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Microsoft Works 2001 supports PDAs

Home suite syncs with mobile phones

Now you can have your Microsoft Works contact info even when you're not at your desk.

The capability of syncing with mobile phones and personal digital assistants is the most innovative feature in Works Suite 2001, the updated home-oriented productivity suite due to arrive in the shops any day now.

Works Suite 2001 will be priced at £119.99. The program is commonly bundled with budget or midrange PCs for the home market.

The release consists of the latest version of Works 6.0, which upgrades last year's Works 2000. The package once again assembles a basic word processor, spreadsheet, database, calendar, and address book.

The calendar and address book now have built-in synchronization capabilities for Windows CE and devices running the Palm 3.0 or later operating system.

Like its predecessor, the Works spreadsheet can open Excel 97 or later files, but the new file format preserves more of the Excel look.

It's still definitely an entry-level collection of applications. For example, the suite contains Money 2001 Standard, which is good for basic banking and budgeting, but you'll need to upgrade to Money Deluxe for more powerful investing tools.

And you're unlikely to make much use of the Works word processor; Works Suite 2001 also includes the far more powerful Word 2000. Rounding out the suite are the 2001 editions of the Encarta Standard encyclopedia, Picture It Publishing, and Streets & Trips.

To help you organise an assortment of information - photos, text, Web pages, and so forth - Works Suite 2001 introduces Works Portfolio.

Owners of certain digital phones will appreciate the capability to transfer personal phone and address book entries to the phone using Phone.com's included FoneSync 3.1 software. (You'll need to buy a cable.)

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