|★ APPLICATIONS ★ BUREAUTIQUE ★ PROMERGE PLUS ★|
|Arnor - Promerge Plus|Popular Computing Weekly)||Applications Bureautique|
Arnor terminates text file turmoil
I may seem biased but there are lew Amstrad utilities that I have looked forward to as much as this extension to the excellent Protext word processor. The principal use of Promerge is to provide mail merge facilities, but Arnor has also taken the opportunity to improve the features offered for basic word processing. CPC owners have been a bit spoilt to date since both Tasword and New word, for example, have offered quite advanced conditional mail merge printing as standard. (This means that the text of the merge letter can be altered depending on the contents of the data supplied, for example, if phone number data is present, then print the block beginning "Please ring . . . ", etc).
Although it follows on the heels of both of these, hopefully Promerge will open up a new market of small business users for Arnor, especially since it always tries to go a bit further than the competition. First, Promerge is much more flexible than either of the above when it comes to reading data - it is likely that almost any program you own will able to send data in a form that can be understood.
Reformatting of the text is automatic at printing, which Tasword doesn't do, and there are some extra facilities - for example you can test substrings of data and even remove part of the data at printing; 'Mr A Smith' can be printed as "Dear Mr Smith".
Extensions to the word processor include many more embedded commands that can be placed into the text to ensure that chores such as setting up the printer drive can be completely automatic. Those with Epson compatible printers can now use microspace printing (variable text size and proportional spacing) and can now both edit and print text in a choice of six foreign languages (the special characters appear both on screen and on the page). Files can now be printed or viewed from disc without replacing the one in memory. There is also a typewriter mode for direct printing (useful for envelopes).
Finally Protext options can now be set from Basic so you can create a loader program on disc that configures the program exactly the way you want when it runs.
The disc and ROM versions are not identical; Promerge Plus on ROM offers even more than the disc, and also overcomes the restrictions on text size caused by loading both Protext and Promerge into RAM. Extra features include the ability to have two files in memory at once. Background printing of one file while another is being edited is also possible.
You can now more or copy blocks of text as defined 'boxes'or rectangles on screen (invaluable for tables of data or two column printing). There Is a decimal calculator that can insert values Into the text. Finally Protext can now automatically convert Ascii text files back to its own document type (replacing hard carriage returns with soft ones, etc) rather than just vice versa - feature that is enormously useful and, as far as I know, unique. CPC 6128 (or DKTronics Ram pack) owners can make use of the second memory bank such that the maximum text size is now 80K in two separate halves (blocks can be switched between them) which is about the same as the largest file that can be edited on a CF2 disc by Newword!
It must be said that to buy Protext/Promerge/Prospell on Rom, which is essential to get the full advantage of power and memory space, will cost you a good £100 plus, but together with a 6128 and a decent printer you will have a set-up that can thrash any 8-bit word processor for speed and even cross swords with some 16-bit programs for power. If only it ran on the PCW as well, but then since this is the last of their advertised releases who knows what Arnor will be up to next?
Tony Kendle , PopularComputingWeekly860515