Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 153 / JUNE 1993 / PAGE 94

Outside In for DOS and Windows. (Outside In for DOS and Outside In for Windows 2.0 file management software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Stephen Levy

The original Outside In from Systems Compatibility Corporation (SCC) is a DOS memory-resident utility that allows you to view and insert into your word processor text or data from other applications. SCC has now released an upgraded DOS version and an enhanced Windows version. Each has the ability to view and copy data from a file into a word processing document.

This latest version of Outside In for DOS has a few improvements over earlier versions. The most important change is that it now allows you to define noncontiguous sections of a file to import.

Outside In for DOS is easy to use. Once you've installed it, you simply press Ctrl-l to view or import text or data. If you switched to Outside In while in a word processing document, you can easily select another file to view and import from. Outside In retains character attributes such as bold, underline, and italics. The program will allow you to view almost any type of file, whether it be another word processing document, spreadsheet data, or a database file. In fact, the documentation lists more than six dozen file formats Outside In will read.

Outside In for DOS is highly intuitive. If you can't figure out the easiest way to accomplish the task at hand, you can access the program's good onscreen help.

I tried importing data from Lotus 1-2-3, Quattro Pro, dBASE III+, and several DOS word processing documents. Outside in did a good job importing data from all of these files. I tried viewing and inserting from one Windows application, Word for Windows. Outside In did view the file--and you certainly could read and import the Word document--but the program couldn't read the formatting codes and gave cryptic codes such as SYMBOL 183 \f 'Symbol'\s 10 \h. I can't recommend Outside In for DOS if you plan to import data f rom Windows applications into a DOS word processor. But if you use DOS applications extensively and you need the ability to view data from another file or to import data from one file to your DOS word processor, Outside In for DOS is an easy-to-use option.

The original Outside In for Windows has some of the same strengths as its DOS sibling. However, many of its functions simply duplicate tasks that can be accomplished with functions built into Windows. The latest version retains the original's ability to, automatically on installation, add a macro to Ami Pro, Word for Win dows, and WordPerfect for Windows. The Outside In macro allows you to bring up Outside In from these word processors instantly.

Outside In for Windows Version 2 includes some important enhancements. Its strengths are its ability to view, search, copy, and launch applications, as well as allowing you to view and copy data from DOS applications into your Windows word processor--a useful and handy utility. More than 30 text formats are supported, as well as seven spreadsheet, five database, and five integrated formats, such as Enable. Outside In also works with all major electronic mail programs to provide a simple way to view mail attachments.

But Version 2's most compelling feature may be its ability to view graphics and compressed files. I tried viewing and copying several graphics to Word for Windows with no difficulty. The advantage to using Outside In to add graphics to Word over the Insert Picture feature of Word is Outside In's view feature. With Outside In you can look at the graphic before inserting it. Viewing and copying from compressed files was also effortless.

Outside In for Windows Version 2 performs as advertised. Its interface is easy to use, especially if you're familiar with Windows. I recommend Outside In for Windows Version 2 if you do a lot of copying from one Windows application to another, need to copy from DOS applications into Windows, or regularly import pictures into your word processing files.