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Microsoft Works 9 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £29
inc VAT

Although Microsoft’s Office is a fully featured set of office applications, it’s beyond the needs and budget of many. Works is an inexpensive package that covers the basics capably.

In the past, Microsoft created better Works Suites by adding superseded versions of Office applications to the standard Works package, along with other applications such as Encarta encyclopaedia. We reviewed Works Suite 2006 in Shopper 247, but there’s no Suite version for Works 9. It comprises a word processor, with basic spreadsheet, database and calendar programs. Oddly, despite the package’s cut-down nature, its minimum system requirements are higher than those for Office.

Works Word Processor is one of the simplest here, with a full-document word count only and no support for macros or tracked changes. We’re not sure why the Live Search box can’t be removed or reconfigured to search within the document. There are some useful features, however, such as a mail merge that can take data from Windows Address Book or Works Database files.

Works Spreadsheet is just as basic. It can’t support multiple worksheets in the same file, forcing you to choose a worksheet when you open a document with more than one. Like Word Processor, Spreadsheet supports Office 2007 formats, including newer .xlsx files, but there’s no OpenDocument support. Spreadsheet has no macro function, and doesn’t support many advanced formulae and functions.

Database comes with a few templates suited to home and club projects, but the designs are dated. We’d expect themes that could be applied independently of the chosen project. Although the application is simple to use, it creates flat, rather than relational databases, so you can’t link multiple tables.

Works 9 is cheap but, without the slicker programs in a Works Suite, it’s too basic. It’s more expensive than Ability Office and not much less than the cheapest versions of Office. Most of the free packages beat it hands down.

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