New Version of Office 97 Brings the Power of the Internet to Small Businesses

Version 2.0 of Microsoft Office 97 Small Business Edition not only provides companies with the core set of productivity tools like Microsoft Word 97, Excel 97, Publisher 98, and Outlook 98, but also includes unique tools for managing a small business.

Included in the suite is Small Business Financial Manager 98, giving users the opportunity to makes financial projections easily, as well as a powerful “what if” tool to help them make better business decisions by seeing the impact of things like pricing and inventory changes. Using Robert Morris Associates data, Small Business Financial Manager 98 can also help small businesses compare their business with similar-sized businesses in the same industry.

The product also includes Expedia Streets 98, the latest version of Microsoft’s street-level mapping and travel information product. Small businesses use Expedia Streets to find vendor or customer locations, to map delivery routes and to add detailed maps to marketing materials. Contact data can be directly imported from Outlook 98 and automatically mapped into an Expedia Streets map. This new version contains significantly more expert content, such as 16,000 restaurants from the ZAGATSURVEY restaurant guide and the Expedia Hotel Guide, as well as complete map updates.

In an effort to bring the latest Internet services to small businesses, Microsoft has worked with leading companies focused on small business and Internet-related services for small businesses, incorporating their expertise into the latest version of Office 97 Small Business Edition. These include Envelope Manager Software (EMS), Pitney Bowes Inc., the U.S. Postal Service (U.S.P.S.), Neopost, American Business Information Inc. (ABI), Internet service providers Netcom On-Line Communication Services Inc. and MCI Internet, and seven other companies that offer important business services such as integrated messaging and computer back-up via the Internet. Now, small businesses will be able to do things like rent mailing lists and send direct mail pieces using the Internet, research and book online travel, make online back-ups, send faxes without a fax machine, and run diagnostic checks on their Web pages.

Small businesses that have no background in design or desktop publishing can now take advantage of new features in Microsoft Publisher 98, including choosing from over 1,600 all-new Publication Templates. Using “Design Sets” in Publisher 98, companies can create a wide range of marketing materials that carry a consistent and professional image, from letterhead and business cards to newsletters and Web sites. With one mouse click, the AutoConvert feature allows small-business customers to convert printed publications to a complete and consistent linked Web site, eliminating the need to re-enter information. Microsoft Publisher 98 also incorporates new Flexible Wizards, allowing customers to make changes to their publications at any time.

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