Consumer Report

     Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS Release 2.3
Lotus Freelance Graphics for DOS Release 4.0
              Report #14

             December 1991
       PC Technology Assessment Program    o^ ^
       EPA National Data Processing Division  *> mm \
       Information Centers Branch - RIC II, MD-35 I
       Research Triangle Park, NC 27711     \
       Telephone: (919) 541-0568 (FTS) 629-0568
                              Printed on Recycled Paper

                           PC TAP CONSUMER REPORTS
From the Editor's Desk
Since August 1989, we have averaged a PC TAP Consumer Report every other month.  Some have
had more impact than others, and we're sure we haven't pleased alt the people all the time. However,
we've received enough positive feedback to be confident we've been on the mark more often than not.
For the most pan, it has been a good experience researching the material for these reports, and
writing and publishing them.  To tell the truth, it's been enjoyable and rewarding.

As I'm sure you are all well aware, FY92 is a time of real belt-tightening for EPA. The National Data
Processing Division is no exception, and management has had to take a hard look at the various
functions it subsidizes.  With an eye toward eliminating  non-essential functions—even when those
functions serve a worthwhile purpose—the decision has been made to  discontinue a number of
activities, including the PC Technology Assessment Program.

This is the last PC TAP Consumer Report you will receive.  Although it was ready in December,
printing and distribution were delayed pending final decision on the status of PC TAP. In This & That,
on Pages  15 and 16, you will find a cumulative index of the 14 reports that have been published.
Back issues of most are available; call us or send an Email of you want copies.


                                                                  David A. Taylor
                                                                  PC TAP Coordinator

                      New DOS Releases of Lotus 1-2-3
                             and Freelance Graphics
 In PC TAP Consumer Report #13 we gave brief descriptions of the new releases for DOS of two
 stalwarts of Lotus Development Corporation's software family: Lotus* 1-2-3° for DOS Release 2.3,
 and Lotus Freelance Graphics™ for DOS Release 4.0. At that time, we also referred to our in-progress
 project to look at these two products in more depth, and promised to provide a more detailed report
 upon completion of the evaluation.

 With the help of the PC TAP External Resource Network, users of spreadsheets and graphics software
 who were willing to serve as evaluators were identified.  Participating organizations include Regions
 I, II, VI, and X; the Washington Information Center; and the labs at Ann Arbor, Athens, Cincinnati,
 Edison, Gulf Breeze, Gulf of Mexico, and NEIC. The group represented a good cross-section of the
 user community, with self-reports of level-of-expertise  with spreadsheets and graphics programs
 ranging from novice to expert.

 Evaluators' hardware ranged from Epson and PS/2 286-based PCs to PS/2 Model 70 386's with 6MB
 of memory.  Several used NCR 386SXs; one person  had a diskless NCR.  Lotus Development
 Corporation generously provided evaluation copies of the software to those who participated. PC TAP
developed an evaluation questionnaire, which each evaluator completed and returned to us. Their
 ratings and their feedback are summarized on the following pages.

 Lotus* 1-2-3* for DOS Release 2.3

The capability to work in a completely interactive, graphical environment certainly is a major highlight
 in this release of 1-2-3.  This functionality is called Wysiwyg, for what-you-see-is-what-you-get.  The
 1 -2-3 Wysiwyg environment brings with it a variety of formatting options, on-screen fonts, colors, text-
formatting, shading,  and graphics capabilities.   When the Wysiwyg option is included in the 1-2-3
 installation, the user can switch between it and the traditional 1-2-3 environment by toggling between
their respective menus.

 Lotus Development Corporation calls 1-2-3 Release 2.3 "a major upgrade of 1-2-3 release 2.2 that
unites the power of a state-of-the-art DOS spreadsheet and an easy to use, interactive, graphical work
environment."  In summary, they have built a graphical interface and mouse support into the product,
streamlined it so it will run as fast or faster than  any previous release of 1-2-3 on nearly any PC/XT,
AT, or Lotus-certified compatible computer with  an 8088 or better microprocessor.

 Beyond the basic hardware platform, system requirements are fairly modest.  You need MS-DOS
version 2.1 or greater.  1-2-3 itself requires 384K of memory; 512K is needed if you want to run the
optional Wysiwyg add-in.  Up to 12MB of  additional expanded memory based on the Lotus-lntel-
Microsoft Expanded  Memory Specification, version 3.2 or 4.0, may also be used. At least a high-
resolution CGA monitor is required, and if you're going to use Wysiwyg VGA is recommended.

 The amount of fixed disk space you need depends upon how many you decide to install of the several
 companion programs that come with 1 -2-3. The table below, which was taken from the Getting Started
 manual that is included with the  program documentation, addresses this issue in more detail.
 Program Name




 Wysiwyg-Go I


 Combines spreadsheet, graphics,
 and database.

 Lets you format, print, and add graphics
 to the worksheets you create.

 Auditor, Viewer, and Macro Library
 Manager add features to 1-2-3.

 Online tutorial that teaches you how to
 use the Wysiwyg add-in to create more
 professional-looking worksheets.

 Lets you display and print the graphs you
 create in 1-2-3. (Unless you will use a pen
 plotter or print several graphs at the same
 time, you don't need to transfer PrintGraph.}

 Lets you use data from other spreadsheet
 and database management programs in 1-2-3,
or lets you convert 1-2-3 worksheets so other
programs can read them.  (Unless you plan to
convert worksheets from other programs, you
do not need to transfer Translate.)
 Disk space required

 1,950,000 bytes

 2,310,000 bytes

 111,000 bytes

 1,070,000 bytes

220,000 bytes
541,000 bytes
 By default, the 1-2-3 Install program automatically transfers 1-2-3, Wysiwyg, Add-lns, 1-2-3-Go!, and
 Wysiwyg-Go I to your hard disk.  Unless you specifically ask for PrintGraph and Translate, they aren't
 installed.  Some quick calculations show that you need nearly 7MB of hard disk space for the default
 installation of 1 -2-3 Release 2.3; closer to 8MB for all the options.

 Another installation option that affects disk space is Wysiwyg fonts.  In order for Wysiwyg to make
 what-you-get look  like what-you-see,  fonts must be generated that are compatible with the printer
 drivers you specify during the installation process. The available fonts are Courier, Dutch, Swiss, and
 Xsymbol, for which users may select among three available sets of type sizes. The Basic set includes
 point sizes 4, 6, 8,10,12,14,18, and 24; the Medium set adds type sizes 9,11,16, and 36 to the
 Basic set; and the Extended set includes all the previously-mentioned sizes along with sizes 5,7,13,
30, 48, 60, and 72 point.  The three font sets  require 200-400KB, 350-750KB, and 800KB-1.4MB of
disk space, respectively. The ranges in space requirements are related to the characteristics of your
monitor and of the printer drivers you install.  According to the documentation, the  Basic set is
adequate for most users' needs, and Lotus recommends you select Basic as your initial font set.

 Among the major new features of 1-2-3, Lotus lists these as the most significant:

               •  A Wysiwyg Interface that provides a live graphical interface in a
                 DOS spreadsheet

               •  Fast, efficient file linking with Magellan* technology that allows you
                 to see a worksheet before you retrieve or link it

               •  Auditor, a tool that helps analyze and document worksheet logic

               •  Improved   graphics,  with  more  graph  types   and  expanded

               •  Improved  print management  that includes a page compression
                 feature that makes an entire report fit on a page

               •  Improved memory management so the program will accommodate
                 larger spreadsheets

 What the Evaluators Said	

 PC TAP'S evaluation questionnaire addressed the major features of 1-2-3 Release 2.3.  We asked
 product testers to rate various features on a 1-to-5 scale, with 1 being the least favorable rating and
 5 being the most favorable.  Participants were asked to enter a score of zero if they did not actually
 test a given feature, or if for some other reason they were  unable to formulate  an opinion.  Average
 scores for each question are given in the following paragraphs, along with selected comments from
 evaluators.  When we have insights through our own experience at PC TAP that shed light on any of
 the questions, our comments are included as well.

                  Questions about Installation, Setup,  and Getting Started

 We asked our evaluators about ease-of-installation, readability and organization of documentation, and
 usefulness of 1 -2-3's interactive tutorial. Several people found the process to be  quick and easy. One
 said, "Installation was absolutely no  trouble at all," and added that  a cursory review of the manual
 allowed him to complete the process "within minutes of receipt of the software."  Another said
 "Installation rapid; instructions clear."  One  of the pieces of documentation, the ^Functions and
 Macros Guide, prompted this remark: "Liked how (the) separate ©Functions guide was organized."

 Concerning the font-generation process, which we mentioned earlier in the discussion of disk-space
 requirements, one person said 'Time consuming... since  disk space varies  by option selected, the
 installer should have an installation chart indicating disk space for each option  ..."

The overall scores on the 1-to-5 scale were: ease of installation, 4.4; readability and organization of
documentation, 3.8; usefulness of interactive tutorial,  3.3.

                             Questions Concerning Wysiwyg

Several questions addressed the Wysiwyg capability. In explaining the advantages of Wysiwyg, the
documentation suggests that you think of the conventional 1-2-3 menu as the door to the product's
analytical tools, and think of the Wysiwyg menu as the door to 1 -2-3's publishing tools. Use the 1 -2-3
menu to create spreadsheets; use the Wysiwyg menu prepare presentations and reports. Some new
commands have been added to the conventional 1-2-3 menu bar to accommodate new features. The
folks at Lotus are quick to point out that new commands have been added at the end of the list to
avoid disturbing the placement and order of previous commands with which current 1-2-3 users are
familiar. This is seen as a major concession to user-friendliness.

Use of the menus follows the rules of previous versions of 1-2-3. You use the familiar forward-slash
key to activate the 1-2-3 menu; the colon key is used in the same way to bring up the Wysiwyg menu.
Switching between menus, or modes, is accomplished by striking the forward-slash or the colon, as
appropriate for the desired function. You can configure 1 -2-3 to always come up with Wysiwyg active,
or you can elect to activate it only upon demand.

Along with questions related to Wysiwyg, we  asked our evaluators about the mouse support that is
included in release 2.3 Extensive use of the right mouse button  is incorporated into the 1-2-3 mouse
support.  For example, you can toggle between the 1-2-3 and Wysiwyg menus  by clicking the right
button. You can also move through the menu bar's command list by clicking the right mouse button,
rather than with the right arrow key as is the case in earlier versions. To execute a command, you
click with the left button. Scrolling can be done by clicking on scroll arrows or holding the button down
while  the mouse  pointer is on a scroll arrow. Worksheet cells can be "selected" by clicking on the
desired cell with the left mouse button.

We asked evaluators to comment on how easy it was for them to adapt to switching between the two
available menus when working in 1 -2-3, and whether they chose to configure it so that Wysiwyg loads
automatically when 1 -2-3 starts up. They were also asked to comment about whether they considered
the addition of new commands at the end of the command list to be a significantly user-friendly way
in which to implement those commands.

For the question about how easy it was to adapt to switching between the 1 -2-3 and Wysiwyg menus,
the average score was 4.1 on the 1-to-5 scale. Eighty percent of the respondents said they configured
1-2-3  so that Wysiwyg  loaded automatically  when  1-2-3 starts up; 75% of this group said it was
"definitely useful" to have both command lists readily available.

Opinions about the use of commands versus a mouse were more evenly divided. Those who prefer
to use a mouse  comprise  53% of all respondents, while 47% still like  to  enter commands  with

                        Worksheet Size and Compatibility Issues

According to Lotus, Release 2.3 maintains  keystroke compatibility with files, data, macros, and
applications from  previous releases of 1-2-3.  It reads and writes .WK1, .ALL, and .FMT file formats.
The product's memory-management capabilities enable it to build a worksheet as large as 4MB in size;
up to  12MB if LIM expanded memory may be used.

 To assess these features, we asked our testers to read files created in previous versions of 1-2-3 into
 Release 2.3, and to report any problems they encountered with worksheet file sizes.  A broad range
 of file sizes was reported. The smallest was 7K bytes with 55 cells; the largest 400K with 10,000 cells.
 The average of the others fell in the ranges of 30-50K bytes and 1,000-2,000 cells.  Eighty percent
 of the respondents, Including the one reporting the largest spreadsheet, said they had "no problems"
 bringing their existing files into Release 2.3. One person said it was necessary to save a Release 3.1
 worksheet as "2.x" before it could be read by Release 2.3. Another said the style characteristics of
 an Allways file were  lost in the transfer, but the file was  successfully read by Release 2.3.

                              Dialog Boxes and Named Styles

 Along with incorporating a graphical interface and mouse support, Release 2.3 provides dialog boxes
 in many cases as an alternative to selecting commands from a menu.  Dialog boxes use check boxes,
 option buttons, text boxes, command boxes, and list boxes to display available function options and
 solicit user command input. Rather than moving through a list of commands and pressing Enter with
 the cursor on the desired option, with dialog boxes the mouse is used, typically to click in a box beside
 the function or command option of choice.  Popup dialog boxes, which overlay their "parents," take
 the place of nested menus. In 1-2-3, users may turn dialog boxes off if they prefer to use command
 menus  instead.  It's a simple matter to toggle between command menus and dialog boxes with the
 F6 function key.

 Named styles are groups of formatting commands you create and save with a user-defined name. For
 example, if you routinely create reports that have many common characteristics (headings, fonts, text
 colors,  underlining, bolding,  columnar characteristics, etc.) you can format a worksheet cell that
 includes all the desired features and save it with a name you choose.  Thereafter, whenever you want
 to create a document with the characteristics defined in a particular named style, you can just indicate
 the range of cells to which you want to apply those characteristics and specify the name of the style
 you want to  use.

 In our evaluation questionnaire, we asked participants to indicate how helpful dialog  boxes were in
 increasing their productivity with 1-2-3, and how useful they thought  named styles would be in their
 day-to-day work. On the 1-to-5 scale, the average scores for dialog boxes and named styles were 4.0
 and 3.8, respectively.

                                   Enhanced Graphics

The enhanced graphics capability is a major new feature in Release 2.3.  With Wysiwyg you can
create  a graph in 1-2-3 and imbed it in a worksheet with a hot link between the graph and the
spreadsheet data.  Thereafter, when the data are revised, 1 -2-3 automatically updates the graph  to
reflect the changes.  With the graphics editing window, text, lines, arrows, polygons, rectangles,
ellipses, and symbols can be added to graphs.

Our evaluators were asked to individually rate the three basic steps in the graphics process. Here are
the results:

              Task                                                   Score
              Creating a new graph                                     3.9
              Adding a graph to a worksheet                             3.8
              Editing a graph                                           3.8

The question about enhanced graphics probably generated more comments than any other single item
on the evaluation questionnaire.  Here are some examples:

              Best thing since expanded memory!!!!

              The graphics capabilities combined with the 'desktop publishing* capabilities ...
              is so superior to anything else we have... that I would recommend its use for any
              job that requires a column arrangement....

              3-D graphics is useful.

              The graphics enhancements is a significant improvement.

              Still not as easy as a Mac.

              About time ... this is a nice feature.

              Not much different from 2.01 with Allways.

                                        The Viewer

The Viewer file management add-in is based on the technology that's familiar to many users of Lotus
Magellan. With Viewer, you can browse your hard disk and read the contents of many files without
ever leaving 1-2-3.

In operation, Viewer opens two side-by-side windows on your screen. The names of subdirectories
and files appear In the narrower left-hand List window, while the contents of the currently-selected file
are displayed  in the right-hand  View window.  Viewer recognizes and displays 1-2-3, Symphony®,
Lotus Works, and ASCII word-processing and database files. It tries to display any selected file, but
some, such  as executable code, will yield only unreadable characters and symbols.

Viewer can be used to quickly and easily create links between worksheets. When related worksheets
are linked, changes to one are reflected in related data in the other(s).  An example of a situation
where linked files would be advantageous  is the case where various groups  are  responsible for
portions of a master report.  The master report might list tallies that input from each group. If each
group worksheet Is linked to the master worksheet, revisions to an individual group's worksheet would
automatically be reflected in the master worksheet.

We asked evaluators to rate both of Viewer's functions, browsing and linking. Somewhat surprisingly,
file  browsing ranked higher, with a 4.2 average as compared with a 3.7 average for linking.  Perhaps
browsing is  a much more commonly-used  feature,  which would explain why it was  judged more

                                  Enhanced Print Function

The literature on 1-2-3 Release 2.3 characterizes the printing enhancements as a major improvement
over previous versions.  The Wysiwyg Print dialog boxes provide for quick and easy specifications of
margins, paper dimensions, printer driver, and page numbers to print from the selected document.

A key feature is the ability to make a report fit on a single page.  For example, suppose you create
a report containing  text, graphics, and worksheet data.   Upon inspecting the result with  the print

 preview function,  you find  that it overflows the page by several lines.   By  selecting  Layout
 Compression Automatic horn the Print menu, you can instruct 1-2-3 to scale down the entire report
 to fit within the dimensions of a single page.

 Another print enhancement allows the user to preview a report in black-and-white mode. While your
 on-screen view of your report may include text and graphics of various colors, this function lets you
 preview what it will look like  when printed on a black and white printer.

 On the evaluation  form, we simply asked testers to indicate how satisfied they were with the printing
 capabilities of the product. The average score for all respondents was 4.3.

                                     Execution Speed

 Finally, we wanted to determine user satisfaction with the  execution speed  of Release 2.3. The
 question was stated like this:  "Considering all aspects of your experience to date evaluating the
 product, how would you rate the operating speed of Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS Release 2.3 as configured
 on your machine?" The average score overall was respectable 4.0.

 Looking beyond the responses to the question, however, reveals some fascinating insight into the
 question of users'  perception of computer speed.  Or, perhaps more appropriately, how one's point
 of reference affects his or her idea of what's fast enough.

 With two exceptions, hardware used by the participants in this study was equally represented in two
 groups:  286 machines with clock speeds ranging from 8-16 Mhz, and 386/386sx  machines with
 reported clock speeds in the l2-20Mhz range. The average scores for these two groups were 4.0 and
 4.5, respectively; not significantly different, and both better-than-average ratings. Of the two remaining
 respondents, one used a 33Mhz 486 machine, while the other had a 6Mhz 8088 PC/XT. The 486 user
 rated speed a 4; the XT user recorded a 51

                                  Overall Product Rating

 The final two questionnaire items addressed evaluators' overall impressions of Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS
 Release 2.3.  First we asked them whether, if the choice were entirely theirs,  they would upgrade from
 their present  spreadsheet to  1-2-3 R2.3.  If they said  they would not upgrade, we asked them what
 they are currently using.  Then we requested a final assessment,  on the 1-to-5 scale, of the overall
 merits of the  product.

 Seventy-three percent of the  respondents indicated they would upgrade to Release 2.3 if the choice
 were theirs to make.  Products preferred by those who said they would not upgrade were Smart
 Spreadsheet, Quattro Pro 2.0, Microsoft Excel, and Lotus 1-2-3 R2.01 with Allways.  One person said
 he would recommend an  upgrade to Release 2.3 from Release 2.01, but not from  Release 2.2.

The overall product rating on the 1-to-5 scale, with 5 being most favorable, was 4.1.

                                 Comments of Evaluators

As is our custom, we provided space at the end of the questionnaire for respondents to add anything
they wanted to say about the product or their experiences while evaluating  it.   Here is a synopsis of
the comments on 1-2-3 Release 2.3.

               I liked some of tho new Wysiwyg stuff, but a lot of my spreadsheets either would
               not toad, or would toad but run out of memory trying to Wysiwyg print.  If I had
               more memory (and the upgrade was very cheap), I would upgrade....

               I found the new enhanced expanded memory manager a great asset. Many of my
               spreadsheets are very big.  This feature allows me to use larger spreadsheets
               when I need.  With the new linking this also seems to help.

               Lotus 1-2-3 Version 2.3 has significantly advanced the utility of the Lotus product.
               I especially enjoyed the Wysiwyg add-in and made it the default presentation style.
               I feel that all of the supplied add-ins added value to the underlying spreadsheet

               I have supported all different brands of spreadsheets over the years. Lotus is an
               •OK" product, but there are much better products out there	I think having two
               interfaces for a spreadsheet product is confusing to users.  Some functions are
               available in Lotus menu and other functions are available in Wysiwyg.

               ... Wysiwyg font defaults should be PostScript fonts when a PostScript printer is
               installed.  Replacing these fonts is very cumbersome... Liked Wysiwyg feature
               much better than  Allways... PIF file and icon for Windows came in handy. Nice

               I am particularly impressed with the versatility of this release for the creation of
               worksheets/presentations that not only look professional, but are easy to read and
               allow the operator to place emphasis where needed. The program is very user-
               friendly, and with  a little help from the tutorial manual, can be self-taught.
Clearly most of our evaluators  feel that Release 2.3  represents a significant improvement over
previous versions of 1-2-3, although several respondents indicated It lacks sufficient appeal to lure
them away from their current spreadsheet products.   Comments about the new features in 2.3,
particularly those referring to Wysiwyg, suggest that Lotus was on target with what they believed users
would like to see in the latest DOS version of the product.

The collective judgment of those who participated in this assessment  is that 1-2-3 Release 2.3
represents a worthwhile upgrade for many Agency users.  This conclusion is consistent with PC
TAP'S findings following an earlier, less detailed evaluation.  In July, we  recommended making this
product available to users via the ACI contract.

 Freelance Graphics1" for DOS Release 4.0
 According to Lotus Development Corporation, this release "has more power and is even easier to use
 than Freelance Plus 3.01." The enhancements incorporated into this product are said to have been
 based on extensive market research during which users told Lotus what they wanted to see in the

 In an interview published in the May/June 1991 issue of Softmarf* Newsware, Dan Shimmel, Director
 of Marketing for Graphics at Lotus Development Corporation, said The Wysiwyg working environment
 is probably the most important improvement because it enables users to work with their graphics just
 as they will appear at output time. The graphical capabilities let users use the mouse and graphical
 user interface conventions to edit and size graphics, giving DOS users access to the benefits of a
 graphical environment."

 Another key feature is the "smart chart update." Freelance Graphics stores chart data in the .DRW
 file with the chart itself,  and whenever the data are  updated the chart is automatically revised too.
 Charts can also be linked to an external data source, like a spreadsheet.  In such cases, when the
 .DRW file is retrieved Freelance Graphics checks the currency of the source data. If the data file has
 been modified since the last time the chart was saved, the chart file is automatically updated.

 This report is based on the Standard Edition of Freelance for DOS Version  4.0, which is intended for
 use on standalone PCs. (A Node Edition is available for LAN  installation.) The Standard Edition
 requires an IBM PC/XT, PC/AT, PS/2, Compaq Deskpro, or Compaq Portable, or a PC compatible with
 any of the aforementioned types. The PC must have a hard drive and at least 640K of main memory.
 Other hardware requirements include a supported graphics adapter, a minimum of 8MB of available
 hard disk space,  and 455K of free memory when  Freelance is launched.  There are "Reduced
 memory" and "Increased memory" options that restrict and enhance performance, respectively. The
 optional GrandView LT Package, which allows the user to create text charts directly from an outline,
 also requires additional memory and disk space.

 Freelance Graphics for DOS requires DOS version 3.0 or later.  Furthermore, the CONFIG.SYS file
 must contain a FILES- statement specifying at least 20 file handles, preferably 25.

 Following installation of Freelance Graphics, users must install output devices. This is accomplished
 via the Device and Font Setup command from the program's Access menu.  Freelance displays a
 screen on which devices you specified during product installation are listed. If you want to install
 additional device drivers, you can select "Install-devices" from the current screen menu and a list of
 all available devices will be displayed. You may select as many additional drivers from this list as you

The list of major features  in Freelance Graphics that, according to Lotus Development, were identified
through direct response from Freelance users include the following:

                Easier, faster, smarter charts
                Interactive Wysiwyg displays
                Enhanced mouse support
                Faster, more automated presentations
                New menu commands
                New key functions


               •   Performance improvements, including increased-memory
                  options, faster printing for all devices,
                  and easier file access
               •   New defaults for colors and fills
               •   Expanded device support
               •   A disk-based tutorial and revised documentation
 What the Evaluators Said
 As with Lotus 1 -2-3 Version 2.3, PC TAP'S evaluation questionnaire focused on the major new features
 of Freelance Graphics. Evaluation participants were asked to respond to a series of questions, and
 the same 1-to-5 rating scale was employed. A summary of respondents' feedback follows.

                           Installation, Setup, and Getting Started

 These questions brought mixed reactions from respondents.  Some were favorable, others highly
 critical. Some of their comments illustrate the diversity of opinions:

               Installation was very smooth, but the setup was still clunky.

               I feel that charts and symbols should have been provided for in the menu directed
               installation, instead of requiring DOS level commands to place these files on disk.

               Very easy to follow (referring to the documentation).

               The 'device directory* is an outstanding resource.

               I found it easy to go through most of the documentation, but I am not sure if a first
               time user would understand every new term and option available with the package.

 On the 1-to-5 rating scale, the average score for "ease of installation" was 3.7; the average was 3.3
 for "readability, organization of documentation.*

 We asked evaluators if they had explored Freelance's context-sensitive help. Half of the respondents
 said they had used the help function.  The average ranking for this feature was 3.0.

                                  "Smart Chart" Features

 Lotus says Freelance Graphics allows you  to create "faster, smarter charts."  Several items on the
 evaluation questionnaire addressed the new features that contribute to the smart chart functionality.
 First we asked about the benefits of not having to maintain separate chart and a graphics files, since
 Release 4.0 keeps both types of information in one single file. Although the average response for this
 item was only 2.8 and few comments were provided, two people thought  this was a significant
 improvement over previous Freelance releases.  One commented, "I no longer have to remember if
 I created a chart for this picture.  I like that." The other person said This was actually a problem for
me at first	In the old version, if cosmetic revisions  were required to a chart, they would always
have to be recreated after the drawing file was generated. Here, they are made one time only. This
is a big time-saver."

 Other smart chart features we asked  evaluators to rate included the Chart Gallery, a group of
 templates of various chart types; the inclusion of a 3-D bar graph type; and the addition of an
 Automatic Data Tables function to Freelance. Automatic data tables allow you to display data in two
 forms, graphical and tabular. For example, suppose you build a bar chart to show monthly productivity
 of a function over several months. When the Automatic Data Tables function Is turned on for the bar
 chart, a table presenting the same data is automatically displayed along with the graph.

 Again, our evaluators were somewhat ambivalent about these features.  Although a couple of people
 really liked certain aspects, several commented that the same functionality was available and easier
 to use in other graphics packages. The scores for Chart Gallery, Automatic Data Tables, and 3-D Bar
 Charts were 2.9, 3.2, and 3.0, respectively.

 Another set of enhancements in Release 4.0 is  related to the orientation of charts. Automatic Chart
 Locations allows you to select one from a group of predefined locations for placing your chart on a
 page: full page, left half, right half, top half, bottom half, top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right, and
 custom. The "Custom" option is expressed in terms of a percentage of the full page that you want the
 graph to occupy.

 A second orientation-related enhancement is an Increase in table size.  Freelance for DOS Release
 4.0 can display more data, since it can handle  larger table sizes.   The table below,  which  is
 reproduced from the What's New booklet that comes with Freelance, shows the inverse relationship
 between the maximum allowable number of columns and rows.

              Number of columns                       Maximum number of rows

              1to8                                   120
              9 to 16                                   60
              17 to  30                                30

 Finally,  we asked about the Transposed Tables feature, which  swaps rows and columns in table
 charts.  This capability allows you to  easily change the visual orientation of tabular data.

 The average scores  for the three  chart-orientation features were: Automatic Chart Locations, 3.0;
 Large table Size, 2.8, Transposed Tables, 3.1.


 As in Lotus 1-2-3, the  what-you-see-is-what-you-get concept  has been heavily  emphasized in
 Freelance for DOS Release 4.0. The three functions in which Wysiwyg is embodied are enhanced
 fonts, enhanced colors, and automatic redraw.

 Freelance uses enhanced Bitstream* typefaces for screen preview displays when Use actual output
 fonts has been specified on the View Mode form. This allows you  to see on your screen exactly what
 the printed page will look like. Two type faces, Swiss and Dutch, are provided, and both are available
 in regular, bold, italic,  and bold-italic. Swiss is essentially the same as the Helvetica type face in which
 PC TAP Consumer Reports are printed; the other is Dutch, which resembles the New Century
Schoolbook in which this phrase is printed.

When Use actual output colors and fills \s selected from the View Mode form, the actual display colors
and fills for your output device are used for screen displays. If the output device is a btack and white
printer, shades of gray are shown on your monitor screen.

Freelance automatically redraws the changed areas of the drawing page to correspond with changes
you make when Auto redraw is selected on the View Mode form. This assures that you are always
working with the most updated version of your chart or graph.

As a group, the Wysiwyg features were the most highly rated by our evaluators.  The scores were:
Use Actual Output Fonts, 4.1; Use Actual Colors and Fills, 4.1; and Auto Redraw, 3.9. Several people
commented that the auto redraw function was unacceptably slow, particularly on 286 machines. One
person said the slowness was compounded by inevitable "out of memory" errors before the drawing
could be  completed.  However, one person who obviously was satisfied with Wysiwyg performance
said it allowed him to reduce the overall time required to prepare good-quality graphics.

                                   Performance Issues

Two questionnaire items were related to performance.  One addressed the  question of how much
improvement was attributed to enhanced mouse support. The other simply asked to what extent the
evaluator was satisfied with the performance of Freelance Graphics for DOS on his or her PC.

On the 1 -to-5 point scale, we equated 1 with  "I like keystrokes" while a score of 5 indicated "I like the
mouse."  The average for all respondents was 3.5, a modest bias in favor of the mouse, but certainly
not a significant one. With respect to operating speed, nobody recorded grades at the either end of
the rating scale. The average was a better-than-average 3.3. There was no discernible difference of
opinion between users of 286 and 386 machines that could be attributed to  the performance of the

                                   Overall Assessment

Two questions,  similar to those with which the Lotus 1-2-3 questionnaire concluded, were aimed at
evaluators' overall opinions of Freelance for DOS Release 4.0.  We asked, "If the choice were entirely
yours, would you upgrade to Freelance ...  or would you stay with  your current graphics package?
Fifty-seven percent of the respondents checked "stick with my current product." Packages mentioned
were  CorelDRAW!, Harvard Graphics,  Microsoft PowerPoint, and DrawPerfect.   One person
commented "I'm waiting for Freelance for Windows."

In response to an item that asked for the evaluator's overall assessment of  Freelance Graphics for
DOS Release 4,0, the average score was 3.3, where 1.0 is equal to "Poor Product" and 5.0 indicates
"Outstanding Product."  The mood of the group seems to be that there are some nice new features
in this release, but none is significant enough to lure many of them away from  other products they are
presently using.  Here are some quotations we selected from general comments about participants'
experiences evaluating this product:

              This release of Freelance  is a welcome change to 3.01 but the overall feel of the
              product was rather clunky. This feeling wasn't centered on any one area or option
              but an overall feeling that this release was more of a bubble gum and bailing wire
             job than an upgrade.

              Needs a tutorial... the package isn't very easy to learn.


               I am currently evaluating business graphics packages. New packages are being
               announced weekly ... I'll wait for FL for Windows to see how that compares.

               I feel that a first time user will have difficulty going through the documentation and
               the program. Some of the features are good, but only an advanced user might be
               able to appreciate their use.

               This is a product that has aged beyond its usefulness— I think Freelance should
               be made a cheap, entry-level product.

               I enjoyed the graphing features. We do a lot of that here, and this feature is great.
               However, with Lotus' new 1-2-3 and its graphing feature I may not use Freelance
               as often to do my graphing.

               I feel that Freelance is poorly differentiated from the field of similar products.  I
               found no compelling features which would lure me toward Freelance.

 Freelance for DOS Version 4.0, like 1-2-3 Version 2.3, was recommended for addition to the ACI
 contract in July.

From the results of our evaluations of 1-2-3 for DOS Release 2.3 and Freelance Graphics for DOS
Version  4.0  we can conclude that both products have been  improved  over previous versions.
Participants in our evaluation project clearly feel that this is more true for 1-2-3 than for Freelance.

When assessing upgrades to mature products, it's important to keep in mind that enhancements and
refinements are the order of the day, rather than large-scale changes. This  is certainly the case with
these two packages,  both  of which have  been on the market for a number of years.   Lotus'
commitment to maintaining their DOS products to the highest possible standards is commendable, but
the life cycle of DOS versions of most popular software is probably beyond its peak. Continued sales
of such software, along with user demands for related services, will continue for some time because
of the large installed base.  But look for significant breakthroughs and innovations to appearr in GUI-
based releases of the popular software products, not in  their DOS incarnations.

Since this evaluation project was begun, Lotus Development Corporation has released Lotus 1-2-3 for
Windows and Freelance for Windows. These two products are said to have all the latest features and
capabilities, including some mentioned as "missing* by evaluators of the DOS versions  discussed in
this report. We  hope you will have a chance to review the Windows versions; we look forward to a
like opportunity.

                          This &  That
         to tft& A.
         reported on before, telf you about announcements ol interesting
         products, or present other $ir$iy it$m3 01 intereei.
                   PC TAP Consumer Reports
                        Cumulative Index
Report     Date           Features

 #1        Aug. 89          Personal Information Management Systems
                          Open Forum:  Sun Workstation/DOS Windows

 #2        Sep. 89          Graphics Software for Scientific Applications
                          Desktop Printers
                          Open Forum:  MS Windows DOS Extension
                                  Macintosh 35mm Slides

 #3        Oct. 89          Color Hardcopy Output
                          Technology Assessment Around EPA
                          Open Forum:  PC 386 Upgrades

 #4        Nov. 89          PC Graphics File Transfers

 #5        Jan. 90          Desktop Scanners

 #6        Feb. 90          WordPerfect 5.1  Evaluation
                          Open Forum:  Scientific Graphics Followup

 #7        May 90          Text Retrieval Software
                          Open Forum:  PacificPage PostScript Cartridge
                          This & That: HP LaserJet III

 #8        July 90          Microsoft Windows 3.0—
                          Part I: First Impressions
                          Open Forum:  C hem Draft II Chemical Structures
                          This & That: The PC TAP ERN

 #9      October 90        Microsoft Windows 3.0—
                          Part II: A Closer Look
                          Open Forum:  2.88MB Extra-High Density
                             Disk Drive

Report     Date
#10     December 90
         March 91
May 91
#13      August 91
#14    December 91
Grammar Checkers
Open Forum: Low-Cost Macintosh Printers
dBASE IV Version 1.1 Evaluation
Open Forum: The ScanMan™ Scanner
Desktop Publishing Platforms
Open Forum: dBASE IV Version 1.1 Feedback
PC TAP Update
Lotus 1-2-3 R2.3 & Freelance R4.0
This & That:  Final Cumulative Index
                  «O.S. Government Printing office : 1992 - 312-014/40051