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On Sat, Jan. 4, I wrote:
Our district is considering Microsoft Office as the program of choice for
all the classroom computers.  Do you have experience with this?
Would you prefer Microsoft Office to ClarisWorks or Microsoft Works?

I have already gotten enough replies for a hit.  If anyone has something
different to add, send it to me and I'll post a second HIT.

To summarize, most people--not all--like Microsoft Office.  Some say it's
hard to learn, some don't feel that way.  I thought it was a memory hog,
but only one person suggested that.  By and large, the preference is for
Microsoft Office over either Works program.

Thanks so much to everyone who replied.    Joan Kimball


I am an enthusiastic user of Lotus SmartSuite.  The 97 version, due out in
about a month, is generally recognized as having greater Internet
integration than any other office suite.

Works programs stink.  They are memory hogs, and although they do a credible
job of several tasks, they excel at nothing.  However, they are cheap (you
get what you pay for...)

Microsoft office is even more bloated than other office suites, including
Lotus SmartSuite, which could also stand to slim down.

Just my two cents worth.  Good Luck!

Matthew Beall


Joan -

Microsoft Office is available on both platforms (PC, Mac) and can do more
bells and whistles in the word processor (mail merge, table of contents,
index, diacritical marks for foreign language (Mac only -- well, it's
available on the PC but only with great difficulty) etc.) but has a
steeper learning curve. Excel is a great spreadsheet but has many
capabilities that most clerical staff will never use. PowerPoint is great
for creating either overheads or slides or on-screen presentations, but
only in linear mode (no hyperlinks). Cost probably more than either of
the Works programs.

Works: has a flat-file database which is a little easier to set up than
the database in either Word or Excel in Office. Has(have) drawing
capabilities, not found in Office. Easier learning curve, but less
options for formatting, etc. Cost probably less.

Having used both Word and Excel since version 1.x, they are my personal
choice, but I imagine that the Works program (either one) would be most
of what you need.

Joyce Conklin           jconkli@ed.co.sanmateo.ca.us
San Mateo Union High School Dist. (ret.)
San Ma

I have used office for many years and really like it.  The new version that
goes with windows 95 is really nice.  "Access" comes with the Office
Professsional suite and is a nice program.  Word is a really powerful word
processing program and powerpoint is a neat presentation program.  I think
that you would be really happy with office.

Johnnie Frisbie
Maranatha Academy
Shawnee, Kansas


Microsoft Office has so much more than just the word processing abilities of
Works, so if the district is willing to pay the price, Office is the way to
go IMHO.

Jamie Murphy Boston, Librarian
Davis Joint Unified School District
Birch Lane Elementary, 1600 Birch Ln.  Pioneer Elementary, 5212 Hamel St.
Davis, CA 95616
& 757-5480/5423(FAX)
Visit the Birch Lane Home Page at http://www.birchlane.davis.ca.us


Hello, Joan.

I have been a ClarisWorks users for several years (from version 1.0 to 4.0).
This past fall I decided to see how the PC world is compared to the Mac
products I have used.

I must say, I REALLY like Microsoft Office.  I have used Word (version7.0)
and Excel, and PowerPoint.  If money is not an issue, my new choice to train
on would be Microsoft Office.  It is more powerful than ClarisWorks, but
ClarisWorks is more economical.

Frank Moore
Grade 6 Teacher Brunswick JHS
Brunswick, Maine
future U of S Carolina MLIS candidate (May 1997)
Help someone to laugh every day.


Our school is using Office and IMHO, I think students heading into the
business/office world should learn it.  I also think Microsoft Works is
just fine for the others, for word processing (term papers, etc.)  It's
templates are great.  We have all three programs which you've mentioned.
ClarisWorks was developed for Macs, and I don't like it as well, but I was
raised in the IBM world.

Joyce N. Church



I can't speak for ClarisWorks since I have never used it, but comparing
Office to Microsoft Works - I definitely prefer Office over Works.  I have
both on my computer at home and since I bought Office I never use Works.


Jennie Hoffman, librarian          email jhoffman@prolog.net (home)
Louis E. Dieruff High School             dieruff1@prolog.net (school)
815 N. Irving St.                  phone (610) 821-2772
Allentown, PA 18103                fax   (610) 820-2244



My preference would be for MSWorks over Office or ClarisWorks due to it's
ease of use (and therefore ease of teaching to others).  Like it or not,
Microsoft owns the world when it comes to computing, so it makes sense to
standardize on one of their products.  If you wish to use any other MS
product, files created in Works will transport to them easily.  Office is
too dense in features for elementary students to learn quickly or easily.
(My wife's school bought Office for all of the school's computers -- many of
the teachers refuse to work with it because it is so frustrating to learn.
Even the techies find it difficult to teach to young students, and find that
they use few of the many features on a regular basis.  Wehn they do use one
of the more esoteric features, they have to reach for the manual(s) and wade
through them.  Often they decide to skip whatever it is they were trying to
do due to classroom time pressures and revert to something simpler.)  I use
Works at home and at work, and my wife has said that Works is easier to use
than Office.

Hope this helps.
Mark Williams
Colton High School


I prefer Microsoft Office to Works, because Office has immediate spell
checking - red squiggly lines appear with any typo or misspelling. Also,
the ability to do tables and grids is more intuitive. Office also has
PowerPoint which is easily learned, a good program for presentations.
Office Pro is different than the regular Office, as it has Access, a
relational database. Be sure to buy, if you choose this, the educational
bundle as the prices are vastly different for educational institutions
than for other institutions. Also, the manuals SHOULD come with the licenses.
I work with a computer company which does this line of work as well as other
consultations, and I also teach still. On the other hand, I have been at
conferences where the CEO's say they are buying from other software
companies just so not to give Bill Gate ALL their money!!!Usually they
are referring to their choice of Netscape over IE3...
Joy Hogg
Joy Hogg, St. Ann School, Cadillac MI


Our district uses Microsoft Office.  We used to have Microsoft Works,
which is much less powerful.  I still have Works at home, and it is
frustrating.  I still can't do half the things possible on Office, and
sometimes I get frustrated because I can't do what seemed so simple on
Works.  I believe it is also the suite of choice in most offices today.
My understanding is that it has about wiped out WordPerfect.  We use it
for administrative applications and for word processing/office/vocational

Diane Durbin


....continued in HIT 2.........

Joan Kimball (jkim@borg.com)
Clinton, NY
Hart's Hill Elementary School Library
Clark Mills Road, Whitesboro, NY 13492

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