Works Suite 2006

Word too, perhaps surprisingly given that the next version of Office is soon to be with us, has not been updated from the older 2002 version. It’s still a more-than-capable piece of word processing software, however, and the fact that it works with earlier versions of Windows while 2003 only works on XP will widen the suite’s appeal.

The rest are fully up-to-date 2006 versions. For your money, which at around £70 is a bit of a bargain, you get Microsoft’s multimedia encyclopaedia, Encarta 2006, the personal finance application Money 2006, mapping software Autoroute 2006 and last, but by no means least, Digital Image 2006.

If you read these pages regularly you’ll know that the latest version of Autoroute was a big hit with TrustedReviews with its new GPS compatibility, detailed Europe-wide mapping (27 countries are included in total) and fast and easy to use direction-finding features. Also included is a copy of Pocket Streets for Smartphone or Pocket PC, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the Essentials version supplied with Works Suite doesn’t include the voice prompting system, which somewhat limits its usability as a fully fledged navigation application.

Digital Image 2006 Standard Edition is a newcomer to the suite – and it’s most definitely a positive development. This is Microsoft’s photo processing and management package aimed at the beginner and it does its job very well. It’s no Photoshop but the task-based processing tools are extremely easy to use and are surprisingly advanced – a lot more powerful than those offered by free applications such as Picasa. Notably the package supports batch editing, has excellent sharpening, selection and cropping tools plus a decent range of filters too. It’s a shame that you can’t actually fine tune many of these effects, though.

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