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Should you upgrade to Office XP?

Reader rating: 6 out of 10


Office XP is here. Is it for you?

This How-To Feature Article will help you make your decision on Office XP.

Should you upgrade to Office XP?

Installing Office XP

Installing Office XP is a snap. Office XP installed faster than we expected it to, without any errors or crashes. The typical "choose what you want to install" is still part of the installation.

Once installed, Office XP requires you to "activate" the software. This allows Microsoft to keep track of installations of the software, and therefore, will only let you install Office XP twice. After that, you need to call Microsoft to install it again.

Speed enhancements

While there may not be too many new features in Office XP, the major changes are behind-the-scenes. Office XP applications generally only take 5-10 seconds to execute; a major change from Office 2000.

Interface updates

Office XP's interface has been changed. Contrasting colors on the toolbars and the menus make it much easier to see what you're doing. The menu commands themselves really aren't changed that much, except for moving around a few commands in the menus.

Another change in the interface is the Task Pane. Think of the Task Pane being similar to the pane that appears when you click the "Search" button in Internet Explorer. The Task Bar is very helpful while working with documents, and will automatically appear when you are performing common tasks.

Why use the mouse when you can talk to Office XP? Office XP includes voice recognition, which allows you to more easily work with Office. Don't expect it to be that accurate, though, and if you are serious about controlling Office XP with your voice, consider a more complete voice recognition solution.

Collaboration and disaster protection

Smart tags are another new feature in XP. They appear automatically, depending on what you highlight in the Office application you are working in. Smart tags let you do anything from send E-mail, to getting more information on a work you selected.

Don't worry about losing your documents when your system crashes. Office XP now has new recovery features that protect your documents if your PC crashes. For example, if your computer crashes while you are working in Microsoft Word, the next time that you open Word, your document will be back, ready for you to work on it.


To sum it all up, Office XP is for the person who needs better collaboration features. If you just use the Office suite for word processing and E-mail, then don't expect XP to benefit you.

Get more information on Office XP from our Office XP Feature Article.

Learn about the different versions of Office XP at CNET

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