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Suites for the Sweet: WordPerfect Office 2000
Moving a Long-Established Suite to Linux
May 18, 2000
In the effort to become a dominant force in the Linux marketplace, Corel has thrown a lot of resources into its new Linux operating system of late. To further bolster its position, Corel has recently ported its entire WordPerfect Office 2000 suite to the Linux platform, with plans to move its popular CorelDRAW application later this year.
While Linux users both new and old have heralded this move to the Linux platform as a very good thing, WordPerfect Office 2000 (WP2000) for Linux is not without some problems.
I reviewed the WP2000 Deluxe suite on an AMD K6 processor PC with 96 MB RAM on a Corel Linux 1.1 partition. This application can run on other Linux distributions such as Caldera, SuSE, Mandrake, and Red Hat Linux, but for the sake of stability, I opted to use Corel's new OS. This being said, let's begin by examining the core app in this office suite: WordPerfect 9.
Since I reviewed a beta version of this application, Corel has tightened up the nuts and bolts of WordPerfect and has delivered an almost seamless product.
The most outstanding thing that struck me was the designer's feel of the application. Clearly, Corel wants the user to think of this application as a design and layout tool as well as something to crank out the verbiage.
All of the major features you have come to expect from a mature word processing program: paragraph and tab formatting, spell checking, table tools--they're all there. In fact, there's a wealth of tools in this application, which will make the learning curve on the gold release something to contend with.
Corel has added some interesting features to this iteration, the most visual one being the addition of what they call RealTime Preview. This tool shows up when using the font and font size drop-down lists in the Font property bar. To the right of the lists is a small preview screen that reveals exactly what some of the selected text you're about to change will look like.
Corel has also jacked up other preview features, such as adding a new Print Preview tool that, in conjunction with RealTime preview, lets you play around with the overall look of your document before setting it to paper.
Printing from WordPerfect (and the rest of the applications) has become much easier than it was in the beta. The applications immediately sensed my system's default printer across the network and sent the print files there.
Like all the other productivity suites out there, WP2000 is not about to let another version go by without stepping up its Web-publishing capabilities. WordPerfect 9 comes with an Internet Publisher tool that lets you create a Web page from scratch or convert an existing document to HTML. There is also a feature that will convert an existing document to Adobe's PDF format. With these tools and WordPerfect's ability to save and open files in a variety of formats, including everything from MS Word 2000 to XyWrite III, compatibility is really no longer a concern.