Washington Post: Microsoft Office 2000 A Massive Mixed Bag

“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

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