Office XP – What You Need To Know

Well, good old Microsoft has released Office XP to the world. It seems Microsoft can't help but to improve on previous versions of their software even faster these days. Just when you ...

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Well, good old Microsoft has released

Office XP

to the world. It seems Microsoft can't help but to improve on previous versions of their software even faster these days. Just when you thought you had the latest here comes Microsoft with another release to drain your wallet and hard drive space. I can't really beat on the Microsoft Office products. They do outsell the competition 9 to 1 so they must be doing something right! Anyway, I'm sure you're wondering if Office XP is for you. Well, here I'll review some of the latest tools XP offers the public in the new release.

First off, if you have Windows 95 you can just plain old forget XP unless you're going to upgrade to Windows 98, ME, NT or 2000. Second, you'll need at least 220 megabytes of free hard drive space to install the product. Also new is the licensing feature the multi-billion dollar corporation decided to include in XP. Now, upon installation of XP, you are required to register it within the first 50 uses by calling a toll free number or via the web by giving the product ID code. Your name is not required, but still it's a pain. You can only install office on two machines, and after that you'll need to call another 800 number if in the future you need to reinstall it on a machine that has been completely wiped out.

After you have read some of the new features and you think you might want to try XP you can get an evaluation copy (30 day) for $10.00 at the

XP evaluation page


Office XP seems pretty stable with a clean interface. It runs quite well on Windows 2000 loading pretty quickly, and trouble free. But like most Microsoft products, things never go wrong until months down the road with constant use. For those who don't like to jump onto bleeding edge software, try waiting for the first service pack (This usually fixes all the bugs experienced following a products release.)

Smart Tags
OK, I can't explain all the functionality in this article, so check it out at the

Office XP Tour

from Microsoft.

Say What?
That's right folks, XP now comes with voice recognition. You can control your applications, keyboard and mouse by simply speaking into your mic. Of course setup requires a 30+ minute process so that your voice can be recognized by the system. Those of us who have used programs like Via Voice Gold know that speech recognition is anything but perfect. XP does falter somewhat with this new interface because a user must choose dictation or command from the toolbar.

Probably the greatest enhancement to the Office product is the collaboration tools installed with the package. SharePoint Team Services, provides a web site where you and your colleagues can share documents, post meetings, contacts, and create a message board. Most ISP's use FrontPage server extensions (required for use), so small businesses can use their web provider to setup the SharePoint service. For larger businesses that host an intranet/internet connection you can host this on a Windows 2000 server (however, I believe you'll have to buy the most expensive XP package. MSN members can use their 30MB storage space (provided free at the MSN web communities forum for MSN members) as a SharePoint for documents, etc. . .

New Features In Word
1.) A built in translator that provides easy translation of English - Spanish, English - French, Spanish - English, French - English, etc. . .
2.) SDI or Single Document Interface is now an option in Word 2002. From its predecessor (Word 2000) we were constantly annoyed by the multiple windows that Word provided when opening multiple documents. Now SDI can be shut off via the options menu.
3.) Up to 10 people can work on a Word document (yet, cannot edit at the same time.) When changes have been made, Word merges these changes and automatically turns on the "Track Changes" feature when the document is mailed via the Send To option. The Markup feature shows changes and comments in the margin making much easier to see revisions/alterations.

New To Excel 2002
1.) The new "Watch Window" makes it easier to review changes in calculation if you adjust a cells value. A miniature windows shows how your changes effected the calculation, hence avoiding having to scroll through the spreadsheet.
2.) A new "Web Query" interface allows you to take data from any web tables and place it into your spreadsheet. It offers links back to the original web site to that the data is updated periodically.

The Outlook for MS Outlook
1.) Mailbox cleanup tool to recognize old messages so that you can find and delete them.
2.) Protection against viruses like the Melissa Virus that automatically generates e-mails to everyone on your address book.
3.) Multiple group calendars can be saved in Outlook for workgroup collaboration.

Like anything else, the price has gone up. Here is the latest pricing I see for XP.

Check out Microsoft's Online store at:

Minimum processor : Pentium 133MHz processor
Operating system : Windows 98, Windows Me Millennium Edition, Windows NT V4.0, Windows 2000, Windows 2000 Professional recommended
Minimum memory requirements : 32MB for Windows 98, 40MB for Windows ME and NT, 72MB for Windows 2000
Recommended memory requirements : 128MB with Windows 2000 Professional
Minimum disk space requirements : 245MB of space with 115MB on the hard disk where the operating system is installed.
Recommended processor: Pentium III processor running on Windows 2000 Professional

One For The Big Mac!
Well, well - it appears Mac has it's own version of the newer Office product. Office 2001 for the Mac hit the market in October. I'm hearing some really good things about the product. The Mac like interface makes it easy to move around, the installation wizard makes it easy to install, and powerful features make AppleWorks look a decade behind the times. However, if your Mac is hard up for RAM I suggest you pack it with as much as possible. Office 2001 isn't easy on memory. Unlike AppleWorks that rolls its product into a single app., Office 2001 is four separate apps that can drain resources very quickly. Check it out at

Microsoft Mac Site


Minimum processor : PowerPC processor
Operating system : Mac OS 8.6 or higher
Minimum memory requirements : 32MB
Minimum disk space requirements : 120MB