Small-Business Software

Spreadsheet Software

Microsoft Excel 97 for Windows 95/NT 3.51 (Macintosh version also available)

Overview: This new program is designed to make spreadsheets useful for a wider variety of tasks, allowing the user to compute just about anything, especially data that lends itself to a grid format (such as inventory, sales projections, and expenses). It also performs charting, analysis and data management, and is able to incorporate information from online sources. Multiple Level Undo provides the freedom to experiment by allowing multiple actions to be undone. The natural language formulas enable users to write equations using everyday terminology. Drag-and-drop page breaks make repaginating and redefining print areas easy. This program also makes working in a connected environment possible. Shared workbooks allow multiple users access to the same document simultaneously.

Minimum IBM-Compatible System Requirements: 8MB RAM for Windows 95; 16MB RAM for Windows NT; 22MB to 64MB of hard-disk space; typical installation requires 36MB.

Suggested Retail Price: $339 for new users; $109 to upgrade from a previous version or a competitive product. Available on CD-ROM or high-density diskettes.

Lotus 1-2-3 97 Edition for Windows 95/NT 4.0

Overview: Designed to crunch numbers and keep track of everything from payroll to mailing lists, this new 32-bit program enables users to find, publish and share information across the Internet and within company intranets. Users can collaborate with colleagues and bring in information from a wide range of sources. Key features include 1-2-3 AutoTotal, which enables the user to add a series of numbers by typing the word "total." Dynamic Print Preview lets users simultaneously edit and preview their worksheets. The user can instantly see the effects of changes made to worksheets before printing. And Outlining gives the user the option to quickly summarize worksheet data into outline format, producing a concise, visual, top-line summary of the work.

Minimum IBM-Compatible System Requirements: Minimum of 8MB RAM required (12MB when running more than one application). Minimum of 16MB RAM required for Windows NT 4.0. 486 50Mhz or higher. Microsoft Windows-compatible video adapter (VGA or higher resolution) and monitor.

Suggested Retail Price: $329 for new users; $105 to upgrade from a previous version or a competitive product.

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This article was originally published in the May 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Small-Business Software.

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