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6/96 Reviews SW: Microsoft Internet Assistant tools

Complete listing of June 1996 reviews

Add-Ins Turn App Docs into Web Pages

By Jim Powell

Building a Web page should be as easy as building a word processor file, so Microsoft's Internet Assistant tools add HTML editing to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access.

I was impressed by the three tools I tested. (The Access component wasn't ready in time for this review.) Available on Microsoft's Web site (, IA for Word adds a toolbar for HTML options while shielding you from ugly HTML tags. Best of all, you're working in a comfortable environment, using familiar, top-notch editing tools-features you won't find in many dedicated Web page builders. Putting an existing document on the Web becomes as simple as saving it in HTML format. The downside: It works only with 32-bit Word.

Internet Assistant for Excel, installed as an .XLA (add-in) file, converts any spreadsheet portion to an HTML table. It supports formatted text and background colors. For me, it's a great way to add a table without HTML.

The PowerPoint Internet Assistant lets you put your presentations online by exporting them as HTML code. They'll be saved complete with sound and animation, and links to jump between slides. Presentations branch to relevant topics using an image map.

It creates two versions of each HTML page: one with text only (plus speaker notes) and a second with text and graphics.

IBM's Lotus SmartSuite 96 doesn't offer Internet integration. First indications are that Corel's new Corel WordPerfect suite will offer completely "built-in" page creation tools within the applications, unlike Internet Assistant. So, for now, Microsoft's HTML tools are way ahead of the competition.

Info File
Microsoft InternetAssistant tools
Price: Free, plus $5 shipping
Pros: Uses MS Office
Cons: No Netscape support
Platforms: Windows 95, NT
Disk Space: 2MB (Word), 2MB (Excel, PowerPoint)
RAM: 6MB (8 recommended)
Microsoft Corp.
WinMag Box Score: 3.5
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