INSTANT PRESENTATIONS AND INSTANT FORMS
Scramble! You're expected to make a presentation in one hour at an unexpected meeting. Sound familiar? The next time this happens, you might be grateful if your computer library includes a copy of Instant Presentations, one of two new programs from Qumatic Instant Business Software.
Instant Presentations produces charts for overhead projection or handout purposes. It works quickly and easily, with no worry about formatting or layout details. You simply choose your chart from a menu of formats, pick portrait or landscape orientation, type your message, and send the chart off to your printer.
The format options include a title page, bullet charts, outline charts, and charts with two, three, or four columns for tables or financial data. You're limited to 12 double-spaced lines plus a title, subtitle, and footnote in each chart. The clean, strong, sans-serif font resembles Helvetica and is fixed at 36-point type for titles, 24-point for subtitles, and 18-point for individual lines of the chart. All formats are for text; there aren't any graphics capabilities.
The restrictions on the number of lines and the fixed definitions of point sizes are well chosen. Often presentation charts are so busy or attempt to crowd so much information on a single page that the message is lost. Instant Presentations helps you avoid these temptations.
The program is packaged with 5¼- and 3½-inch disks, but you must have a hard disk to run the program. Installation is quick and easy; the program takes up about 500K of disk space. The printer option in the installation procedure provides for many types including Epson and Okidata dot-matrix and Hewlett-Packard and compatible laser printers. The printed documentation only covers installation. After installing the program, you can print the well-written documentation file. The company provides a telephone number for technical support.
I decided to make a bullet chart, a type commonly used in presentations. After choosing to create a presentation from the main menu, I named it, created and named a page, chose the bullet format with portrait orientation, and chose to give the chart a border. With it on the screen, I typed a title and subtitle and the lines of my chart. From the main menu, the options to view and change the text and to reorder the lines let me make some changes to the chart. The online help for all these options removes any need to refer to the manual. Selecting the print option, I received a most presentable chart. The whole process was quick and easy.
Instant Presentations isn't fancy, but as we all know, sometimes there isn't enough time to be fancy. And its price isn't fancy either.
If you've ever needed to create a business form on the fly. you may want to take a look at Instant Forms. This program offers a library of standard business forms including credit and debit memos, fax messages, invoices, job estimates, packing lists, proposals, purchase orders, quotations, requests for quotation, sales orders, statements, and letterheads. Your company name and address can be placed at the lop of each form.
The program has 5¼- and 3½-inch floppies for hard drive installation. The documentation is clear, and the process is quick and easy. After installation, you can print a nine-page manual and a collection of sample forms. The well-written manual may not be needed because the program's online help is so good. Qume offers telephone technical support for the program.
The forms print in a bold, clean, Helvetica-like, sans-serif font, in well-chosen sizes ranging from 8 to 18 points. Your company name is printed in that font, but your entries on the forms are printed in a crisp 12-point Courier font.
To create an invoice, I entered the company name and address, selected the invoice option, and edited the various fields to fit my needs. The program has no mathematical capability, so you must enter totals yourself. The printed form is clean and uncluttered, with a strong, business-like appearance.
To my mind, Qume need not have bothered with the letterhead form. Your header prints in the upper left corner, rather than being centered, and, in typing the letter, you have none of the aids that any good word processor offers. Unless you don't have a word processor, it's unlikely that you'll use the letterhead form.
Aside from that, the program offers an attractive alternative to maintaining stocks of preprinted forms for your business. It doesn't allow for fancy logos or icons, but it quickly and easily prints strong, clean forms.
IBM PC and compatibles—$44.95 (Instant Presentations); $44.95 (Instant Forms)
QUMATIC INSTANT BUSINESS SOFTWARE
500 Yosemite Dr.
Milpitas, CA 95035-9797