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Monday, August 11, 2003
Book Review

Useful information, illegible illustrations
Jasjot Singh Narula

THESE days’ pocket books are in great demand and so are computer books, thanks to IT revolution. So how about a series of pocket computer books that serve as ready-reckoner for software? Davinder Singh Minhas, who has authored four such pocket books, has attempted to provide a peep to the beginners into the world of software.

Microsoft Windows XP: This eight-chapter, 124-paged book squeezes information on running the XP operating system with ease. To start with, the book informs on how to use the operating system. The author also provides information about the system requirements for its operation and idea about the new design and add-on features. The information on operating system is well supported by illustrations. That these illustrations are a strain to the eyes is another matter. The book guides the beginners about customising Windows, Windows accessories, games, working with files and folders, working with music, optimising performance and computer sharing. However, the author has left the important issue of the installation of Windows XP operating system, which might help the new user. Well, XP is a wonderful experience to work on. This book may be good for beginners but there are a lot more things involved in XP than those described in the book.

Microsoft Word: Typed words always magnetise the readers and the software that has made everything possible in documentation is MS Word. This software has vast features and it is universally accepted. The book provides all relevant information to the beginner on how to create a new document, changing document appearance, saving and opening documents, editing text, formatting text, working with styles, formatting pages, working with tables, working with graphics, time-saving features and print and speech recognition. The illustrations are illegible and the author has not mentioned which version is he writing about.

The major problem arises while writing is generation of words. This software provides thesaurus on fingertips. Apart from this, it automatically tells the writer about grammatical errors.

Microsoft Excel: Microsoft Excel is spreadsheet and analysis program. It can create, analyse, and share important data quickly and gives professionals the tools they need to manage critical business data, and everyday users the power to get the most out of their information. The book has ample information about the software where the new user can get the idea and initiate with it. The author describes common words which are useful for the readers e.g. meaning of worksheets, charts, databases etc. He describes each aspect carefully like working with worksheet, editing the worksheet, changing the worksheet appearance. The best part is Formulas and Functions section where formulae are described in easy form so that the reader can understand easily.

Microsoft PowerPoint: Expressing or presenting your views through animations and multimedia presentations is common in corporate houses, workshops, seminars and symposiums. This can be done through MS PowerPoint software. The book says PowerPoint software ‘helps you plan, organise design and deliver professional presentations.’

The software also provides different layouts (title slide, two-column slide) and has number of clip arts, charts, tables, graphical images embedded within to provide best presentations or slide shows. The author gives a general idea on how to start with the presentation along with creating a presentation, editing and formatting text, adding graphics, adding sound, movie and animation effects, working with slide transition, changing presentation appearance, running slide show etc.