REDMOND, Wash., May 26, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the immediate worldwide availability of the Microsoft® Vizact 2000 preview, the first document activation application. The newest application from Microsoft’s Office group, Vizact 2000 makes it easy for users to bring the dynamic nature of the Web to their documents. With Vizact, users can easily create HTML documents or enhance existing documents to reduce information overload and improve communication. A free copy of the Vizact 2000 preview is immediately available at http://www.microsoft.com/vizact/ or on CD-ROM (connect-time charges may apply).
Vizact 2000 frees users from having to understand the details of Web technology, so they can focus on being understood. Vizact 2000 gives end users who are not Web authors the ability to control when elements such as text, pictures, audio and video appear and disappear, their movement over time, and how they react to a reader’s mouse. For example, Vizact 2000 users can add Interactive Bullets to easily transform a lengthy, two-page list of products and descriptions into an activated page that is half as long. Interactive Bullets reduce the overload of too much information upfront, while still allowing users to click on the product they are interested in to get the details that matter to them.
Vizact improves communication by reducing information overload and saves time by allowing users to reuse existing documents and work in a familiar Office interface. Vizact also helps users impress their readers with premade effects and wizards.
“People and companies want a solution to information overload – a way to create documents that cut through the sea of information and get others to pay attention to their messages and remember their ideas,”
said Karl Jacob, product unit manager of Microsoft’s Document Activation Group.
“Vizact helps solve this problem by giving Office users the ability to create documents that harness the dynamic nature of the Web, without having to be Web authors or programmers.”
According to a Gartner Group study of 850 Microsoft Office users ranging from consumers and small businesses to medium-sized and large corporations, 50 percent of Office users want to use the dynamic nature of the Web in their documents to improve communication; however, most of those users aren’t currently doing so because
“they don’t know how.”
“Vizact is an excellent product for everyone who uses documents to communicate,”
said Kevin Van Arsdell at Great American Office Supplies.
“It allows us to reach our customers so that we stand out among our competitors on the Web and makes it easy for our customers to get the information they need from us – when they need it. Vizact 2000 is the answer to a problem we’ve been trying to solve for quite some time now.”
Document authors can control elements in their documents – such as when elements appear or disappear, the movement of an element along a path or an element’s reaction to a reader’s mouse – to enhance readers’ understanding and retention of ideas. Vizact 2000 does this via the following features:
Interactive Bullets reduce the amount of information readers see initially, while allowing them to find more detailed information by clicking on each bullet.
Table Highlights make table data easier to read by highlighting the row and column the user’s mouse is on.
AutoMotion uses motion to attract readers’ attention to key points. Predefined paths help users get started, or they can record their own paths.
Visual Timeline displays a visual representation of the items in users’ documents that change over time. The Visual Timeline allows users to easily choreograph the time at which any element in the document appears or disappears. Adjusting the start time, stop time or duration of an element is as easy as dragging the bar or resizing it.
Vizact 2000 Saves Users Time
Users save time by reusing existing HTML documents, including those created with Office 2000 or Office 97. In addition, users work in a familiar Office interface, so they don’t have to relearn common tasks. These features save users time and corporations money. Users will find the features they have come to expect in an Office application:
Send to Mail Recipient
Send to Vizact (from Word)
Format toolbar (which includes bold, italic, bullets, numbered bullets and alignment, among other features)
Vizact 2000 Helps Users Impress Their Audience
Office users in the Gartner study rated impressing their audience as one of the top reasons to activate documents. Vizact creates compelling documents without users having to understand the details.
Wizards give users professional results with minimal effort. HTML developers can create custom wizards using the open wizard architecture. This allows corporations to automate the creation of documents.
Effects created by professional designers make information stand out with one click. Users can even create their own effects and share them with other users simply by mailing them to each other. Corporations can create a consistent look to their documents by distributing a collection of effects to their users.
The free preview of Vizact 2000 is available now from the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/vizact/ (connect-time charges may apply). The preview expires on July 31, 1999. More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass where Jacob talks about the making of Vizact 2000 and what it means for users.
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