The Amazing PC

Desperately Seeking Data

Sometimes all the information you need in order to bring in business or make key decisions is right before your eyes. You just need a way to capture, store and retrieve relevant data, whether it's sales figures, invoicing information, or customers' names and addresses. That's where database programs come in--helping you get answers, share timely information and make better decisions.

Lotus Approach Millennium Edition from Lotus Development, included as part of the Lotus SmartSuite Millennium Edition ($399; http://www.lotus.com.), offers a powerful database to query, report on and analyze your data. If you already use another database program, you can seamlessly connect to all data stored in dBASE and other programs. A neat new feature, Save As to the Internet, lets you publish reports you've generated in Lotus Approach directly to the Web to present timely information.

Microsoft Access 97 ($339; http://www.microsoft.com) has features that make setup easy, including a Database wizard that automatically builds any of more than 20 types of customized databases. It also has a Simple Query wizard to sort through data and bring it all together to answer your questions, as well as Web-publishing capabilities and improved features in the Form and Report wizards. These new features make it easier to manipulate and use critical data, allowing you to make more knowledgeable business decisions.

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