Microsoft Point of Sale review: Microsoft Point of Sale

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.4
  • Setup and interface: 7.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Service and support: 4.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Excellent interface for cashiers using touch-screen monitors; good management tools; seven employee security levels to help managers limit access to sensitive data.

The Bad You're on your own to provide working hardware; expensive tech support; quirky QuickBooks import tool; no Mac support.

The Bottom Line Microsoft Point of Sale is an expensive yet friendly retail-management package for mom-and-pop shops. It needs to polish its file-importing skills, though.

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Microsoft Point of Sale

Microsoft Point of Sale (POS) is a retail-management program for single-store business proprietors who want to digitize their cash register. It consists of two software components: one is a point-of-sale screen, similar to a register, where cashiers ring up customer transactions; the other is a store-management program for logging inventory, tracking employee hours, and creating purchase orders. The $799 Point of Sale isn't a steal, but it's priced comparably to the similar Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale Pro 4 Basic. The Microsoft program has the superior interface, with large onscreen buttons designed for touch-screen monitors--an important consideration for retailers who need to quickly train cashiers. But we'd like to see a few improvements: for instance, Microsoft POS can exchange data with QuickBooks but not with other small-business accounting programs, such as Peachtree Complete Accounting or MYOB Business Essentials Pro . We find Microsoft POS simpler to learn than its QuickBooks competitor, although the latter makes it easier to find hardware that works best with its system.

Installing Microsoft Point of Sale takes a long time. After loading the software onto a Windows XP SP2 PC (which took us 10 minutes), you must enter your company's customer, employee, and inventory data--which could eat up the better part of a mom-and-pop retailer's weekend.

After installation, the real work begins. Launch the Point of Sale Manager and run the Store Setup wizard, which prompts you to enter basic information about your business, such as employee data, your sales-tax rate, and an employee ID and password for the store owner. The wizard is a snap to follow, and you can use separate wizards to import company accounting data, such as personnel and inventory details, from either Excel or QuickBooks. In our tests, however, Point of Sale failed to transfer some information from our QuickBooks Premier 2004 company file, so we had to manually enter customer balances and estimate totals.




The Microsoft Point of Sale interface features large, clearly labeled buttons--ideal for cashiers who use touch screens or keyboards.

Still, Microsoft POS has an excellent interface for retail transactions. Unlike the QuickBooks Point of Sale interface, which resembles those of Intuit's accounting apps, Microsoft's better fits a retail environment with touch-screen monitors or one where there's a keyboard but no mouse. Large, well-labeled buttons provide access to common tasks, such as accessing customer or inventory lists, while keyboard commands simplify data entry.

The Microsoft POS Manager, a separate program for managing inventory, customers, and employees, looks similar to Microsoft Outlook. Office devotees will recognize the left-column navigation pane and the standard menus-and-icons presentation. The Manager software is easier to learn than QuickBooks POS. For instance, you can easily access Microsoft's Purchase Order wizard via the My Store column in the Purchase Orders module. But creating a purchase order in QuickBooks POS involves clicking the less obvious New PO button on the Purchase Order List.

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Microsoft Point of Sale

Part Number: PQR1-POS0-000000 Released: May 18, 2005
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May 18, 2005
  • Category business applications
  • Compatibility PC