I’ve started trying out Word Perfect Office 12 and I like it quite a bit. I’ve been a long time Word Perfect user (like many long time computer user have been at some point) but gradually switched over to Microsoft Office as that is what so many businesses are now using – 90%+ of the desktop market. However over the past few years, I’ve hardly uses an application suite as my work as been all email, plain text and HTML (blogging, etc).
Corel continues to churn out new and better versions of Word Perfect – mainly to hold on to its existing base of government and legal sector users.
Word Perfect Office 12 comes with a suite of applications including Word Perfect for word processing, Quatro Pro a spread sheet, Presentations for what else…presentations, Word Perfect Mail for email, Paint Shop Pro a graphics editing program, Office Ready which holds templates and solutions packs and finally Norton Internet Security (90 day trial). (Let’s not forget the included Yahoo! tool bar as well – I don’ think it’s a real value add but I could be wrong. I defer that Corel knows what it’s doing.)
The question Corel will have to answer, is do people like Word Perfect Office enough to switch from what they use. I use Mozilla Thunderbird and Google for email and I don’t need to switch to Word Perfect Mail, I rarely use a Word Processor, but when I do the files are Word Files SENT to me – so Word Perfect loses out. Are there many users like me? I know there are hundreds of thousands of users who use Word Perfect and Word Perfect’s upgrades are mainly for them. However, with this new release there might be some Microsoft Office defectors?
Where Word Perfect really shines is not so much for those who have existing products that they are pleased with, like in my case, but for those who do not have products they like and/or for Word Perfect users who are considering upgrading. Many small business owners starting their businesses might fall into the first category.
Think of just the costs as one purchase factor.
Word Perfect costs $290 while Microsoft Office standard edition costs $370 – $80 more than Word Perfect. If you need to buy software for 10 employees that’s a savings of $800 not including licensing discounts. Have 50 employees – then you save $4,000 buying Word Perfect. That money for a good color laser printer or a couple plane tickets to a business conference.
Word Perfect Office comes with a nice task menu that brings together the entire Word Perfect Office into one window giving you one click, tab access to a number of features including: tasks, core applications, recent documents, online services; tips and tricks and help & support.
The task tab gives users a menu of tasks/templates they can do such as business planning (business plans & proposals, sample business plans); marketing materials (brochure, newsletter, postcard, etc making) and more.
The online services tab includes offerings to buy training videos (blogging, HTML and home office networking); offers to subscribe to the Word Perfect Expert newsletter; and and an offer to obtain tips and journals from a 3rd party publisher. Right now this tab does not have much value add, but Corel could powerfully leverage this with new updates, offers and online tools.
I can’t begin to compare each feature of Word Perfect Office to the competition – there are just too many features and too many variables. However, Word Perfect Office is by far an easy to use and feature rich tool.
Word Perfect Office has gone out of its way to make it as easy as possible for Microsoft Office users to easily switch over to Word Perfect Office in two ways:
1) Word Perfect Office provides tool bars in Word Perfect, Quatro Pro and Presentations that mimic the look and feel of Microsoft Office applications.
2) Word Perfect Office includes a “Perfect Expert” with plain English tips explaining how to do many tasks. A time saver and headache eraser.
These two options make it easy for beginners, Microsoft Office users or just about anyone to QUICKLY get up to speed using Word Perfect Office.
The other interesting program included with Word Perfect Office is Word Perfect Mail – this mail program is POWERFUL and feature rich. It quickly and easily imported my email and settings from Eudora – it can also import settings from other email programs including Microsoft Outlook Express and Outlook.
Word Perfect Mail has the “gMail” smartness about it that lets use quickly find email messages you need and save the resulting searches. You can still sort email in folders of course, but Word Perfect Mail’s powerful search makes finding emails so much easier. Another neat tool is Word Perfect Mail’s “Smart Groups” that helps you manage not only RSS feeds but also your email based mailing lists. This is really only a pre-defined rules, but it’s a nice usability touch. Word Perfect Mail is a smart and powerful email program that any business person would enjoy using.
Word Perfect Mail includes a feature rich calendar which not only helps you keep track of your schedule but lets you easily publish your calendar to an internet or web site for other Word Perfect Mail users in your company to download and view events in your calendar and/or only see free or blocked time.
Corel has done a fabulous job of offering a great product, with a long history of sustainability full of useful tools at a great price.