Review : MacLink Plus 13

Another step toward making Mac OS X usable for everyday operations

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: DataViz

Price: $99.95

The Good

  • Tidy, Aqua interface; extremely easy to use; comprehensive translation capabilities.

The Bad

  • Integration with OS not as tight as previous releases; suffers from OS X performance problems.
As one of the most venerable utilities on the Mac platform, MacLink Plus commands a large base of users who rely on the software to translate documents created Microsoft Office and other applications, as well as across platforms. Thus, when DataViz introduced MacLink Plus 13 for Mac OS X, it rendered another step toward making Apple's modern operating system usable for everyday operations.

Fortunately, DataViz has done an excellent job of taking a successful Classic application and adapting it to Mac OS X. The simple interface manages to display lots of relevant information about a document (or several documents for that matter), without cluttering the screen with multiple windows or requiring users to run through extraneous menus and dialog boxes to access functions.

For instance, there is a "More Info" box in the bottom corner of MacLink's main window that provides instant access to properties regarding a given document, as well as tips for handling the translation. Likewise, there is clearly visible information about the file's type, creator, creation date, and size.

To translate documents, users simply drag and drop to the main interface window, which lists all of the current files in an organized list. Once files are contained in this window, they can be translated to different formats and saved to pre-set or custom locations. You can also set the creator and type for a document through the "File" menu.

In terms of translatation capabilities, MacLink Plus is as comprehensive as they come. The tool sports support for dozens of application file types, including ClarisWorks, Word, WordPerfect, Nisus, FrameMaker, MS Works, Excel, and more. There is also support for generic text and rich text formats.

DataViz took customization seriously when they built the OS X-compatible version of MacLink Plus, allowing users to specify settings for individual application types, as well as preferences for destination folders, and file naming. For example, users can choose to save a file in DOS 8.3 file names or Windows 95 long file names when working with PC documents. Users can also specify whether or not to add an application identifier, e.g TextDocument (Word 98), to file names.

Unfortunately, MacLink Plus 13 does not offer the tight integration with Mac OS X that previous versions offer with the Classic Mac OS. MacLink Plus 12 combined with OS 8 or above allowed users to translate documents simply by using the control-click access contextual menu commands. There is no such comparable function in the OS X flavor of MacLink Plus.

Performance is sufficient in MacLink Plus 13, although it falls victim to the slow menu re-draws, long launch time, and window opening stagger problems that plague most Carbonized apps. DataViz officials tell MacNN that some of these issues should be resolved when Apple releases Mac OS X 10.1 this Fall.

The street price for MacLinkPlus Deluxe is $99.95. The upgrade price from any previous version of MacLinkPlus, including versions that came free with Mac OS 7.5, 8.0 and 8.1, is $39.95 and available direct from DataViz. Those who have purchased MacLinkPlus Deluxe within 90 days of the release of MacLinkPlus Deluxe 13 can contact DataViz for discounted upgrade pricing.