Lance N. Ulanoff
Despite Microsoft Corp.'s constant assurances that Windows 3.1 users would have no problem switching to Windows 95, not everyone believed that upgrading to the operating system's new suite would prove easy--and worthwhile. Unfortunately, Lotus Development Corp. and Novell had yet to ship their 32-bit, Windows 95-compatible suites and so at press time could offer no competition for Microsoft Office Standard for Windows 95.
Microsoft's head start, as the first to hit the market with a new Windows 95-compliant/-compatible suite, came as no surprise. But Office Standard made us take notice with its high-quality leaps in application integration and intelligence.
Office Standard not only includes upgraded and improved versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Schedule+ 95, but it breaks new ground with a built-in feature called Binder. This OLE container can take disparate files from multiple office applications and embed them in a single file that you can easily copy or e-mail. Microsoft has also improved its help capabilities by introducing a new Answer Wizard that lets you type in questions instead of key words. The wizard answers with a series of related topics.
Microsoft has enhanced all four components of Office Standard, but more radical changes, such as new file formats, appear in PowerPoint and Schedule+ 95. In particular, PowerPoint's new conferencing feature lets you give presentations over a TCP/IP network. And participants can even annotate the presentation as they follow along.
Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA; 800-426-9400, 206-882-8080. (Reviewed: October 10, 1995)