Microsoft Office System
The new omnipresent Research Library displays information from for-fee resources such as Factiva News or WorldLingo.
Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 now produces custom slide shows for burning to CD. It gives more multimedia options as well, including streaming video or audio content within a given slide. Finally, a new toolbar puts all the tools, such as a highlighter and other annotation tools, at your fingertips so that you can add notes on the fly as you play a presentation. And like Word and Excel, both PowerPoint and Microsoft Access 2003 now support Smart Tags, which mark addresses, names, and other selected data for quick reference.
Working across all the applications is Research Library (accessible from within Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Publisher). To open it, either right-click a word and choose the Look Up option or call up the separate Research Task Pane alongside an open document window. The Research library includes direct access to a dictionary, a thesaurus, translation services, MSN Search, MSN Money Stock Quotes, and the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. Third-party resources such as eLibrary and WorldLingo are also available. Enterprises may use the area to supply employees with internal corporate intranet information, such as style guides and internal sales information, via XML.
Microsoft Word 2003 offers a new view called Reading Mode that duplicates the look of a printed page and, unlike Print Preview, lets you edit text. There's also the nifty "Compare side by side" feature that shows two documents next to one another with synchronized scrolling so that you can quickly see any changes between the two.
Microsoft Excel 2003 also offers the "Compare side by side" tool, useful when viewing a pair of worksheets simultaneously.
PowerPoint 2003 collects linked presentation files and copies them and the accompanying Viewer utility to a CD so that you can display your slide show on any Windows PC.
Office System includes a new Information Rights Management (IRM) technology that lets creators of Office documents and Outlook e-mail messages determine who gets permission to edit a file, forward e-mail, or pass along an Office file attachment. The back-end requirements for this are considerable, including the use of Windows Server 2003. If your business wants rights management, you have to buy Microsoft Office System Professional; no other version of Office is equipped to initiate such permissions. Fortunately, all other editions of Office System's applications will view and edit IRM-locked files if permission is given.
One final productivity note: Microsoft OneNote 2003, a nifty note-taking application that's a member of the Microsoft Office System, is missing from all bundled editions of Office. OneNote, which keeps track of random notes, phone numbers, and ideas--perfect for tablet PC use--is overpriced at $99. Were it a part of the Student and Teacher or Standard editions of Office, we might recommend that everyone upgrade to Office System.
Contents: Microsoft Office System