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(Pocket-lint) - If you are looking for an all emcompassing software package, Microsoft Works may offer the soluition. Evolving from year to year and bringing you extra updates from the Microsoft fold this years edition offers you the choice of either the DVD version or CD ROM (5 of them). It’s a favourite for fresh starters or the bundled software of choice with new PC packages. So what do you get?

The ‘Works’ in the package refers to MS Works 8, which is basically a cut down version of MS Office, offering a word processor, spreadsheet, database, calendar and email tools. The new elements in this version are a PowerPoint Viewer and a Dictionary. Its all you really need for basic working from home, but to be totally honest, its not a patch on the Office versions and those used to working with Office at the err, office, will be irritated by the cut down versions. However, as if in the ultimate admission of ineptitude, the Works Suite has the full version of Word 2002 - what better way to demonstrate that Works’ word processor is just not up to the mark.

So what else do you get? Yes, that old gem AutoRoute 2005, as previously reviewed on pocket-lint, and MS Money 2005, also reviewed previously. One of the more interesting parts is Encarta 2005, but this is a ‘standard’ version, as opposed to the Premium Edition previously reviewed. Again, it is great for kids’ homework and finding out useless facts.

The final part of the package is MS Photo 10 premium, a package aimed at the home photo editor market, previously skulking in the form of Picture It! It is simply aimed at organising, editing, and sharing your digital photos. This ilk of photo-editing software is common as a Burberry cap, but again, Microsoft wants to get its fingers into every pie. To be frank, it’s a bit juvenile, and somewhat irritating, but does the job.


It is difficult to assess a package like this. Of course, I think the hot potato is MS Word, but it’s not even the latest version of that. It just smacks of ‘bundled’ software, and as a result it draws a snarl from me. However, being objective, this is aimed at people who need to populate their home PC with some functional tools. Then there is the price, at £90, it’s a fair cop when you add up the individual component parts - Word alone would set you back more than the price here, if they supplied the latest version. Being objective, it is not a bad collection for an absolute beginner, but nothing to get excited about.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 7 December 2004.