Word 2002

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  • Improved style management
  • tunable AutoCorrect feature
  • enhanced MailMerge feature
  • ability to select discontinuous text.


  • Rudimentary internal translation tool.

Alongside Excel, Word is the flagship of the Office suite, so you'd expect a number of new features to entice people to upgrade, and Word 2002 doesn't disappoint. Many of these additions, such as Smart Tags and Task Panes, are shared with other Office XP applications, but Word 2002 has its own productivity-enhancing innovations too.

Styles have always been hit-and-miss with previous vesions of Word, but this latest incarnation makes it easier to define, select and alter them via the new Task Pane. You can select and modify all instances of a particular style within a document, and any formatting inconsistencies that Word finds are marked with blue underlines.

Bulleted and numbered lists can now be included as part of a style definition, as well as charts for easy use, and you can drag list indents manually to reposition them. Watermarks can be added to pages, and you can now select non-consecutive paragraphs and words with the mouse and Ctrl key.

Everyone will appreciate the Smart Tag that allows you to tune the AutoCorrect feature, as it allows you to define exceptions on the fly -- useful when so many product names use unusual capitalisation. When you send an email in Outlook 2002, the name of the recipient will be stored as an AutoComplete entry. Writers may also welcome the word count toolbar, but would probably value it more if it dynamically updated.

If you were hoping that the internal translation tool would replace Babel Fish, you'll be disappointed. It's quite useful for finding individual words, but invariably fails when asked to cope with sentences, unless you choose the Web option.

The Mail Merge wizard has now been implemented as a Task Pane, making it a simple task to send out documents to a mailing list. Word 2002 now shares PowerPoint 2002's improved diagramming tool, as well as a revised image controls tools for image placement and manipulation -- no more anchors!

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Where Word 2000 attempted to include multiple clipboard entries with little success, Word 2002 manages to make it a more effective solution, using the Task Pane to store up to 24 entries along with visual representations -- you can now see whether you're pasting a spreadsheet cell, text or an image file.

Other new features include the option to remove the white space between pages in page layout view, 128-bit document encryption, and the ability to attach CSS style sheets to documents. Combined with speech and handwriting recognition, and the review and collaboration tools that are a part of Office XP, Word 2002 has a great deal to offer both home and business users.

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