Review of Corel WordPerfect 11 After Service Pack 1
© 2003 By Doug Loudenback, Oklahoma City
In this review, I’m stating as objectively as a WordPerfect devotee can what is good and bad about the WordPerfect 11 component of the Corel WordPerfect Office 11 Suite, particularly after installation of Service Pack 1, which is WordPerfect 11 Release 188.8.131.520. To know your particular release version, with WordPerfect open, click Help | About WordPerfect .... and you will see the specific Release Version number. Two CWO 11 suites are available, the “Basic” (which includes WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, and Presentations) or the “Professional” (additionally including the Paradox database program). This review is limited to the WordPerfect 11 element of the suite of programs. As well as review, it may acquaint you with some WordPerfect features with which you were unfamiliar.
● Retrograde of Integrated Third-Party Software. For as long as I can remember (certainly from WordPerfect 6.1 through 10.0 and varying from release to release), the Corel WordPerfect suite included third-party software which enriched the various suites considerably. WordPerfect 11 includes none. In my opinion, the most notable diminishments in this regard are the following:
• Quick View Plus. Neither Quick View Plus (formerly made by Inso Corporation, now defunct) nor, more importantly, its Outside-In file viewers (nor any comparable software viewer program) are included. Quick View Plus allowed a user to “view” and/or print documents made in OTHER software programs whether they were installed on your computer or not. Pre-Wp11 users should take care to retain Quick View Plus on their computers since it is such a valuable program to have. The importance of the subtraction of the Outside-In viewers is more subtle – and influences macro writers more particularly. Prior to Wp11, a WordPerfect macro could include a “file viewer” control that allowed a file to be viewed, and that file could include hypertext links, etc. It could be resized, printed separately, among other things. The same thing applies to Bitmap controls in macros – a bitmap could be resized, printed, etc. With WordPerfect 11, Corel eliminated and pretty much trashed the utility of macro dialogs which use either feature. This is a very serious black-mark, in my opinion. Had Corel replaced the Inso viewers with a product of its own or some other vendor, this wouldn’t have mattered. Corel didn’t.
• Dragon Naturally Speaking. Since WordPerfect 8 (at least), DNS has been an option depending on the particular version of WordPerfect you purchased. No more. Truth is that most users probably didn’t use DNS or if they did they opted to get the fuller version by just purchasing it. Presumably, that can still be done. For me, this isn’t a big deal, except to the extent that it represents that Corel isn’t able/willing to spend money to enhance third-party-software integration within its core programs.
● Absence of a Contacts Program Element. Granted, Corel never did successfully accomplish a decent PIM-type program in any of its versions (in my opinion). The WordPerfect 11 suite abandons any such attempt and offers integration with Microsoft’s Outlook, perhaps the worst software program there is for virus attack vulnerability. To use this new “feature”, you will need to purchase Outlook separately – it’s not part of the Suite.
● PerfectScript/Macro ScrewUp. Corel Corporation has not had a true PerfectScript expert in its employ since the initial release of WordPerfect 10. So, “no one is at home” when it comes to the historical developmental premises and practices of WordPerfect’s PerfectScript is concerned. How this will all shake-out down the line remains unclear. But, for now, know that many WordPerfect macros compiled in the initial release of WordPerfect 11 will not work in WordPerfect 11 Service Pack 1, and vice versa. Click here for how to solve that problem with workarounds.
● Publish to PDF ScrewUp. WordPerfect 10's Publish to PDF generally worked well, though it had some shortcomings, one of which was overcome with WordPerfect 11's Publish To PDF (see Pros, below). In my view, the very nice enhancement of adding a progress-viewer as a WordPerfect document was published to PDF is more than detracted by WordPerfect 11's failure to correctly render font color changes on the same line of text. The initial release of WordPerfect 11 would not use the Acrobat Distiller “printer” successfully, though that problem was fixed with WPO Service Pack 1. A Service Pack fixing the font-color problem is badly needed for serious PDF-file makers, like me. As it is, I’m having to leave WordPerfect 10 on the computer to deal with this really dumb problem which should never have occurred in the first place – and should certainly have been fixed in CWO 11's Service Pack 1, but wasn’t. Maybe the next Service Pack will fix the bug.
● Continued Absence of Unicode Support. For U.S. users, this is not particularly important. But for European users (at least), I understand unicode support to be a very serious matter. That Corel would not address this problem reflects a short-sighted approach to the program’s survivability.
● General Stability. The Wp11 Suite seems to me to be the most “stable” of any WordPerfect release that I can recall. That was true for the initial Wp 11 release, and it remains true after Service Pack 1.
● Publish to PDF. In WPO 2002, one did not know when a document was finished “Publishing to PDF.” That’s been fixed – a progress bar now shows what’s going on – a definite improvement over Wp 10.
● File Open – Last Modified. When opening a file, the “Open File” dialog lets you select various “Last Modified” options, "This Year", "This Month", etc.. That feature was broken in WordPerfect 10 and is now fixed – a definite improvement.
● XML Enhancements/Improvements. I read elsewhere that the feature is better – I can’t comment further since I’ve never published to XML, and, as far as I know right now, never will.
● Wp 5.1 Emulation. Wp 11 now allows a user to chose a display which emulates the good-ol’ days when WordPerfect was King – the Wp 5.1 DOS interface. If you are such a user, this may be important to you – it isn’t to me.
● Reveal Codes. It now works in the 2-page view. That may come in handy in editing very long documents.
● Legal Tools. As I lawyer, I don’t find this addition to be particularly useful – it is presumably designed to appeal to the lawyer audience, even though WordPerfect hasn’t had a “Legal” version since WordPerfect 8 which truly attempts to integrate lawyer software. While I consider these elements to be a “sop” to what the Wp 8 Lawyer’s Version was like, it may appeal to other lawyers differently. The “tools” include the “Pleading Wizard” and Publish to “Edgar.”
● Document Map. I’ve not explored this new feature, and it may be really valuable. For now, I just know that’s it’s “there”.
● General. The Suite remains relatively inexpensive, isn’t burdened with grotesque licensing fees and other draconian ideas like Microsoft has announced for its future software, its documents continue to be backward and forward compatible, and, of course, the beloved Reveal Codes continues to be present.
NEUTRAL OR OTHER
In my estimation, WordPerfect 11 is generally WordPerfect 10 – with some fixes, and with some diminishments, and with a very few new features, most of which have been noted above. If you want a review of how WordPerfect 10 is different than prior WordPerfect versions, click here for my WordPerfect 10 review.
Is the WordPerfect 11 Suite worth the price of upgrading? That’s problematic.
As you have seen from what I’ve said, I’ve got seriously mixed-views about that subject. My personal view (but without any data to support it, other than what I’ve said) is that Corel is milking WordPerfect users to get a few bucks to support who-knows-what ... it surely isn’t WordPerfect Research & Development ... no one is “home” at Corel WordPerfect (in my opinion) – certainly no “gurus” who know the history of how PerfectScript “works” else the original Wp11 and Wp11 Service Pack 1 issues would never have existed, as they shouldn’t have, but did.
Some of us (including me) used to, and still may, say, “We need to support Corel since it makes the program we want to use now and tomorrow.” Corel has now sold itself to Vector Capital. Since that transaction in August 2003, Vector Capital (as of 10/1/2003) has not made one announcement concerning WordPerfect. The same Corel management team that stripped WordPerfect research and development is apparently still in charge, making very sweet salaries and who have no duties to you or to me. Those facts are not signs of hope.
But, on the other hand, some problems existing in WordPerfect 10 were fixed in WordPerfect 11, and some other elements have been improved (even though retrograde has elsewhere occurred in the program).
So, “What’s a mother to do?” Mothers always have hope, and so do I! But, as to whether YOU’D want to invest YOUR money into purchasing WordPerfect Suite 11, it depends on the WordPerfect version that you have (as well as your degree of hope):
• If you have WordPerfect 10: Compare what’s been said above with what was said here about WordPerfect 10. Bottom line: unless you are a DOS blue-screen lover, save your money.
• If you have WordPerfect 9 or lower: The upgrade is probably worth the small price. You can find the upgrade in-town or on the Internet for about $100 or so – don’t pay the full price at the Corel website unless you’ve got money to burn.
• If you do upgrade, search the Web for the best prices – sadly, if you look in your local communities, you’ll find that many software sellers do not even stock the Corel WordPerfect 11 Suite on their shelves – and whose marketing fault is that but the Corel management team that got us to where we are today. They are still in charge.