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-- by James E. Powell
If you're looking for a powerful, network-ready phone book, pick up METZ Phones 6.0. The latest version offers several new features-including a print preview and fast multiple-field searches-that don't compromise the program's ease of use or overall performance. In addition, version 6.0 allows networked users who are running a 16- or 32-bit operating system to access a telephone book simultaneously.
METZ Phones would benefit from a few more features, including a calendar and multidirectional record updates. But its ease of use is a huge asset. The METZ Phones main screen is divided into two panes. In the top portion, you'll find a sortable list of phone book entries. Highlight a record, and more-detailed information appears in the tabbed interface below. You can store as many mailing addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers as you want. METZ Phones will dial a selected phone number while implementing its new TAPI support.
You can also connect to your MAPI-compliant e-mail program. Similarly, if you click on the globe icon that appears next to each Web address, METZ Phones launches your browser and takes you to that site. A tab for custom fields is easy to use, though there's no validation of field data.
METZ Phones 6.0 is flexible. It lets you assign clients to multiple categories, such as Business and Personal, and then filter your list based on a category. Other options include synchronizing your desktop and laptop phone books, globally replacing data and keeping multiple databases open simultaneously.
We particularly liked the ability to link contact information to a master record-a feature that many contact managers, including Janna Contact Personal 1.0, implement poorly or not at all. Unfortunately, since METZ Phones' linking is unidirectional, updates to the master record flow to the linked records, but changes to the linked records are not corrected in the master.
We've always appreciated METZ Phones' speed. Combined with its clear, colorful interface, the latest version is easy to learn and a joy to use.
Unlike the contact managers on our WinList, METZ Phones 6.0 has no calendar component. That's because it focuses on managing your phone book, not your appointments. In this capacity, it does an excellent job, which is why we're adding it to our WinList of recommended products this month.