Company: Claris Corporation
Estimated Price: $99.00
Microsoft Office 98 is well on its way to
becoming a hit Macintosh item. But with a hefty
$400+ price tag, it’s not the most affordable
office suite. Claris, on the other hand, has produced an office suite with a very reasonable price tag… But is it worth the cash?
Claris strikes gold with almost every software title they produce. Claris Em@iler is a hit with us Internet users (and contrary to rumor, has not been axed), Claris Home Page 2.0 is an awesome Web publishing tool, and FileMaker Pro has been more than successful in its league. Basically, we’ve come to trust Claris with great software. Once again, Claris has made good on their commitment. ClarisWorks Office is a highly versatile and affordable package.
Many buyers are confused when it comes to the Office package. Basically, it’s ClarisWorks 5.0 souped up with Internet tools, Web tools, enhancements, templates, and other cool features. Claris’s draw and paint tools have also been favorably revised. This combination of tools creates a great product for word processing, spreadsheet work, database, Web design, and presentation.
The first thing that impressed me about this package was the printed manual… Surprisingly informative. Doubling my excitement was the fact that it was written in understandable English. Truthfully, however, the software is self-explanatory, and I rarely had to consult the manual as I was learning the product. Those that prefer on-screen help are also in luck as Claris has included an excellent help library. Installing and setting up the software was simple, and I was going strong in ten minutes. While we’re on the “help” topic, it’s appropriate to mention the collection of templates included with ClarisWorks Office. In all, there are well over 200 templates to help you create everything from letterheads to spreadsheets. Small-business users will also enjoy the included JIAN Business Basics collection of templates.
ClarisWorks Office needs a very modest 3 – 4MB of RAM to run. Try getting that out of Word. Even with the new features of this set, ClarisWorks has speed. Being a beginning programmer, I definitely realize how hard it is to write speedy code. The program is also extremely reliable. I’ve had no crashes or data loss since I began using the package two months ago.
But what about the features? Impressive. Most noticeably, the button bar. Yes, I know… you’ve had bad experiences with the Microsoft Word button bar feature.
Believe me, this one is tame. The button bar is a completely customizable set of tools that let you do everything from format text to spell check to create Internet hyperlinks. Add and delete buttons to your heart’s desire, or switch between multiple bars. More importantly, create your own buttons (or even entire button bars) from the ground up. Scripts, commands, links… whatever floats your boat. But let’s not give all the glory to the button bar. As I said above, you can create links to Internet Web pages as well as links to other files. With a click, ClarisWorks opens your browser and sends you to the linked site. And with the HTML translation, you can create a simple Web page using ClarisWorks Office.
Database and spreadsheet users will definitely enjoy the refinements to those areas of the program. Spreadsheet features look much like those found in Excel, and the improved database function now allows you to store more text and information, including graphics (Claris includes over a thousand clip art images) and movies.
With this feature set and reliability behind it, ClarisWorks Office makes an excellent software package for home and small-business users. Granted, it lacks many of the features contained in products like Microsoft Office, but at less than half the price, it’s well worth it.
68020 processor or better (PowerPC for HomePage Lite), 8MB RAM, 21MB hard disk space minimum, System 7.0.1 or later, CD-ROM drive.)
MacMice Rating: 3
Shay Fulton (firstname.lastname@example.org)