Office XP is Microsoft’s latest suite of office applications, replacing the highly successful Office 2000. Office XP includes a number of innovations, of which one in particular is somewhat controversial.
The Professional edition reviewed here consists of Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint, plus Access the database module. A Professional Special Upgrade edition can be purchased, which includes Publisher, FrontPage, and Intellimouse Explorer; there’s also a Developer edition available that’s full of essential building tools.
Microsoft recommends installing Office XP on a Pentium III system with 128MB of RAM, around 250MB of hard disk space, and Windows 2000. It will, however, run on a PC with a Pentium 133MHz or higher processor, running Windows 98, Me, NT, or 2000. Sadly, anyone stuck with Windows 95 will need to consider upgrading the operating system first.
In addition, Office XP includes a number of ways to safeguard files in the event of a crash. For example, the AutoRecover feature has been extended to other applications. It’s also much easier to revert back to the last saved version through the Document Recovery taskbar. Alternatively, if you attempt to open a corrupt document, Word and Excel will automatically invoke the Repair and Recovery procedure.
In tests, the handwriting recognition software proved very accurate, converting handwritten text (using a graphic tablet and pen) into normal text with ease. There’s also a Write Anywhere option, which – you’ve guessed it – lets you scribble anywhere on the screen.
Some fairly accurate voice recognition software has also been included, there’s a compressed pictures feature for compressing images within Office XP files, as well as the ability to create digitally signed documents.