In the days of DOS, WordPerfect was the premiere word processor for PC users. That accolade has long since been taken by Microsoft Word. However, both now face a number of challenges from the plethora of free alternatives widely available, such as OpenOffice and Google Docs.

Lightning isn't in the same league as these programs. It isn't a fully functioning word processor, but a viewer for Word, WordPerfect and PDF files - with note-taking abilities that give Notepad a run for its money.

However, one area where Lightning lives up to its name is speed: load times are extremely fast, and the application doesn't consume system resources. Files are accessed via the Navigator, where notes and other linked documents are stored. When you create a note you can perform basic formatting with text - changing fonts or alignment, for example, or adding bullet points and images.

If you want to create more complex documents, you'll want a copy of Corel Office X3 - without this, Lightning's abilities are limited. Those with WordPerfect can use Lightning to quickly type notes, then send these to a full WordPerfect document or email package once finished. And there is a snapshot tool to copy images and text from other applications, although this could be awkward to use.

The Navigator is effective as a tool for organising documents, which can then be backed up online. However, some of the features are a little pointless. When viewing PDFs, for example, you can't search through documents. We can't see any good reason to replace the free Adobe PDF viewer with this particular application.

Corel WordPerfect Lightning beta: Specs

  • 466MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon processor
  • Windows XP/Vista
  • 256MB RAM, 25MB hard disk space
  • 466MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon processor
  • Windows XP/Vista
  • 256MB RAM, 25MB hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

For Corel Office users, Lightning is a neat applet: it fires up very quickly and notes can be edited later, as and when you need them. For anyone else, however, it's limited in its abilities - especially when so many other good editors are freely available.

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