these intimidating new features warrants her detailed analysis.

The 3.1 version weighs in as the most capable and complicated DOS spreadsheet published by Lotus. Accordingly, two types of users will appreciate this definitive reference--novices who want to walk before they run and spreadsheet-using specialists who need to uncover all of 1-2-3's deepest secrets.