Mac's Back!

What You Get

Word 98 alone has tons of features that will enhance your productivity. One of my favorites is the editing aids. Possible misspelled words are flagged with a red, squiggly underline so you never forget to double-check spelling. There's a grammar checker that proofreads documents; URLs and e-mail addresses can be converted to hyperlinks; and an AutoFormat function automatically creates numbered or bulleted lists. There's a Document Map that splits the screen to display an easy-to-navigate outline of your document--great for lengthy jobs, such as reports, books and proposals. And the list of convenient features goes on and on.

Similarly, Excel 98 has been modified so it's easier to use, taking much of the mystery out of spreadsheet formatting and formula-making. There's a Formula AutoCorrect option that helps users write equations by correcting 15 of the most common formula-building errors. And writing formulas is more intuitive with the option of replacing cell references with column and row headings (for example, Price*Quantity rather than A1*A2).

Chart and layout functionality have also been improved in Excel 98, as has the shared workbook feature, which makes using Excel in a workgroup easier than ever. Multiple users can collaborate on a spreadsheet, and changes can be tracked by users. If you're not networked with a user you want to share a workbook with, there's the new ability to merge workbooks--consolidating changes made to multiple copies of the same workbook. That means you can e-mail a file to someone, have that person make changes and e-mail it back, then merge the changes into the original document.

PowerPoint incorporates a lot of the improvements found in Word, such as underlining misspelled words and suggesting corrections. There's also the AutoContent Wizard to help users get started laying out a presentation. And PowerPoint's new custom show feature tailors slides to specific audiences but saves each version within one file. Hyperlink support makes incorporating links to intranet and Internet pages possible. And for long-distance slide shows, PowerPoint files can be saved as HTML for sharing presentations over the Web.

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This article was originally published in the June 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Mac's Back!.

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