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Washington Post: Microsoft Office 2000 A Massive Mixed Bag

Mar 18, 1999, 18:56 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Cheek)

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"Office software suites just keep getting bigger and badder.

The Beta 2 test version of the mammoth Microsoft Office 2000 -- the finished product is due out in June -- recently reached my desk on seven CD-ROMs. Not only has the code expanded, but Microsoft Corp. also has inserted FrontPage for Web programming, Publisher for desktop publishing and a new art application, PhotoDraw."

"Installing this colossal, confusing collection took some time and concentration. And when I'd finished playing with it, I was left with the impression of a lot of little changes but few big ones. In sum, I'd say Office 97 users have no compelling reason to upgrade. Still, I liked some of the new features that Microsoft has thrown in."

"People who contribute to the Web and are not hypertext markup language programmers may like this change: HTML, the file format for Web documents, is now native for Office. But they might not be happy to learn that all the suite's applications have the same Web authoring status as FrontPage, the authoring specialist.

For example, Excel is terrific at math calculations, but a lot of people merely use it to make text tables. When I saved a small Excel 2000 table as HTML, a lot of unneeded code got dumped into the file along with the needed data. Excel threw in a bunch of cells well beyond the plotting area, too, so the resulting HTML document was unnecessarily huge.

I tried to open the file in FrontPage to do some more formatting on the Web page. Guess what: FrontPage launched Excel to edit the file."

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