Corel suite's spreadsheet app comes down to Earth

Corel suite's spreadsheet app comes down to Earth

By John Breeden II

GCN Staff







Quattro Pro 9's interface still needs work, though its functionality approaches that of Microsoft Excel. Its buttons, menu bars and commands resemble Excel's.



This review is part of an occasional series about programs within the recently released major office suites: Corel WordPerfect Office 2000, Lotus SmartSuite Millennium Edition 9.5 and Microsoft Office 2000.



Corel Corp. has significantly improved its spreadsheet program, Quattro Pro 9, but fails to go far enough to make it a standout against Microsoft Excel.

Any Quattro Pro 9 worksheet can have up to 1 million rows and 18,278 columns, though no one is likely to create a spreadsheet that big.

Corel has added Dynamic Cross Tab Reports that easily summarize and recalculate data and are handy for reaching certain points within huge amounts of data.

Quattro Pro can post data online much like Microsoft Excel's PivotTable. Unfortunately, I ended up with data in the wrong place several times because of the confusing interface.

The two leading spreadsheets' files are compatible. My tests brought Excel files into Quattro Pro with little difficulty.

On occasion some bit of formatting would get lost in translation, but that was much more of a problem when importing Quattro Pro files back into Excel.

I especially liked the new Go To box, which simplified finding cells by name, by recent edits or by locked status. Another setting would automatically expand cells as necessary while I typed.

Interestingly, though, I had problems doing simple things such as moving to the next line of text within a cell. There is a process for this, but most of the shortcuts are counterintuitive.



Box Score ''''''''

Quattro Pro 9

Spreadsheet in Corel WordPerfect

Office 2000



Corel Corp.;

Ottawa;

tel. 888-267-3548

www.corel.com

Price: $117 on GSA Advantage



+Dynamic Cross Tab Reports help manage data

'Long learning curve



Real-life requirements:

Windows 9x or NT, 200-MHz or faster Pentium MMX, 32M of RAM, 220M of free storage for entire suite



Quattro Pro has some far-reaching extras, such as the ability to use Euro currency values. A feature that might come in handy is the ability for two users to work on a spreadsheet simultaneously, for example, while talking on the telephone. They could change values and evaluate the results with immediate feedback.

Quattro Pro can save multiple versions of a document in the same file for easy review in one session. The new QuickFilter command mimics Excel's AutoFilter but fails to work as well.

To give Corel credit, there are more than 100 new functions in its library for configuring spreadsheets. The program can total by adding all the subtotal fields and can be told to ignore either negative or positive values in a range of data fields.

One big thing Corel did right was to make the Quattro Pro interface resemble the rest of the WordPerfect Office 2000 suite. Launching Quattro Pro had been like visiting Mars compared with earthbound programs. Now the buttons, menu bars and commands look and work the same.

User-unfriendly

Quattro Pro has become less of an anchor holding down its office suite. It is far from a streamlined hull yet, however, because some functions are just too difficult to use.

If spreadsheets are not your priority in an office suite, Quattro Pro will probably suit your needs once you have read the instruction manual. Expect a longer-than-average learning curve.'

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