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Office Productivity


Crystal Reports Professional 5.0
Crystal Reports Professional, one of the premier report generators around, gets more connected--with hooks into more types of data--and easier to use. This latest version offers conditional reports, subreports and new output options. Formatting options have been tuned up, and a new expert/wizard helps you with Crystal's 80 different styles. The update adds native drivers for Oracle, Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server. $395 Seagate Software, 800-663-1244, 604-681-3435. Winfo #555. Go to Full Review

FileMaker Pro 3.0
Without sacrificing its trademark ease of use, FileMaker Pro 3.0 adds the kind of data-processing power offered by far more complex systems. This program helps build one-to-many and many-to-one relationships between two files, including a minimal amount of referential integrity. FileMaker Pro keeps its handy look-up feature, which copies data from one file to another, and adds a "portal" that opens into other databases to set up master/detail reports and forms. $199 Claris Corp., 800-544-8554, 408-727-8227. Winfo #556. Go to Full Review

Lotus Approach 97
Lotus Approach 97 boasts extensive sample applications; the ability to use a variety of database formats; balloon help; online documentation; wizards; and a comprehensive set of built-in reports and queries. Two new features are especially notable: Stylesheets let you maintain a consistent look across forms and reports; and the Apt files feature saves a database in a compacted form that contains views and data of your choosing. The LotusScript macro language makes this database even more flexible and eminently approachable. $109 Lotus Development Corp., 800-343-5414, 617-577-8500. Go to Full Review


Transform ho-hum text into eye-grabbing graphics with ActiveOffice and a couple of mouse clicks. Click on the Layout tab, and from within Microsoft Word, select several lines of text. Click on the layout you want, and turn the text lines into an org chart, puzzle pieces, a pyramid, a flowchart or a bulleted list. Add some dash to PowerPoint presentations with easily customized layouts, backgrounds, and accents such as starbursts, light bulbs and speech bubbles. $50 Software Publishing Corp., 800-557-3743, 408-537-3000. Winfo #557. Go to Full Review


Microsoft Excel 7.0
The latest version of Excel gives you more spreadsheet power than ever before. Its Format AutoCorrect, the single most useful feature we've seen in a spreadsheet in a long time, watches for 15 frequently made errors. AutoCorrect can fix formulas, too, adding a missing parenthesis or eliminating double operators. Natural language also makes creating Excel formulas much easier. Additional chart types have been added; other notable features include calculated fields in Pivot Tables, multiple undo and Web integration. $339 Microsoft Corp., 800-426-9400. Winfo #558. Go to Full Review


ClarisWorks 4.0 for Windows 95
Among the best of the small office suites, ClarisWorks 4.0 includes a word processor, a spreadsheet, a database manager, drawing tools and a presentation facility. It also has desktop publishing-type features, enhanced mail-merge capabilities and drawing tools that are easy to learn and use. The suite's spreadsheet has some slick features, too, that make short work of searches, sorts, reports and charts. Its parts are impressive individually, but it's the sum of the parts and overall ease of use that make ClarisWorks stand out. $49; upgrades, $39 Claris Corp., 800-544-8554, 408-727-8227. Winfo #559. Go to Full Review

PerfectWorks 3.0
PerfectWorks is a versatile, popular mini-suite that enters the Windows 95 environment with this version. Key component changes, like the extensive use of tabs in the interface, make it easier to access common tasks. The user manual--displayed on the Reference page--is augmented by multimedia tutorials. User interface improvements, such as access to online services, alphanumeric paging, advanced word processor, spreadsheet, and painting and drawing modules, make Novell's PerfectWorks an impressive performer that's worthy of a piece of your hard disk real estate. $79 Novell, 800-NETWARE, 801-222-6000.
Winfo #560. Go to Full Review

WordPerfect Suite 7
New applications and a Windows 95 look and feel sweeten this celebrated office suite. The Desktop Application Director (DAD) provides fast access to its own applications or any you add. It launches cross-application macros, remembers used files or fires up your Web browser. There are new file formats for every application that you save in Envoy, a universal document viewing standard that adds support for URL links as well as links to other Envoy-published documents. $279; upgrade, $99 Corel Corp., 800-772-6735, 613-728-3733.
Winfo #561. Go to Full Review

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