David A. (Kerr) Burke - President of Coastal Area Users Group, Inc. www.caug.orgA Review of Microsoft Office XP Pro 2002
by David A (Kerr) Burke

I have included all the technical info, (hardware, memory, drive space, pricing), at the bottom of this review.

I have used Microsoft® Office for a long time, but I must confess I do not use all of it. Word, and Outlook are the two applications I use most, not counting FrontPage, (I use the more than any application excluding the operating system). FrontPage is not a part of Microsoft® Office XP Pro, color me disappointed.

Microsoft® Office is the standard; it is used across a broad range of computer systems, from Apple to PC, operating systems and processors, even countries. Odds are if you exchange documents with China, Russia, any nation and the USA, you will use a Microsoft® Office application of some variety.

Because of limitations, (our publishing budget, and space) I will limit my comments to the two parts of Microsoft® Office XP Pro I use most, Word and Outlook.

Word 2002, is a very versatile program, so versatile in fact, that is the reason I do not use PowerPoint or Publisher, because I have found for my use, I can create newsletters, mailing labels, envelopes, flyers, presentations, even HTML pages using Word or Outlook.

Word comes with everything a CAUG member could use or need in document creation, from 3D font editing to email. The task pane can be a mixed blessing, if you are uncomfortable with the menu options Task Pane will make life easier, as the commands you need are just to the right of your work space, if you are old school, (DOS) then you can easily close it and have more screen space to work with.

Word is such a standard, that many companies create enhancements or plug-ins, the largest is Adobe which creates Acrobat, my HP laptop came with a speech plug-in where I can speak instead of typing.

Of course, not everyone is a computer nerd, for the very novice, there are templates. Just go to FILE, start a new document, the task pane will open or change, go to the section New From Template, and select from one of the categories such as General, or On The Web. Then you just fill in the blanks. This is the incredibly easy way, to do everything, from Web pages to Calendars, and there are thousands of templates available for Word, both on the web for free, and via third party software.

Now a few comments on Outlook 2002, it is a close tie to which I really use more often, Outlook or FrontPage. I spend 3 or more hours per day with Outlook. What is Outlook? That is a better question than you may think. Outlook is an email program, but it is an email program bodybuilder style. What I mean is I use my outlook to type documents often, in plain text or HTML, in fact I am creating this review using Outlook, as it makes it easier to create then send copies to our CAUG editor Brian, and Microsoft, while keeping a copy for my records, all in plain text which can easily be loaded into just about any other program if needed.

Outlook also has a built in contact manager, which I use as my address and phone book, not to mention the calendar, which often beeps to remind me I need to be somewhere else other than at the keyboard. My life would be very un-organized without Outlook, and being President of CAUG would be next to impossible without Outlook, next to my wife Outlook is what keeps me out of trouble.

If you have questions on Microsoft® Office XP Pro see me at the CAUG general or SIG meetings and feel free to ask questions, after all that is what we are about. I may not have the answer, but I bet I can find someone or place that does.

Now for the Technical info...

Microsoft® Office XP Pro 2002 (Cost msrp $579.00 full version, $329.00 upgrade): Street average $499.00 Sam's Club offered it for $459.61 several MS applications are included with the Professional edition and are listed below.

Note: There are several flavors/combinations of Microsoft® Office XP (OEM, Standard, Professional, Developer and Special).

The Professional edition contains:

• Microsoft Word 2002

• Microsoft Excel 2002

• Microsoft Outlook 2002

• Microsoft PowerPoint 2002

• Microsoft Access 2002

Operating System Requirements:

Microsoft Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 6 or greater, or Windows 2000 or greater. Windows XP any version. On systems running Windows NT 4.0, the version of Internet Explorer must be upgraded to at least 4.01 with Service Pack 1.

Hardware Requirements:

Pentium 133 MHz or faster, you can never be to fast or have to much memory, on today's gigahertz CPUs with 512 or more of memory it runs just fine. Older systems the best upgrade would be as much memory as you can get into the machine.

Microsoft Windows 98, 98 Second Edition, Me, NT 4.0 with Service Pack 6 or greater, or Windows 2000 or greater; on systems running Windows NT 4.0, the version of Internet Explorer must be upgraded to at least 4.01 with Service Pack 1

Note: Add 8 MB RAM to the following memory requirements for each Office application open simultaneously: 24 MB RAM (Windows 98); 32 MB RAM (Windows Me, NT Workstation, or Server 4.0); 64 MB RAM (Windows 2000 Professional, XP)

Hard-disk space requirements will vary depending on configuration. 245 MB of available hard-disk space is required for the default configuration of Microsoft Office XP Professional with 115 MB on the hard disk where the operating system is installed. Customers without Windows 2000, Windows Me or Office 2000 SR1 will require an extra 50 MB of hard-disk space for the System Files Update. Custom installation choices may require more or less hard-disk space (There is a lot of custom options such as templates, graphics, and plug-ins).

4x or greater CD-ROM drive

Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-resolution monitor with 256 colors

Microsoft works with CAUG and offers a great support program, ranging from Presentations, Donations, to Review products, for more information contact me at caug@ccatech.com