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ACT! 2000 is about to be released, and I’m sure it will improve on ACT! 4, but I’ve been using ACT! since the 2.0 days, and 4.0 is a terrific release. For those of you who are not familiar with ACT!, it is a contact database designed for people who need to be in contact with a large number of people and need to keep track of those contacts. For anyone in Sales, Customer Service, or similar areas (such as a consultant), a program like this will provide for huge improvements in time management over paper based systems.
The primary field is the contact field, in which you enter such information as contact name, company, address, phone and fax number, email address, etc. There are also tabbed fields on the lower half of the display for notes/history (for keeping track of what you have done..a large portion of it is automated), activities (keeps track of what you have planned for this contact), user fields (for organizations where multiple users use the database), groups (for grouping as appropriate, I group for promo areas, mailing list, current status, etc.) phone/home (mobile, home number and address, spouse’s name), Alt Contacts (assistant, etc.), and status.
From the primary field you can also bring up a daily, weekly or monthly calendar, which show all activities, or you can filter to show the activities you prefer. To-do lists, phone lists, activity lists, etc. are all easily accessed and referred to. The biggest strength of ACT! is the way it links to Word, WordPerfect, WinFax Pro, or Windows own Fax function, and various email programs. It is easy to create a “personalized” form letter or fax which you can send out via mail-merge or individual event, as an email, a letter or a fax. As an example, to publicize a seminar we have coming up, I recently sent out 120 emails and 217 faxes from the computer overnight. I wrote one document, with specific fields set up to be inserted in the correct places (like salutation, company name, nickname, etc.) set up the appropriate mail-merge operation and ACT!, along with WinFax Pro and my email program did the rest.When I need to write a fax to a client, I go to their contact page, choose write fax, fill in the body only, and then choose “Fax using ACT!”. Talk about saving time!
Of course, alarms and priorities are part of the system, as well as the ability to use ACT! as your dialer. Everything is customizable, including every field on every tab and the contact field, colors, precise setup of calendars, reports, etc. Having used ACT! for 5 years and ACT! 4.0 for the last year, I recommend this software for those of you who need this type of program without reservation. It is a great time saver.
Submitted by: Al