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The first extra baggage to go? Hefty manuals. This time around, all you get is a single CD in a snazzy round case--no books, papers, or clutter. There isn't even an electronic manual on the CD. Microsoft's own user surveys show that about 93 percent of Mac users never crack open the manuals. Your only sources of documentation are the help menus, the same animated help assistant that graces Office 98, and Microsoft's Web site. Unfortunately, although these handy helpers will bring you up to speed with Office, there's no way to print a hard copy, except via an awkward copy/paste routine into a regular Word document.
As with most Microsoft apps, you install Office 2001 simply by dragging the Microsoft Office 2001 folder to your Mac's hard drive. You don't have to mess with an installer unless you wish to customize the installation by leaving out a few components or adding the included Value Pack, a collection of extras such as templates, wizards, clip art, fonts, and animated assistants. (One caveat: You probably won't need these add-ons, which consume more than 300MB of storage space.)
The first time you launch any Office application, a First Run installer appears, which puts additional files into the Extensions folder. If you remove any of those files by mistake, Office calls First Run into action to restore them. If only other Mac applications were this smart.
Weight Watchers on the Horizon
But there's a price to pay for this convenience. The suite now tips the scale at more than 170MB, if you include its generous supply of clip art and templates. Worse, Office eats up RAM. Microsoft Word alone requires 10MB to run and needs 17MB with virtual memory turned off. Running more than a single Office application at a time will stress any Mac not well equipped in the memory department. In contrast, AppleWorks has similar RAM requirements, but rolls all its components into a single app, not four. You may not be able to launch more than one Office application at a time on a RAM-starved Mac.
However, take one look at the program's new interface, and you'll know: Office has changed for the better--enough to justify the larger memory and disk storage requirements.
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