DataViz translator ends binary Babel

After all, most PC programs today have import and export filters for competing
applications. And a networked PC running Corel WordPerfect can easily open word processing
files created on an Apple Macintosh and saved on the network. But in some situations,
DataViz Inc.'s Conversions Plus makes sense.


It translates between PC and Macintosh programs in either direction, and from one PC
application format to another. It can handle word processing, database, spreadsheet and
some graphics files. This might not impress you-until you need to open an old WordStar
file.


Conversions Plus keeps the original file formatting when it translates from Mac to PC,
PC to Mac, or PC to PC. It also can make your PC floppy drive into a dual-purpose PC/Mac
drive, automatically recognizing either type of disk for reads, writes and formats.


When you insert a high-density Mac disk and click on the drive in Microsoft Windows 95
Explorer, the contents are displayed just as if they were in native PC format.


Conversions Plus will work with Mac hard drives, SyQuest and Bernoulli removable media,
and CD-ROM drives. This can be a real boost to offices with a mix of desktop equipment.
And it installs easily under Windows 95. Just run the setup program, select the defaults
and swap disks.


I translated a number of WordPerfect Macintosh files to WordPerfect PC format and
Microsoft Word for Windows 7.0 format. The WordPerfect PC translation was excellent,
retaining margins, tabs, font styles, colors and an embedded graphic. The Word for Windows
translation was nearly as good, but the embedded graphic changed size and would not print
properly.


Conversions Plus handles 15 PC and nine Macintosh word processing formats. In most
cases it can both read and write the supported formats.


To test its spreadsheet and database abilities, I converted a few files successfully
from Macintosh Excel 5.0 to Borland Quattro Pro 7.0. I then translated the same files from
Mac Excel 5 to PC Excel 7, again without trouble.


What Conversions Plus can't do is convert macros written for one spreadsheet program to
another. It supports eight PC and five Mac spreadsheet formats, plus six PC and three Mac
database formats.


Its weakest area is graphics translation. Unlike Quarterdeck Corp.'s HiJaak Pro, which
works with nearly every graphical format, Conversions Plus is limited to 13 of the most
popular formats. It can't handle, for example, Corel's CDR format. Extensive graphics
conversions will require a program with more depth.


William M. Frazier, a PC hobbyist, is the postmaster of Ocean Shores, Wash.


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