The Good Tons of new collaboration and formatting tools speed up complex document creation; better file recovery tools help reclaim data after system or application crashes.
The Bad Poor language translation tool; doesn't work with Windows 95.
The Bottom Line This is the first version since Word 97 that's a gotta-get upgrade. With tons of new tools for the single user and a renewed attention to collaboration for those who work in groups, Word 2002 is the best writing tool on the planet.
Microsoft Word 2002: Win98/ME/2K
There's no question that Microsoft Word is the best general-purpose writing tool for the desktop. But does that make Word 2002 worth the upgrade from your trusty (perhaps rusty) copy of an earlier edition? If you still run Windows 95, forget it: Office 2002 won't run on your OS. Otherwise, absolutely. Although you'll get the biggest benefit from 2002 if you regularly share Word documents with others, the sum of the program's new features--ranging from file recovery tools to faster formatting options--makes Word 2002 worth the upgrade price for almost everyone.There's no question that Microsoft Word is the best general-purpose writing tool for the desktop. But does that make Word 2002 worth the upgrade from your trusty (perhaps rusty) copy of an earlier edition? If you still run Windows 95, forget it: Office 2002 won't run on your OS. Otherwise, absolutely. Although you'll get the biggest benefit from 2002 if you regularly share Word documents with others, the sum of the program's new features--ranging from file recovery tools to faster formatting options--makes Word 2002 worth the upgrade price for almost everyone.
Power for more productivity
At first glance, you'll be hard-pressed to notice any changes in version 2002 (which also comes bundled in the upcoming Microsoft Office XP). Word's menu structure and toolbars haven't appreciably changed. You can still view documents in a WYSIWYG layout, and Word still automatically corrects misspellings and poor grammar. Fortunately, Microsoft didn't dare mess with file format; Word 2002 can open docs from Word 97, Word 2000, and WordPerfect.
Dig a bit deeper, and you'll notice that Word 2002's structural changes boost wordsmithing productivity. The Task Pane, a side-mounted vertical panel that's reminiscent of IE's Explorer bars, is tops on our list of improvements. In the Task Pane, you can open old documents or create new ones, format documents, translate text into other languages, view the Clipboard contents, and even initiate a mail merge (a mass mailing with recipient-specific content). All these tools are already accessible through Word's menus, of course, but the Task Pane puts them all in plain sight, just one click away.
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