Microsoft Office XP Pro: Win98/ME/NT4/2K review: Microsoft Office XP Pro: Win98/ME/NT4/2K

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Boasts more collaboration tools than previous versions; new data recovery tools help prevent lost work; speech recognition lets you dictate and vocally navigate through Office apps.

The Bad Requires 210MB of disk space; won't work with Windows 95; most enhancements and additions are better suited for groups than individuals.

The Bottom Line Microsoft Office XP's online and collaborative tool improvements make it a smart upgrade for businesses and groups, but it's not worth the cost, time, and effort for single or home users.

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(Updated 9/6/02)

Editors' note:
Since CNET first posted this article, Microsoft has released two service packs. According to Microsoft, the most recent release, SP-2, addresses some important security issues--in particular, it fixes suitewide flaws that could allow malicious hackers to run commands from your computer. You can download SP-2, which combines all previous Office XP service packs, here.


How much better can the world's best office suite get? Not much, it turns out. Microsoft Office outsells the competition nine to one, and for good reason: it's the best suite out there. But the newest edition of the world's leading productivity suite doesn't take us light-years ahead of Office 2000. Instead, it offers a host of incremental improvements. XP is still the most comprehensive on the market, but unless you need to collaborate constantly with colleagues, you may want to save yourself the money.(Updated 9/6/02)

Editors' note:
Since CNET first posted this article, Microsoft has released two service packs. According to Microsoft, the most recent release, SP-2, addresses some important security issues--in particular, it fixes suitewide flaws that could allow malicious hackers to run commands from your computer. You can download SP-2, which combines all previous Office XP service packs, here.


How much better can the world's best office suite get? Not much, it turns out. Microsoft Office outsells the competition nine to one, and for good reason: it's the best suite out there. But the newest edition of the world's leading productivity suite doesn't take us light-years ahead of Office 2000. Instead, it offers a host of incremental improvements. XP is still the most comprehensive on the market, but unless you need to collaborate constantly with colleagues, you may want to save yourself the money.

True, when it ships in late May, Office XP will cost about the same as Office 2000. Office XP comes in four different configurations, from Standard (which includes Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint and costs $239 to upgrade, $479 for new users), to Developer (which includes Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, FrontPage, Publisher, and Office Developer Tools for $549 for the upgrade, $799 for new users). And yes, Office XP's applications--from stalwart Word to harder-to-handle Access--come with plenty of enhancements. Excel, for instance, now easily grabs tables and data from the Web and automatically updates them online so that they're always current in your spreadsheet. But even big-deal additions to Office, including speech recognition and its integrated, collaborative SharePoint Team Service, may not tempt you to upgrade.

Think we're crazy? Well, this year, Office won't work with Windows 95 and lays down a hefty hard drive requirement. You'll have to run Windows 98, Me, NT, or 2000 and have a cool 210MB of space to even install XP. Considering that Windows 95 is five years old and counting, that's not too shocking. And Microsoft's new activation/registration process gets under our skin. Like Office 2000 SP-1 (a second edition, essentially, of that suite), you must activate Office within the first 50 times you run it by calling a toll-free number or going online, then giving your product ID code (but not your name). What's more, you can install Office on only two machines. To do more than a pair of installations, say, if you need to reinstall it on a machine that completely wipes out, you must call another 800 number to receive a code that lets you do another installation.

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Microsoft Office XP Pro: Win98/ME/NT4/2K

Part Number: 269-04508
MSRP: $499.00 Low Price: $123.89 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Category office applications
  • Compatibility PC