- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2008

When WordPerfect last made any significant headlines, or so it seems, then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno had ordered up a bunch of licenses for the Department of Justice. Lawyers, it seems, love WordPerfect.

There have been a few revisions of the software since Ms. Reno´s tenure, and the most recent, dubbed “X4,” for 14, is the most recent. It´s available for as little as $160 as part of a WordPerfect Office “suite” that includes a spreadsheet, presentation graphics program and other extras.

It´s not as inexpensive as the free OpenOffice.org suite, nor as costly as Microsoft Office 2007. But both the suite and the word processor are good values for what you get: something that is exceptionally compatible with Microsoft Office and, on the word processing side, just about every program going back to WordStar, which means roughly the last 25 years.

There´s much to like about WordPerfect X4 along with its extensive compatibility. The program has a clean appearance, and can operate in a “Microsoft Word” mode that makes it more familiar to users of that program. It has every bell and whistle that you would want in a word processor and, in a move particularly useful for those using small laptops, a “zoom to margin width” feature that´ll make viewing what you type easier.

There´s an auto-correction feature that will flag misspelled words as you type, and many common transpositions are corrected as you type. There´s an online dictionary and thesaurus.

But there are a few annoyances: There´s a word counter at the bottom of the program screen, but you must click on the word count number to have it update.

For those concerned about exporting the final results, I can only say that the range of ways to save a WordPerfect file should cover just about every need. I´ve found these file translations to be quite good, even if I doubt some are widely needed. If you are uncertain, publisher Corel Corp. will let you download a 30-day free trial version, at www.corel.com. That´s not a bad way to try the program out.

My oft-stated belief bears repeating here: I like having a bunch of word processors to choose from, and WordPerfect X4 is a very good alternative for many users. If you are in the mood to switch, it´s worth investigating.

NEED A GREAT LAPTOP STAND? May I recommend the Alto Connect from Logitech, which will set you back about $80 at Amazon.com. This thing is simplicity itself: two sturdy pieces of plastic that connect to form a “X” on which the notebook can rest. You get a proper viewing height (in my opinion) and it´s easy to position the notebook so that a front-loading optical drive is accessible.

That´s good enough, but add in four USB ports, including one specifically designed for media such as USB card readers, memory sticks and MP3 players, and you´ve got a real winner. The extra ports bridge to the computer´s USB connector via an included cable. Yes, the stand needs external power to drive this connectivity, but it´s a small price to pay, in my opinion.

I´ve seen all sorts of notebook stands, and the only thing that beats the Alto Connect is a product-specific stand costing double, triple or even quadruple the cost. For the money, I haven´t seen a better desktop value, period. Details at Logitech.

Write to Mark Kellner

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide