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-- by Cheryl Dominianni
Just when you get familiar with JPEG and GIF files, you discover a host of alternative graphics file formats, many incompatible with Microsoft applications. ImageStream 97 2.0 enhances the 13 supported graphics formats in Microsoft Office and Microsoft Publisher, and adds 22 more, including filters for Adobe Illustrator, Harvard Graphics and AutoCAD Native Drawing Format. You'll find support for two new formats-Micrografx Designer 6.0 (DSF) and IBM Picture Interchange Format (PIF)-and new filters for the latest releases of CorelDraw 6.0 (CDR), AutoCAD 13 (DWG and DXF) and Drawing Interchange Format (DXF)
Although designed as a seamless add-on to Microsoft Office 97 and Publisher 97, ImageStream 97 is also compatible with previous versions of those apps. Simple to install and use, you continue to import graphics with the Insert Picture command. It's also possible to utilize ImageStream filters in Microsoft Office applications like Access that don't have the Insert Picture command. In those applications, you use the Insert Object command instead and then Add Pictures.
ImageStream 97 operates quietly in the background when the parent program is faced with a file format it can't handle. Insert an AutoCAD DWG file, and you'll briefly see an ImageStream 97 screen showing conversion progress but little else.
This add-on saves time and disk space, since you normally have to convert files produced in programs such as Adobe Illustrator to EPS (Adobe Illustrator's format isn't supported directly by Microsoft). That conversion takes time and increases memory requirements; a 78KB Adobe Illustrator file we converted grew into a 117KB EPS file, and more complex files may double in size. ImageStream 97 makes the process a one-step operation and retains the Adobe Illustrator file size.
ImageStream 97 can also save money since it allows you to view and import images created in other applications without having them installed. Logos, designs and illustrations created in the art department in a Micrografx Designer 6.0 (DSF) format, for example, can be seamlessly imported into Microsoft Office and Publisher and used in departments throughout the company.
On a more creative note, you can also use ImageStream 97 to jazz up and enhance documents, reports, presentations and Web pages. Drawings, technical illustrations, flowcharts and floor plans are some of the graphics examples that are now just a click away. When you use the HTML Export feature in Office 97 and Publisher 97, the graphics you've imported with ImageStream 97 are automatically converted to GIF or JPEG format. You'll appreciate the speedy and efficient way ImageStream 97 2.0 works to make your tasks easier.