Corel – WordPerfect Family Pack 3 review

a Works Suite competitor from the old guard
Photo of Corel – WordPerfect Family Pack 3

One of the best-selling collections of business applications is Microsoft’s Works Suite and it looks as if Corel wants a slice of the action. In the same way that Microsoft combined related but separate applications into its Works Suite product, Corel has added extras onto the core of the WordPerfect Suite to make up the WordPerfect Family Pack.

The emphasis of this pack is a little different from Works Suite, which is aimed at the small business. As the name suggests, the Family Pack is a home-oriented product, comprising the word processor WordPerfect and the Quattro Pro spreadsheet with graphics from its Print House program, photo manipulation from Photo House and related functions from Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Compton’s Interactive World Atlas, McAfee VirusScan and the Internet filter, CYBERsitter.

The two major parts of the package, WordPerfect and Quattro Pro, are both in version 9, one iteration behind those in WordPerfect Office 2002. They’re still very purposeful applications, of course, but the Family Pack is also a way for Corel to keep earning from older software.

Compton’s Interactive World Atlas is a lot older than WordPerfect, though. It’s in version 1, which first saw the light of day in 1996. Aimed at 640 by 480 screens and without explicit support for high-colour monitors, parts of it won’t run unless you set your monitor to 256 colours. This application’s looking a bit tired and is a bit of a makeweight.

WordPerfect 9 is an accomplished word processor which can handle most of things you’d want to throw at it. It can be used for simple desktop publishing as well as mainstream text preparation and is the doyen of the US legal fraternity, so is well up to complex documents.

Similarly, Quattro Pro is a heavyweight spreadsheet, which you almost feel embarrassed troubling with your domestic accounts. It’s well capable of pivoting tables, dealing with What If? questions and visualising the answers in spectacular graphs and charts.

Add to these two Print House 5 – an entry-level page design program with many of the features of CorelDraw, but a much simpler interface – and Photo House 5, the matching photo-editing application, and you have a useful suite. These two together can produce all kinds of documents, from beer bottle labels to club newsletters. However, the integration of Print House with WordPerfect is patchy and it doesn’t support WordPerfect style sheets.

The printed manual only covers WordPerfect and Quattro and overall you feel that the various applications don’t hang together as well as those in the Works Suite. However, the Family Pack is not as expensive and you can still get worthwhile results from its multi-generational mix of programs.

Company: Corel

Contact: 0800 581028

The WordPerfect Family Pack looks like a way for Corel to make some extra money from old - very old in the case of the Compton's Atlas - software. There's no need to get snobby about this, though, as the programs work reasonably well together and will cope with what most people need to work effectively at home.