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In the dark days of MS-DOS and then early Windows, we had settled mostly on WordPerfect Corporation’s WordPerfect for our word processing and 1-2-3 for our electronic spread needs on our IBM PC-compatible computers. We didn’t much like Microsoft Word and Microsoft’s spreadsheet, and the WordPerfect and Lotus entries were, to us, clearly superior. With the introduction of Microsoft Windows 95, vast improvements in the Microsoft products, and the acquisition of Samna’s word processing software by Lotus, it made more sense to deal with Office Suites. The bundled combination of word processor, spreadsheet, database, PIM (Personal Information Manager), database, presentation manager and other goodies, for not much more than what a good word processing program had cost before, became irresistible. Since that time the Suites have been getting better and better. Microsoft Office has achieved massive general market penetration although the Corel entry, and particularly Corel’s law-specific suites have continued to do well in law-related markets. We don’t think there are very many lawyers using the Lotus products, but not because the Suite components don’t work well. This week we’ll take a look at Lotus Millennium Suite 9.5. LOTUS MILLENNIUM 9.5 The 9.5 Millennium Edition Lotus Suite includes evolutionary improvements — things like file format conversion filters and bug fixes — and some added functionality to WordPro and 1-2-3, a redone Approach database, Version 5 of the Organizer PIM, Freelance Graphics Presentation package, and FastSite HTML editor and Web page creation software. Each program make it easy to send newly created documents over the Internet, to display created documents or database reports on the Web. The package comes with an integrated version of IBM’s Via Voice program that voice enables the spreadsheet and word processor, and Lotus tosses in a desktop version of Lotus Notes, although that is not, strictly speaking, a part of the Suite. This version of ViaVoice won’t work with other software, and you’ll have to buy your own microphone to use it. The Millennium Suite does not have an e-mail application; if you aren’t already using e-mail, you’ll have to purchase an e-mail program, use Microsoft’s Outlook Express that comes free with recent versions of Windows, or download a program like Eudora, which can either be purchased for about $50 or used in advertising mode, without charge. Of course, if you’re on a network, your network administrator and network e-mail facility will likely specify a specific e-mail application. The addition of Lotus Notes is a very interesting development. WORKING NICE WITH OTHERS As we have noted in prior columns, the basic word processing and spreadsheet software that comes with all three Suites is so good that it is impossible to go wrong with any of them. Further, file conversion filters available for each of the programs make it possible to read and write files in the formats native to the others, or in Rich Text Format, a format that can be read by any of the others. We must caution, however, that although text, most formulas, fonts, font attributes and basic formatting can be transferred between Microsoft Word for Windows (WinWord), Corel WordPerfect for Windows (WPWin) and Lotus WordPro, things like fancy formatting, comments, version information may or may not make it and macros will almost certainly not work. Programs like Conversions Plus may sometimes do a little better job than the routines built-in to the word processors or spreadsheets, but even with Conversions Plus, what you see on screen or in a printout of a file with one word processor may not be exactly what you get when you transfer the file to another word processor. Every lawyer tries to accommodate clients. When we are in the process of drafting a document with a client who uses a particular word processing program, we try to use that program, too; if you know how to use one word processor you should have little problem working with one of the others. The electronic spreadsheet programs — Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and Corel’s Quattro Pro — are not quite as alike as the word processor programs. Basic calculations, functions and formatting — add, subtract, multiply and divide, sum, pmt, irr, date, round to name a few — work across the programs, but specialized functions, scripting languages, charts and graphs probably won’t move very well. Perhaps 95 percent of the spreadsheet work we do uses only the basic functions and we have found that our closing statements, rent rolls, amortization schedules, estate plans, inventories, pension account valuations, portfolio trackers and bowling handicap calculators, to use but a few examples, migrate well. CONSIDERATIONS The Millennium Suite components are full featured with excellent connectivity to other programs and the Web. WordPro and 1-2-3 are voice enabled through Via Voice. If you aren’t absolutely required to purchase Microsoft or Corel, the Lotus product should serve you well, not even considering the addition of Lotus Notes. At $400, the Suite is reasonably priced, but unless you have never owned any word processing or spreadsheet program before, you should be able to get the “upgrade” price of about $150, or less. SUMMARY Lotus’s Millennium Suite 9.5 provides the usual collection of state of the art office applications and has voice recognition software and a version of Lotus Notes, to boot. If you need new software and haven’t been irrevocably wedded to Microsoft or Corel, this edition is a good deal. DETAILS Millennium Suite 9.5. Price:$399.00. Upgrade: $149.00. Requires IBM PC or compatible with 150 MHz Pentium processor, running Microsoft Windows 95 or later, or NT 4.0, CD-ROM drive, 96 Megabytes hard disk space (166 MHz Pentium, sound card, microphone and 110 Megabytes hard disk space if used with Via Voice.) LotusStore Customer Service Lotus Development Corporation 400 Riverpark Drive North Reading, MA 01864 Phone: (800) 343-5414 or 617- 577-8500 Fax: (800) 859-8369 Web: www.lotus.com

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