- The Washington Times - Monday, September 24, 2001

Over the course of the past year, I've encountered a few programs which have stood the test of use in the ensuing months. Some reflections, grounded in "real world" situations:

• Print prowess: It was Sunday morning. I was going to the county fair yes, the county fair that afternoon and wanted fliers to promote my Internet radio show. I had about 15 minutes to come up with something, a half-hour tops.

Out of its box and into the CD-ROM drive went a copy of the new version of Microsoft Publisher 2002, released earlier this year along with that firm's Office XP suite. Installing the software was easy, firing it up not a problem.

Within about 2 minutes, I'd selected the kind of flier I wanted, "informational," and a design, the "flying oval." The program offers a raft of templates, and the "flying oval" floats an oval over a picture and there's a box below that for text. A few well-chosen words and a photo selection later and I was, as they say, "good to go." I ran off about 250 copies on a laser printer (using multicolored paper) and handed out almost every last one at the event. Turns out it was a good thing that I'd prepared a flier if I hadn't I would have spent four hours or so standing in a booth with nothing to hand out.

The extreme ease-of-use found in Publisher 2002, which lists for $129, should not obscure the value this program offers to those in small business or home office situations. The variety of templates included in the program and the 35 different design styles are a boon to those who have to do work in a hurry. The program also features the means to develop output files that professional printers can use, ideal for lithography and other high-end printing processes.

Another nice feature: the program will catalog all the images on your hard drive and I do mean every last one and arrange them by keywords which you can use to search your computer for a graphic to meet your needs. It made finding a necessary picture a bit easier.

I've said here, before, that Microsoft Publisher is a worthwhile program, and the new version reinforces my belief. It's worth investigating, and more information can be found online at www.microsoft.com/office/ publisher/default.htm.

• Needle in a haystack: OnePlace, created by Enfish (www.enfish.com) and sold in a special edition by Franklin Covey (www.franklincovey.com), remains one of the marvels of the modern world. It'll index all your files, e-mails, contact info, laundry lists just about anything on your computer and help you find things with great ease and speed.

I did have a slight problem well, it was not so slight after installing Microsoft Windows XP, but this was soon fixed by the Enfish folks and the software is now running perfectly on my PC. When I need to locate something, even using the most tenuous of "clues," OnePlace does the job.

Indexing software has long been available for computer users, but OnePlace goes far beyond traditional indexing to offer a "portal" for Web access, a search facility that can be opened within Microsoft Word or Internet Explorer, and a bunch of pre-designed pages that put all sorts of information a mouse-click away.

The program is $69.95, and can be found at Franklin Covey stores or online. If you need to locate information in a hurry, it's more than worth the price.

• Finally, a newcomer: I've not mentioned ABBYY Fine Reader 5.0 Pro, a $99 OCR program before, but that's only because I'd not known about it until now. My loss the program, which recognizes text in something like 127 different languages, reads copy, keeps the formatting and lets you import it into Microsoft Word or a bunch of other programs. It's the best OCR software that I've seen, and better still, a Mac version is on the horizon. Check it out at www.abbyy.com/index.htm.

• Write to Mark Kellner in care of The Washington Times, Business Desk, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; send e-mail to MarkKel@aol.com, or visit the writer's Web page, www.kellner2000.com. Talk back live to Mark every Thursday on www.adrenalineradio.com. from 8 to 9 p.m., Eastern time.

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