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Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS Release 2.3: refining WYSIWYG.

1-2-3 tries to stay on top with a major upgrade.

The Lotus 1-2-3 freight train just keeps rolling along, figuratively speaking. Although market share has declined due to the introduction of Microsoft Excel and Borland's Quattro Pro, Lotus Development Corporation has taken strong action recently to regain its reputation as the undisputed market and technological leader in the spreadsheet arena.

The recently announced 1-2-3 for DOS Release 2.3, a major upgrade, delivers the latest graphical and analytic capabilities to new spreadsheet customers as well as to the Lotus installed base of more than fourteen million. Designed for those looking for a fast graphical spreadsheet that runs on all PCs, Release 2.3 is currently shipping in English, French, German, and government editions.

Release 2.3 includes interactive WYSIWYG what-you-see-is-what-you-get) display and presentation-quality output capabilities, spreadsheet auditing tools finally!), a file-viewing feature, and many other ease-of-use improvements, including interactive dialogue boxes, vastly improved help facilities, and better error reporting.

Release 2.3 targets users who want a DOS spreadsheet that maximizes the capabilities of their existing PCs. It offers superior control over the use of fonts, colors, graphics, display, and output, as well as a migration path to new operating system environments as needs evolve.

Spreadsheet Publishing and Presentation

Release 2.3 allows users to perform all spreadsheet operations from a WYSIWYG environment, including adding, modifying, and deleting spreadsheet information, or executing worksheet commands. in addition, it is possible to create presentation-quality output quickly and easily through a broad range of new features.

New publishing -d presentation functions include the ability to use more than one hundred type styles in a single worksheet; to set drop shadows in a single step; to use a built-in mini word processor; and to automatically compress or expand information to fit on a single page.

Users also can enhance a graph by choosing from a palette of 224 colors and hatching patterns, automatically wrap text around graphs, view pagination directly on the worksheet and place and display an unlimited number of "live" graphs anywhere in the worksheet.

Viewer

With the addition of viewing technology from Lotus Magellan, Release 2.3 eliminates the need to remember eight-character DOS file names by providing users with a simple way to find and view the contents of spreadsheet files without opening and retrieving them.

This includes the ability to "browse" through the contents of all 1-23 or text files located on disk and display useful directory information, such as the last time the file was used, file size, and directory location and path. Users can retrieve files and create links to data located on disk by using the Viewer as a window to "point and click" on the appropriate file or cell reference.

Auditor

Release 2.3 includes auditing tools that aid users in documenting and tracking the logic used in their spreadsheet. For example, the Auditor in 1-2-3 helps users locate and list all the formulas used in an entire worksheet or a specified range; find all the cells that provide data for a specified -11 such as the formulas and cells used to calculate a year-to-date total; or find all cells involved in a circular reference.

At the user's request, the Auditor will list formulas in a table, trace formulas by moving the cell pointer forward or backwards, or identify formula relationships by highlighting in color the appropriate cells involved in a calculation.

Other new features include an online tutorial, enhanced memory support for building larger spreadsheets up tO 12 megabytes), and new graph types, including horizontal, mixed, frame on/off, and three-dimensional effects.

Features in Detail

* WYSIWYG. What you see onscreen is exactly what you get on printed documents. There is extensive control over screen display. Worksheet column and row frames may be in inches, picas, or metric measurements. (See Figure 1 .)

9 Mouse Support. Includes the ability to adjust column or row heights, open a horizontal or vertical window, select ranges, and make menu selections.

* File Viewer. A quick and easy way to find, view, retrieve, or link to information contained in a worksheet on disk or to display DOS directory information.

* Spreadsheet Auditing. Aids users in documenting and tracking the logic used in their spreadsheet.

* Help. Vastly improved context-sensitive help facilities and a glossary of spreadsheet terms see Figure 2).

* Data Analysis Tools. Provide what-if, statistical, and trend analysis. There are over ninety built-in @ functions for quick access to frequently used formulas and robust macro facilities for automating repetitive tasks and for developing custom applications.

* File Linking. Access and reference data from worksheet files located on disk in the current worksheet. Allows users to build large applications within limited memory environments. Create links quickly and easily via the new Viewer capability.

* Graphic and Drawing Enhancements. Place and display an unlimited number of "live" graphs anywhere in the worksheet. Graphs automatically update as worksheet data change. Import CGM (computer graphics metafile) and .PIC graphic files such as logos, symbols, or maps from other Lotus and non-Lotus products. Preview .PIC or .CGM graphic files before importing them into a spreadsheet. Enlarge or reduce a graph or graphic element with the graphics editor's zoom feature, allowing for easy modification of detailed areas. Display spreadsheet grid lines in the graphics editor to ensure precise positioning and alignment of graphic elements.

* Mini Word Processor. Text tool for on-sheet word processing. Add, modify, or place text directly in the spreadsheet. Left, right, even-align, or center text within a range. Insert paragraph and line breaks at any point. Word-wrap is automatic. Format individual characters or words using a wide range of global and local text formatting options including the ability to define fonts, colors, bold, italics, underline, superscript, and subscript.

* Font Support and Formatting. Four Bitstream typeface families ship with the spreadsheet - Courier, Symbols, Swiss, and Dutch. More than 200 additional typefaces are available through Bitstream. Fonts can he sized from 3 to 72 points. Default fonts include Dutch 6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-point; Swiss 12-, 14-, and 24-point; and Symbols 12point. Draw single, double, or "thick" lines and borders to highlight spreadsheet information. Drop shadows and background shading are also included.

* Printing and Page Layout. Combine text and graphics anywhere on a page for publishing-quality output. Preview all pages, including text and graphics, on-screen before printing. A worksheet print range compresses automatically to fit a page. Eliminates trial-and-error method of adjusting margins to fit additional lines or columns on a page. Background printing is available. A new on-screen print indicator notifies the users of the status of a print request.

* 1-2-3 Compatibility. Reads and writes ALL (Allways), .FMT Impress), and .PIC (1-2-3) file formats. Includes keystroke, menu, and data compatibility with 1-2-3 Release 2.2 and Allways.

Release 3.1+: What 2.3 Does Not Include

1-2-3 for DOS Release 3.1+, released concurrently with Release 2.3, includes all Release 2.3 features and a few more that make it more appropriate when specific capabilities are required. Unique Release 3. 1 + features include:

* Three-dimensional worksheet capabilities allow for organizing, consolidating, and analyzing spreadsheet information, and working with multiple files in memory, with up to 256 worksheets or "pages" active at one time.

* A "backsolver" is a single variable goal-seeking tool that eliminates trial-and-error methods for arriving at a desired result.

* A "solver" is a multivariable advanced goal-seeking tool that automates the tedious "what-if" process to show the user "how to" achieve a desired result, supporting linear and nonlinear equation solving, and providing comprehensive reports on how it arrived at a desired solution.

* Advanced database capabilities allow access to multiple database tables, with the ability to store up to 8,192 work-sheet-based records per table, an easier, query-by-example method of selecting database records, the ability to perform "database joins" (combining the contents of records by key fields) for relational data reporting, and the ability to calculate totals and summaries using worksheet formulas during extract.

* DataLens technology permits users to select and manipulate data from multiple data sources as if the data were located within the spreadsheet, providing direct access to a wide variety of external data sources, including DBASE III and III+, Paradox tables, Microsoft SQL Server, and Novell Netware SQL.

Memory Management

Release 2.3 can use up to 4MB of expanded memory with LIM 3.2 and 12MB with LIM 4.0. Release 3.1+ can use up to 16MB of extended or 32MB of expanded memory. Up to 32MB of hard disk space may be allocated via the virtual memory manager.

Lotus and Quattro Pro

Although Lotus is the undisputed king-of-the-hill when it comes to spreadsheet software, Microsoft and Borland have been sturdy competitors. Borland's spreadsheet market share for the United States and Canada for calendar year 1990 was estimated at 24 percent, according to International Data Corporation. Since Quattro Pro's introduction in November 1989, Borland has sold more than 750,000 copies. How does the latest version (3.0) of Quattro Pro compare With Lotus 1-2-3 Release 2.3?

Quattro Pro 3.0, like Lotus 1-2-3 Release 2.3, features a new graphical user interface that accommodates "live" WYSIWYG display of data sheets and graphics. Both programs combine multipage consolidation and external database access.

Quattro Pro can claim uniqueness for its goal-seeking functions as well as for its drawing tools and clip art for creating graphs, charts, and electronic slide shows (with visual and sound transition effects). Lotus 1-2-3 Release 2.3 has enhanced publishing and presentation features that compare well with earlier Lotus versions but cannot stack up, feature for feature, with Quattro Pro 3.0. Some specific Quattro Pro features include:

* WYSIWYG ZOOM lets users proportionally reduce or enlarge text on-screen to see more or less of the spreadsheet.

* Print-To-Fit automatically shrinks a print block so it prints on a single page. Users also can reduce or increase a block of text by a specified percentage with the new proportional Custom Printing feature.

* Banner Printing lets users print sideways across several continuous pages. Headers and footers print as if the document were printing on one wide sheet.

* Visual Transition Effects have been added to Quattro Pro's slide show feature. Users can select from twenty-four transition effects that include fades, wipes, spirals, and dissolves, to change from one slide to another. Sound effects - digitized sound files on disk - let users add sound to slide shows, graph buttons, and macros without special equipment.

Besides all the presentation graphics features, Borland's program has another distinct advantage - the ability to run on low-end microcomputers. Borland's VROOMM (Virtual Runtime Object Oriented Memory Manager) technology provides advanced functionality to microcomputers as "lowly" as an XT with 512K RAM.

Where does Lotus excel? (No pun intended.) Its viewer and spreadsheet auditing technologies are clearly unique and useful. Quattro Pro 3.0 may be preferred when presentation graphics are a high priority, but with that power comes responsibility. Another way of looking at the Borland product is that it gives you a lot of latitude to create "chartjunk," the bane of clear presentations denounced by the guru of information graphics, Edward R. Tufte (author of The Visual Display of Quantative Information).

System Requirements, Pricing, and Upgrades

1-2-3 for DOS Release 2.3 requires an EBM PC, AT, PS/1, Compaq, or compatible, a hard disk, 384K of RAM and DOS 2.1 or higher. For WYSIWYG, 512K of RAM is required. The suggested retail price of Release 2.3 Standard Edition is $495. The Network Server and Node Editions of the product are available at a retail price of $795 and 495, respectively.

1-2-3 for DOS Release 3.1+ requires an IBM PC AT, PS/2, Compaq, or compatible with an 80286 or higher microprocessor, a hard disk, 1MB of available system RAM, and DOS 3.0 or higher. The suggested retail price of Release 3.1+ Standard Edition is $595. The Network Server and Node Editions of the product are available at a retail price of $895 and $595, respectively.

Both versions will calculate more quickly when a math coprocessor is installed in the system. However, the coprocessor is not required for either one.

Through the Lotus Technology Guarantec," all customers who purchase or have purchased a PC version of 1-2-3 (new or upgrade) on or after March 1, 1991, are eligible to upgrade to either new version for a suggested retail price of S49. For Release 3.1, the same offer is available to purchasers as of January 8, 1991. For all other 1-2-3 users, the suggested retail upgrade price is $150.

Users of 1-2-3 for DOS Release 2.3 or Release 3.1+ automatically receive three months of unlimited, tollfree access to Lotus 1-2-3 support specialists, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. At the end of three months, users may elect to continue premium support or use the company's standard support service.
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Title Annotation:what-you-see-is-what-you-get computer software
Author:Flanders, Bruce
Publication:Computers in Libraries
Article Type:Evaluation
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Words:2136
Previous Article:Systems librarian and automation review.
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