Once Again, Eve Is Confused About Office 2000 . . .

OK. So I went to Office Depot for an Office 2000 CD for my new Toshiba laptop—backstory is, it comes with Microsoft Works, which everyone tells me sucks, and I am also told that Office 2000 is good for my needs (writing books, and sending them off to my publisher). And that Office 2000 is “user friendly” (read: I’m an idiot). Of course, my tiny mind was overwhelmed once I got to Office Depot. They had two choices:

Microsoft Office XP Standard, version 2002 (comes with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Powerpoint—I do not know what any of these things are).

They also had Microsoft Professional, version 2002, which, in addition to all those above listed, also came with Microsoft Access.

Which shall I get? Or, do you know another program which might be easier and better-suited to my needs?

Office 2000 is the previous version. XP is the current version of Office.

The components of Office are:

Word - word processor
Excel - spreadsheet
Outlook - contact and email management
Powerpoint - presentation software
Access - relational database software.

If you don’t need the database capabilities, go with Standard.

Zev Steinhardt

Unless you already know and use Access, or anticipate designing databases, forget about Pro.

In fact, even if you do think you might want to be able to design databases, you’re far better off picking up a copy of the more user-friendly FileMaker Pro unless you’ve got oodles of geek in your blood, a SQL Server back-end machine under your bed, and the thought of writing in Visual Basic makes you itch to get started.

Thank you, darlings! Would Word or Powerpoint be what I’d use to write manuscripts?

And what’s the difference between Word on this and Microsoft Works?

You would use Word. Powerpoint is used for graphic presentations.

Works is a very simplified version of Office. Essentially, it’s Word and Excel with many of the features left out. If you’re going to do serious word processing (as in writing a book), go for Word.

Zev Steinhardt

Word is the word processor. PowerPoint is useful for creating presentations (think: slideshows with a laptop connected to a projector), but definitely not for documenting.

A word of advice about, well, Word. When you finally have it installed and working, there will undoubtedly be features you dislike. Most of them can be switched off – Word can be easily customised to a degree so that the “helpful” assumptions it makes for you (e.g. automatically reformatting bulleted lists and dates, assuming default fonts for different types of text blocks) can be turned off.

Thanks–I will try to pick it up before the weekend, so I can try an’ install it. I’m having cable-internet access hooked uyp Saturday, as my patience with my free crappy AOL finally ran out.

    • -Eve, you should really enable your SDMB email and than e-mail me before you buy anything.

For better or worse, Word .doc format is the standard in the professional world.

The publishing industry, as you no doubt are aware, tends to be years behind in technology at all times and some editors may still insist that files come in formated as a .txt file, but more and more appreciate the better looking manuscripts that are in .doc format.

This is not universal (what is in the publishing world?) but it just makes life easier to know and use Word.

And you will love cable-access. I just sent off a 35-page proposal (formatted in Word) and it uploaded in an eyeblink.

Can’t one just buy Word alone anymore? You have to buy the full Office suite?

Eve, you said your needs are to write and send the writing to the publisher. Using just Word and your standard email program (like Outlook Express) will cover those needs.

Outlook from Office is nice, I use it because it also keeps my contacts and calendar and synchs with my Yahoo account. But if all you need to do is send a document, Outlook Express is fine.

I don’t think Outlook will send your work to the publisher any better than Outlook Express.

Yes, you can buy Word seperately from the Office suite. I’m sure you can find it cheaper, but for some reason Microsoft thinks people will pay $340 for Word alone.

I did a Yahoo! search on “Microsoft Word” and several sponsored links came up with it for less than 40 bucks.

And even cheaper is OpenOffice, which is an open-source, FREE office suite that can save documents in Word format.

I guess a link might help: www.openoffice.org

A couple notes:

a) For reference, I’m a huge Word fan and use it constantly. However, having done some technical writing and managed groups of writers, I can tell you it really sucks for large documents, especially ones with fancy formatting and pictures and such. If you’re writing a novel of pure text, Word will be great, and even the worst case situation will involve you keeping your document in multiple pieces (each chapter as a seperate file for example), which should be fine. But if you’re going to involve lots of formatting or pictures or tables or anything else more complex, you’ll be wise to bite the bullet and get framemaker or such.

b) If you write professionally, whatever you do, don’t use openoffice. Please. You can thank me later. I use it on my linux laptop, cause it’s as good as there is in the linux world. Trust me. Please.

$340?! Jesus Brooke Astor Christ!

Okay, everyone keeps telling me that Microsoft Works, which my computer came with, sucks. But no one has told me why. If all I have to do is write and save and print documents onto CDs, what exactly is bad about Microsoft Works, which I already have, for free?

Eve - Which version of Works came with your laptop? Because if it is the new Works Suite 2003 (or something like that) then it already contains the complete and full version of Microsoft Word.

My advice is to hold of buying the Office Suite until you have played around with what you have in Works. For your needs, I’m not convinced you will need anything more robust than what you already have for free.

And you already have a pretty decent email package in Outlook Express as well.

Most people who say Works sucks are people who use the full Office applications regularly and see all the shortcomings of the scaled down versions of these aplications in Works (myself included). But since you won’t be creating spreadsheets in Excel, or giving slide show presentations in PowerPoint, why spend hundreds of dollars extra to get these applications that you won’t use?

Actually, Eve, I’d think that Works should suit you just fine, if you don’t plan on doing anything fancy. The publisher should be able to convert your files to Word for editing (if they’re editing electronically, that is – if they’re still doing paper they’ll just print it out). About the only thing that comes to mind that you might be concerned about is footnote/endnote handling – but many publishers/editors strip out embedded notes to plain text anyway.

Just don’t try to force any fancy formatting onto your manuscripts, and you should be fine. I’m sure you’re familiar with standard ms. formatting (12 pt, double-spaced, inch margins), and trust me – we editors like that just fine. I for one will not try to make you shell out for a piece of bloated software that has way more bells and whistles than you could ever think of, much less use. (Be glad you’re not me – I HAVE to use it! mumblemumblewhycan’tWordbemorelikeWordPerfectgrumblegrumble)

As noted in your previous thread about this, the latest version of Microsoft Works (it’s called Suite 2002) includes Microsoft Word.

If you have this version of Microsoft Works, and all you want is a word processor, you don’t need to buy ANYTHING.

If you have an older version of Microsoft Works, you can probably upgrade it much cheaper then buying either Office Standard or Professional.

Go to this page on the Dell website. Under the “Software” section, click the link “click here to learn more” to see exactly what programs are included in each package.

Well, the computer is brand-new and all the program says when I open it is “Microsoft Works.” All I have to do is write books and save and send 'em on floppies or CDs (my computer takes either one). The fanciest thing I’d have to create would be indexes and filmographies, which would just entail making three-column pages and being able to “search” for a word within the document.

I’d be very happy to just stick with what I have . . . I think I will play with it and see how I get along.

Thanks for saving me great whacking gobs of cash—I owe each of you a nice cup of tea!