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Quick View Plus 10

By Kim Plonsky

January/February 2009 Table of Contents


I have to admit that the latest release of a desktop file-­viewing utility sounded a bit less than exciting, if not superfluous. My first thought was, “who would need that today?” Most legal professionals are armed to the teeth with the latest software to do just about any task, and file incompatibility problems are less of an issue (though still problematic, and at times cripplingly so).

The longevity and steady evolution over the years of Quick View Plus, by Avanstar, Inc., evidences the market demand for such products, however. Debuting in 1996 as an after-market add-on to Windows 95 that sold for under $100, Quick View Plus 10 was released in August 2008.

QVP’s core feature is the ability to view files in more than 300 Windows, Macintosh, Internet and DOS file formats. Simply click on the name of just about any file, and it’s almost instantly displayed in a side or bottom viewing pane, precisely as if it were opened in the program that created it, since QVP retains all formatting. Text, spreadsheets, databases, presentations and graphics viewed in QVP are eye-pleasingly sharp and crisp. Improvements include support for Windows Vista, Microsoft Word 2007, Corel WordPerfect X3 and Microsoft Outlook Form Templates.

Downloading and installing QVP, much like the program itself, is quick and simple. There is no user manual needed, primarily due to its seamless integration with Microsoft Windows. The Graphic User Interface is immediately familiar, not overly complicated, and easy to use. Within minutes of browsing my hard drive and home network, I had the answer to the question, “who would need that today?” — everyone.

I soon discovered that QVP is particularly suited for legal professionals, solving a host of needs. Primarily marketed as a tool for viewing, copying and printing just about any file, QVP shines even when file incompatibility isn’t an issue. Opening e-mail attachments these days is a risky proposition (what with viruses, worms and malicious macros), regardless of having the latest antivirus programs and spam filters in place. Even with safe e-mail attachments, opening software programs (to view sometimes a single file) is an unnecessary waste of time, burdens PC system resources, and usually requires the recipient to not only have a license to one of any number of specialty or legacy software programs, but often the correct program version.

Because QVP integrates with popular e-mail clients, Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora and Lotus Notes users have the option to open only e-mail attachments they choose, saving time and increasing productivity. What’s more, files can be printed in QVP without having to be opened or even viewed first (Quick Print, accessible upon right-click of any file name), a feature I was particularly pleased to find. The ability to copy and paste from within a viewed file was a similarly nice surprise. The combination of these features alone makes QVP a powerful tool for legal professionals, and practically a necessity. QVP has been proven to be an amazing tool for forensic PC examination, saving thousands of dollars in software costs. With QVP, businesses are able to keep software expenses to a minimum (i.e., down to just the programs they actually need and use).

Finding the right document or other data file on your PC never has been easier or faster, since most file content is only a mouse-click away. Text documents can be viewed in Draft, Normal or Preview mode, and likewise other types of files have minor viewing options. A special toolbar is provided as a quick launch pad for programs that reside on your PC. In fact, with QVP, you can preview files before opening them in any program that uses the Windows “File Open” dialog box. For example, in Word, you are at the Open File dialog box, and see your list of files. Simply right-click on the name of a file and choose Quick View Plus — it’s that easy. No more opening and then closing files, which gets confusing and clutters up your recent documents history (further confusing things, if you are not careful).

Though full-text searches are available for text files, searching text in multiple folders isn’t an option. This is unfortunate, in my view, and really one of the biggest obstacles to doing away with the need for Windows Explorer altogether. Files can be sent as attachments to an e-mail, directly from within QVP (although, under Vista, the User Account Controls mean an extra step). With QVP’s Quick Compress feature, zip files easily are created or populated from any file being viewed.

Web browser integration also is an option, including Internet Explorer, Netscape and Mozilla Firefox, to permit viewing of foreign file formats within those programs (outside of QVP). QVP integrates with versions of Adobe Acrobat through Version 8. It also can view Acrobat files without the use of Acrobat.

If, like me, you dismissed QVP out of hand, you might want to think again. Sure, many specialty programs offer free viewers for download (PowerPoint, RealLegal E-Transcript Viewer for depositions, and even Word, to name a few), but when was the last time you had one of those installed before you needed it? Even as a freelancer, when a program has this much to offer for less than $50, I have one thing to say: Sold!  



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