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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Corel WordPerfect Office X3 Home Edition

Corel has a winner in WordPerfect Office X3, a feature-packed productivity suite that's just as easy to use--and in many ways more innovative than--industry-goliath Microsoft Office 2003. Not only can X3's three core applications--WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, and Presentations--save files in the ubiquitous Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format, its WordPerfect word processor can import and edit PDFs, too. While this import feature needs work, it's convenient for editing long, text-based PDFs used by legal and government workers. The interface of X3 has updated icons and toolbars that match Windows XP themes, and its new Yahoo toolbar lets you conduct Web searches from within WordPerfect. A great new security feature is WordPerfect's ability to strip out the hidden metadata within documents. This helps prevent any comments, undo/redo changes, and other sensitive information from reaching an unwanted audience when you share files--a similar feature is expected to ship within Office 12 later this year.

Overall, WordPerfect Office X3 is a solid upgrade for longtime users, particularly those who manage a lot of PDFs. Die-hard Microsoft fans may want to wait to see what Redmond has up its sleeve with the radical changes expected within the upcoming Microsoft Office 12. At the same time, current users of Microsoft Office 2003 who don't want to deal with the potentially steep learning curve in store for Office 12 may prefer to try the more familiar interface and improved tools within Corel's suite.

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