The Active Network


Product: Vizact 2000
Company: Microsoft
Estimated Street Price: $149.00
Review By: Julien Jay


A few weeks after the release of Microsoft Office 2000, Microsoft has unveiled and released a new innovative product, named Microsoft Vizact 2000. This software is a part of the Microsoft Office 2000  line. Behind a strange name, Microsoft has made very innovative software that will activate any kind of documents. That is to say that it’ll transform your fixed data into animated DHTML files that can be viewed by everyone that has a browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or Netscape Communicator.

After I’ve inserting the CD, the Vizact setup started automatically. Good news: the setup is build around the Windows Installer technology so it’s really easy to install the software. The setup takes a few minutes to complete (a few components are customisable during the setup). At the end, the install wizard asks to restart the computer. Once it’s done, you’re ready to discover a new communication tool that’ll increase your marketing power.

The Features

Running Vizact 2k for the first time is a real pleasure! You’ll find the GUI of all the Microsoft Office 2k software and the same shortcut. so users won’t be disrupted. The GUI presents you a timeline toolbar, a left outlook like panel that shows different views to change settings or to start wizard. And sure a white right panel where you can create or modify your documents. As you the documents that Vizact produces contain animations you’ve got ‘VCR’ like buttons to play/pause or stop your animations. The TimeLine panel shows you all the objects of your current documents plus all the other events such as animations, and sounds that play in your document. The TimeLine is also useful to see and change the length of your objects and events.

With Vizact your best starting point is to launch a wizard to create a new document. The wizard will show you a few kinds of activated DHTML documents. Select one, choose your color set, and then click finish. Now you just have to replace the default texts by the one you’d like to type… Sure you can add your own pictures, frames and texts (there’s also a text box feature that allows you to put your text, exactly where you want!) or titles. In a few minutes you’ve built, with the help of Vizact 2000, an activated and animated professionally looking DHTML webpage that can be viewed by almost everyone. But you can also add sounds, movies, and you can apply, remove, and change animated effects to your texts or object! Vizact 2000 contains more than 40 special effects (such as elastic text, fade text, moving effects, bubble effect and much more!) For each one of these effects a little picture shows you what the effect is supposed to do before you decide to apply it. And to preview the result simply push the play button!

Vizact 2000 includes powerful text editing tools. It supports numbering and bullets. Like in MS Word you can show all the characters. Changing text color is a mouse click away with the “A” color button. As all advanced word processors software, Vizact allows you to center, justify, align left/right your text (but the toolbar doesn’t show a justify button you have to select it in the paragraph settings). It also supports paragraph styles. All the current text effects such as overline, strikethrough, underline, etc. are supported. You can even add a background color to your text. Search (but not search & replace) feature is also included! Positioning tools are also in Vizact so you can bring object in front, behind or in line with text.

Advanced Features

As Vizact is an HTML lighted editor you can add tables with specific animations or highlights… You can import sounds from Waves to MP3 files! As many users and corporate use video files to make their ideas more comprehensible you can add movies to your Vizact document from AVI files to MPEG video files. But we regret that users can’t add QuickTime movies. Streaming media is also supported. Vizact 2000 comes with more than 10 videos that can be previewed before adding them to your document.

But Vizact 2000 also comes with a lot of pictures that you can choose and preview directly from the Vizact components toolbox. It even has animated pictures! It’s so great to enhance and express easily your ideas through words and pictures! Vizact 2000 also includes the standard drawing tools in MS Office 2000 software with the latest release of MS Wordart. As other special effects you can add horizontal or vertical menus. A simple button push in your document will show this menu. A picture show feature will automatically associate your pictures with links in your document. A feature named interactive bullet allow users to add some text and when readers click on the bullet the text smoothly appear! So great! By the way you can add your own Internet links with the insert hyperlinks feature.

Weak Points

Through Vizact 2000 is an Office 2000 software, you can’t customize the toolbar and the menus (there’s no smart menus), there’s no interactive agent like in MS Word and finally the help is just an HTML one not an Office 2000 like one. We also regret that Vizact 2000 doesn’t support the Microsoft ClipArt Gallery ‘plug-in’ to add pictures to documents. But the biggest weak point is that you can’t directly import MS Word/Publisher files into Vizact 2000. You have to copy and paste their contents and sometimes you’ll see typo problems. Also Vizact doesn’t manage the enhanced clipboard that was introduced by Windows 98 and unveiled in Microsoft Office 2000. And the font list doesn’t show you a preview of each font. So we really hope that Vizact 2000 2 will correct all this glitches…

Final Comments

How It Grades
  Setup: 92%
Manual: 86%
Features: 85%
Cost: 84%
Ease of Use: 95%
Special Effects: 94%

Overall: 91%

For those of you who like to animate documents or who manage websites this software is definitely for you! It’s great, user friendly and it really produces high quality documents. Microsoft Vizact 2000 is available at an estimated retail price of 150 US $. You can download a preview release of Vizact 2000 here to make your own mind about this exciting software. But here at the Active Network we really appreciate this software and we were impressed by it. Once again, Microsoft has released on the market a new kind of innovative software even if it needs some enhancement, as this is the first release.

Note: Windows 2000 users must download a patch to use this software:


Specs & Package
Overall Score 91%
Version Reviewed Vizact 2000
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 CD
1 Manual
1 Quick Reference
The Good Points New Effects
Easy to Use
The Bad Points Customization
Similar To N/A
Reviewers PC Setup Pentium II 450
Windows 98 Second Edition
256 MB SD-Ram
Matrox G400 32MB AGP Graphics Card
DirectX 7a
SoundBlaster Live! Value
17" LG Electronics Monitor
PC Required Windows 95/98 NT/2000
Pentium 133 or Higher


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