Force majeure. (WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS and CorelDRAW! 4.0) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Robert Bixby
First, it was DOS 6; then, Windows NT. Rarely have so many exciting major programs been released in new versions at once. Summer seems to be the season for productivity software, probably because long magazine lead times make it important that editors become familiar with the programs in time for the end-of-year awards issues. But perhaps I'm just being cynical. Maybe it's just a coincidence that spring, traditionally the mating season, has become the beta season and that everyone seems to be pushing software out the door by the end of June.
In this spirit, WordPerfect has brought out the first WordPerfect word processor I can unhesitatingly recommend to a beginner.
WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS is a work of art. It has all the power of earlier versions and a friendly almost-standard interface that is not a nightmare to learn. Throw away your cheat sheets and function key stencils. All you need to operate WordPerfect 6.0 is a mouse and a passing understanding of the functioning of a word processor.
Want to send a WordPerfect document as a fax? No problem. WordPerfect has bundled a fax module to make that simple. Want to spell-check, style-check, or look something up in the thesaurus? You're two mouse clicks away from any tool. And the macro language (finally) is simplicity itself. Forget all those tildes (no one could ever figure out how many to use or where they should go). WordPerfect 6.0 has a macro language very similar to that of WordPerfect 5.1 for Windows - a macro language that looks like a language rather than a keypress script.
Is there room in the market for an innovative, easy-to-use DOS word processor? Don' ask Borland. Don't ask WordStar International. But neither of these companies is WordPerfect, which seems to have a lock on DOS word processing. If anyone can pull it off, WordPerfect can. It has the clout, and now it has a product that will appeal to the whole DOS market (and with its new, optional graphical interface, some of the Windows market as well).
Speaking of new releases, WordPerfect's release was accompanied by Microsoft's release of Word 6.0 for DOS. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to see this product yet. I hope to obtain a review copy soon.
Obviously, Corel is intent on pulling light years ahead of its competition. It couldn't resist the temptation to amaze us again with a new CorelDRAW!.
CorelDRAW! 4.0 doesn't represent a massive overhaul of last year's 3.0 version, but throughout the program you can find important improvements over last year's COMPUTE Choice award winner.
A more intuitive organization of commands, multiple pages, and a new fill feature are among the most exciting parts of CorelDRAW! itself. Each of its companion programs has also gone through an evolutionary change - adding and reorganizing in a general housekeeping effort.
One completely new feature in the package is CorelMOVE!, an AddImpact-like animation product that makes creating animated panels for your CorelSHOW! presentations much simpler.
CorelDRAW! added layers to its 3.0 release. For the 4.0 release it also added pages, which allow you to create a publication up to 999 pages long. This makes CorelDRAW! the most graphically intensive desktop publishing package ever. And it's clear from the way Corel implemented pages that this was its intention. The Page Setup dialog box allows you to select from several common desktop publishing options, including a saddle-stitched or bound book. Since CorelDRAW! already boasted a spelling checker and thesaurus, it might be all the word processor many people need. (Thank you, Corel, for quoting me in your annual report. The name is Robert, not Bill, but I'll answer to either.)
Now that the last rose has faded and we've sweltered our way through August, I'm left with one nagging question: Where was Ami Pro? It hardly seemed like summer without a new word processor from Lotus.
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