Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 132 / AUGUST 1991 / PAGE 118

Outside In. (utility program) (evaluation)
by Stephen Levy

The mission: Import text and data into your word processor from other word processor, spreadsheet, or database files. Outside In is up to the challenge, and the current version supports over 50 file formats, including all of the most popular ones.

Using Outside In is straighforward. Once you've installed the program (requires 70K), simply place your cursor where you want to insert data and press the hot key. From the Outside In window, select the file and text or data to be inserted and press the insert key. Instantly Outside In begins inserting the data in your word processor. Since Outside In actually inserts the data as if it were being entered from the keyboard, the length of time it needs to complete the operation depends on the length of the insert. Inserting a short paragraph or a dozen cells from a spreadsheet takes just a second or two, whereas 300 cells from a spreadsheet can take 10 to 15 seconds, depending on the speed of your computer.

Whether your data comes from a spreadsheet, database, or word processor, Outside In will have little trouble recognizing the format. The program even maintains bold, underlined, and italic text through the importation process. Though it's conversion software, it can also be used to view another file's contents without leaving the document you're working on. This can be especially useful if you're writing a report and need to refer to other documents or your spreadsheet without leaving the file you currently have open. Remeber, though, that Outside In is designed to import data only into word processors, so if you try to import data into your spreadsheet or some other application, the results can be quite unpredictable.

The designers at Systems Compatibility have included some useful and convenient features as part of Outside In. For example, when viewing a file, you can search for a series of numbers. Our, when you need to find a specific file within a long directory, you can use a wildcard format to display only those files with a specific extension. You can even customize the set-up parameters to meet special needs.

Outside In is an easy-to-use and useful programs for DOS users (it does not function under Windows 3.0) who need to write reports or create other documents requiring the importing of data or text from other files such as a database or spreadsheet. I recommend Outside In to non-Windows 3.0 users who need this type of utility. And if you use any of the more popular word processors, you should have no problem using this software. Outside In can make your word processor just a little more powerful.