Law Office Computing
WordPerfect Is Back From the Beach
or a while there, the introduction of Windows 95 appeared to signal a takeover of virtually every aspect of computing by Microsoft Corporation. At the corporate operating system level Windows NT appears to be winning the battle against UNIX. At the desktop level, Windows 95 has virtually obliterated all competitors. At the hardware level, the Wintel (Microsoft/Intel) partnership is rapidly sending Apple Computer, Inc. into oblivion. Apple's market share among large and medium-sized U.S. businesses has dropped by more than 50 percent in the last year although it did report a profit for the first time in a long time last quarter. WordPerfect Corporation, which once held the absolutely dominant position in the law office word processing world, has also suffered premature death announcements and an almost constant flow of negativity from the computer press. But, WordPerfect really just went on vacation and while there took up with a Canadian named Corel. Corel is the world leader in graphics and such and when they married a few months ago, there was a lot of speculation about the success of the union. Over the last few months I have been using the Big Three office suites from Microsoft, Lotus and now Corel WordPerfect. I now am ready to offer the opinion that WordPerfect 7 for Windows 95 is the word processing platform for your office, now and the future. If you have hesitated because you don't want to retrain your staff or because of the years of WordPerfect files in your office, you need hesitate no more. I am here to tell you that WordPerfect is back from the beach, bigger and better than ever before
have always believed that there were just a few pieces of software that made the computer revolution. The 1,2,3 spread sheet from Lotus, the original Macintosh operating system, and a few others. For me the software that changed my life was WordPerfect 4.2. I spent many hours developing macros that would execute complicated keyboard based commands and I marveled at the ability of the program to perform various kinds of miracles. That was in the days of DOS and when WordPerfect for Windows 6.1 finally hit the street a few years ago, I was in computer heaven. But if that was heaven, this is an even better place. As far as I am concerned, WordPerfect 7 for Windows 95 is the most intuitive and easy to use word processor on the market.
et me start with an obvious thing that is not unique to WordPerfect. Windows 95 allows you to use a long file name with up to 256 characters. As a result, your documents can have names like amended complaint in Jones v. Smith instead of some arcane title like JVS-AMD.CMP, which might make sense to your secretary but would hardly make sense to somebody who had to search for that document on your hard drive. WordPerfect 7 starts on that solid foundation and builds an absolutely wonderful desktop office operating system. Some of the features that I think are of particular value in the law office environment are:
- A wide array of fonts and graphics.
- A program called Quick Tasks that gives you a fill in the blanks template for almost every kind of document you can imagine.
- Drag and drop margins that you can adjust on the screen with your mouse.
- Quick Fonts, a button right at the top of your screen that allows you to select a font that you have used recently from a visual list.
- Quick Spot, a floating point of reference that you click on to change the characteristics of a particular paragraph.
- Very powerful HTML capabilities for the creation and modification of Web pages.
ordPerfect comes as part of a suite of software products called WordPerfect 7 which includes the Quattro Pro Spread Sheet, Presentations Software, Corel Flow Charting Software, and a whole host of accessories including an address book, a phone dialer, a database, a powerfully improved quick finder, and a whole bunch of other things. The downside of all of this is that when I loaded up the entire Corel WordPerfect 7 Suite on my computer I consumed 400 megabytes of hard disk space. But you don't have to load up everything. You can select from the custom install only those components that you want. WordPerfect alone uses about 70 megabytes of space. On the other hand, the product is so incredibly cheap that you can afford to buy an additional hard drive just to hold the full WordPerfect 7. I picked up the complete office suite at the Price Club for $89 and that, my friends, is a remarkable bargain.
s I work with WordPerfect 7 over the course of the next few months you can expect that I will report back to you the things that I find. For the moment, however, I am comfortable saying that if you are ready to switch over some or all of your office machines to Windows 95, that you ought to give WordPerfect Office a very, very close look. One of the advantages is that for those of you who have staff people who have grown up on WordPerfect, this will be a natural and easy transition. Unlike Word 7, which requires a fairly steep learning curve, WordPerfect 7 is completely intuitive to older WordPerfect users. I think this is a fantastic program and I am sure that it indicates that we are in for a very, very fine period of competition between the leading word processors. A couple of years ago I didn't think it could get much better than WordPerfect 6.1 for Windows. I was wrong but I don't think I am wrong to say that now we only have a few moments to go before we reach nirvana.
am running WordPerfect 7 on a Pentium 90 machine with 32 megs of RAM. If you don't have a similar machine with at least 16 megs of RAM, this would be a good time to upgrade. As I indicated a couple of months ago, RAM is now cheap and Windows 95 cruises with 32 megs of it. Have Fun!!!!