Before the success of Microsoft Word, WordPerfect was the dominant word processor for PC users.
WordPerfect Office is still popular in the legal community. Oddly, while this is the ‘Standard Edition’, Corel doesn’t seem to sell Professional or Home & Student in the UK.
Although WordPerfect Standard has no database application, it’s a comprehensive package, and the only suite other than Office with a mail program. WordPerfect Mail doesn’t support Exchange servers, but with a built-in calendar and support for RSS feeds, it’s a useful program with more scope than Outlook Express.
WordPerfect contains roughly the same number of features as Word, but while it’s ahead in some respects, it’s behind in others. It’s the only application here that can open a PDF file for editing, but while it can edit an OpenDocument file you’ll have to save it in a different format. Comments are inserted in bars within the document, rather than stored neatly in the margin, and can’t be attached to specific words. We like the Prompt-As-You-Go box, which unobtrusively displays matches as you type a word and alternative spellings when you mistype one.
Quattro Pro is a serious rival to Excel when it comes to features. It can be run in emulation modes for Lotus 1-2-3 or Excel. However, Excel looks like an imitation of Excel 2003 rather than the most recent version. Whichever mode you choose, Quattro Pro isn’t as easy to use as Excel. Foibles like these put WordPerfect at a disadvantage next to Office, despite the quality and depth of its applications.
You can buy other versions of WordPerfect by setting your location to USA on Corel’s website. The same trick lets you download WordPerfect Standard for $299 (around £215). Still, without a database program or support for Exchange, there’s little to reason to choose this version of WordPerfect over the free OpenOffice.org.