ACT! 2000

"Now Integrated with Dale Carnegie Techniques"

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The new version of Symantec's contact-mangement package, ACT! 2000, provides new sales opportunity tracking, better Web integration, and expert sales tips. It is ideal for small sales forces and small business owners who want a rolodex, calendar, graph maker, and personal assistant all in one package, but it also includes many high-end features such as sales forecasting, multi-tier account management, extensive customization, and tight Graph OptionsMicrosoft Outlook integration. It is easy to use and contains the same familiar format as other versions, with a variety of step-by-step wizards to lead you through many functions. Each contact in ACT! has a record in the database, and its built-in fields all pertain to contact information such as name, title, phone number, and e-mail address. In addition ACT! has a build-in word processor so that you can write letters and reports; an e-mail module for sending and receiving electronic correspondence; a note/history module for any relevant notes and history of all e-mail, phone calls or changes to a contact record; and a calendar/scheduling module for making and tracking appointments and other activities. Price: $199.95; Upgrade is $99.95.


ACT! 2000 is appropriate for all level users. With its user-friendly interface, it is perfect for beginners. It comes with pre-defined fields and pre-built layouts and includes a multimedia training module from ViaGrafix that make it useable right out of the box for novices. But its powerful features also make it appealing for intermediate and advanced users. Almost every aspect of the program, from database structure, fields, sorting, lookups, reports, and toolbars can be customized or the needs of intermediate and advanced users.


  • Sales/Opportunity Tab--Forecast and track sales opportunity as you move through the stages of the sales cycle and use the Dale Carnegie sales methodology.
  • Automated Database Maintenance--Reminds you when its time to perform database maintenance to keep your database running at its optimum.
  • Integrated, Zipped Backup--With ACT! 2000, attached e-mail messages, documents, SideACT! data, and templates are also backed up.
  • Create Subgroups--Create subgroups within accounts to reflect the structure of the organization.
  • Manage Activities for Entire Accounts--Use new account management features to effectively manage a group of contacts in the same company.
  • Group Membership Rules--Allows you to set up a system to automatically put a contact name into a Group or Subgroup, based on a defined set of rules.
  • Custom Queries & Keyword Search--Keyword search looks through the entire database to find the contact and other information you need.
  • Instant Lookups--Instantly find information on any contact or group by performing a lookup on any field. You can choose to lookup a filed that is either blank or non-blank.
  • Linked Drop-Down Lists--Lets tow or more fields share a drop-down list.
  • Automatic Population of Drop-Down Lists--New entries are automatically "memorized" and added to the drop down list.
  • Fully Customizable Icon Bar and Menus--Now you can choose to view the icon bar on the side or bottom with large or small icons.
  • Better Microsoft Outlook Integration--Provides tight integration with Microsoft Outlook in general and its calendars.
  • Day, Week, and Month Calendars--Manage every day more efficiently by viewing your calendar by the day, week or month. Several multi-day activity banners now "stack" for easy viewing and printing.
  • Activity Series--Predefine a series of activities and automatically schedule the steps of the series with your contacts in your calendar. Schedule the series based on a start date or a due date.
  • Activity Details--Details on activities allow for up to 32K of text to be associated with an activity. Details appear on task list, calendars and reports when printed.
  • Improved E-mail Management--Improved management of folders in e-mail. You can manage remote mail and access rules wizard from within ACT! Also you can view HMTL messages; click on contacts e-mail address to send an e-mail; and sort any column in an e-mail folder.
  • Sales Reports--Generate informative and visually appealing sales graphs to easily show the sales funnel and closed sales. Choose to graph whatever time period and contacts or groups you wish.Funnel Graph
  • Sales Graphics and Sales Funnel Graph--Quickly print or view sales information with 10 predefined sales reports based on the Sale/Opportunity information.
  • Two-way Merging of Database Changes (Synchronization)--With ACT! 2000 Synchronization is faster and provides the ability to preserve prior synchronization packets.
  • Synchronize Data with Mobile Users--ACT! 2000 has better handling of record deletion.
  • FoneSync--Use the included software to transfer up to 250 names and numbers to a digital phone.
  • Quicken ExpensAble--Enter expenses right into Quicken ExpensAble (trial version of ExpensAble included).
  • Area Codes--Update the area codes in your ACT! 200- contact database through the Internet Link to Hot Data's free ACT! Area Code Updater.

ACT! 2000 has many features, and it would be difficult to describe them all here. This review will discuss the new elements. For an in-depth review of ACT! in general and what you can do with the program, see our review of ACT! 4.

Installation--Installation is fast and easy. When you first launch ACT! after installing it, you are presented with a QuickStart Wizard that walks you through the process of setting up ACT! to insure that your system is correctly configured for ACT! You select a word processing program, fax software, and an e-mail system.

Interface--The interface is user-friendly and has many features that can be customized. There is a new Bar that allows you to easily navigate through the different views. You can right-click on the InterfaceBar to change the view from large to small icons or choose to view the Large View Bar on the left or a Mini View Bar at the bottom of the window. A new toolbar with tools and icons for options included in the menus runs along the top of the window. You can choose from 10 templates or easily create your own for a personalized workspace. Data entry is a snap. New entries are automatically "memorized" and result in automatic population of drop-down lists. Type-ahead makes it easy to choose the right names from the drop-down lists and saves time and effort and ensures that data is entered consistency.

Improved Lookups--The lookup feature has been improved. You can use a keyword search or a lookup. With the keyword search, you can filter your search to look in the Sales/Opportunities tab, Note/History tab, or Activities tab. The keyword search can also be used to find a word or a phrase in a single contact record or in a group. You can now do a lookup on more fields. Also added is the ability to perform a lookup by empty or non-empty data fields.

Sales Process--You can find all sales information relating to a contact or group in the Sales/Opportunities tab. Opportunities, closed/won sales, and lost sales can be found in this tab. Sales OpportunityThe tab also has filters so you can choose which important items you want to Filterdisplay. It is easy to enter data. To enter a new opportunity, enter the product, pricing and quantity information, the probability (%) of completing the sale, and the sales stage. The default stages are those used in the Dale Carnegie Sales Advantage Training. The stages can be edited in order to suit the unique requirements in each user's sales cycle. You can also enter additional information about the main competitor and any other detail. You can update the information as the opportunity moves through the stages of the sales process. When the transaction is complete, you fill in the result and the reason.

Dale Carnegie Sales Process--ACT! 2000 includes content from Dale Carnegie describing the phases of developing a long-term, profitable relationship with you customers. You can easily create a graphic funnel. Using the 11-stage Sales Development Cycle co-developed by Symantec and Dale Carnegie, you can track sales opportunities through this sales funnel. At a glance you know where each sales opportunity is in the Sales Development cycle, as well as forecasted revenue and close dates and probability of closure. You can link directly, from ACT!, to the Dale Carnegie web site to obtain additional information regarding the Sales Development Cycle, including sales coaching tips. Sales Reporting

Sales Reporting--Sales reports are easy to create. ACT! 2000 comes with several predefined reports that can be used "as is" or customized to meet your specific needs. You can choose: Sales Totals by Status; Sales Totals with Probability; Sales List; Sales Funnel Report; Sales by Record Manager; Sales by Contact; Sales Graph; and Sales Funnel.

Sales Graphs--ACT! 2000 provides a variety of options for graphs. You can specify what will be graphed and whether to include data from all contacts or from Funnel Optionsselected contacts. A graph can be made for current contact, current lookup or all contacts, as well as graph sales opportunities, forecasted sales or closed/won sales. A choice of bar graph, line graph, or 3D or 2D is available. You can also customize your graph. Once the graph is created, a bitmap image of the graph can be saved as a graphics file or you can copy it to the Windows clipboard for use in another document or presentation. You can also print it.

Account Management--The new Account Management features help you effectively manage a group of contacts in the same company. It is possible to create subgroups within accounts or groups in order to organize the date in a way that reflects the structure of an account or organization and view all information in one place. The tree view of the groups and subgroups lets you easily navigate through their accounts and view only the subgroups you want. It is easy to drag and drop contacts into groups or subgroups. New account layout view adds fields that are company or account specific. Filtering options lets you see just the information you want to see. You can create and view activities, Notes/History for entire groups or subgroups.Group Membership Rules

Group Membership Rules--The Group Membership Rules allow you to set up a system to automatically put a contact name into a group or subgroup, based on a defined set of rules. You can define the rules based on one or two fields or based on association with a saved query. The Group Membership Rules Wizard is very easy to use and leads you step by step through the process.

Group ReportsGroup Reports--ACT! 2000 have three different reports to choose from to manage your accounts. The three choices are: group Membership; Group Summary; and Group Comprehensive.

Activity Series--ACT! 2000 has automated scheduling of a frequently occurring Activity Seriesmulti-step process, by allowing you to create and save the series of activities. Once an activity series is defined, you can easily schedule these activities in a single action. Again, there is an easy to use Activity Series Wizard to walk you step by step through the process and make it painless.

Internet Links--Use the Internet links to update your contact information such as contact names or e-mail addresses; get driving directions; and company news.

Calendar Improvements--There are also calendar improvements: now banners for scheduled activities stack on top of each other; the magnifying glass icon shows that an activity has a detail associated with it; and details on activities allow for up to 32K of text to be associated with an activity.


PC Cafe has used Symantec's ACT software since its inception and find it invaluable. The new version of ACT! 2000 has features that make it a worthwhile upgrade. I like the new Bar that displays along the left or the bottom. It does make it easier to navigate through the different views. The new toolbar also is a nice feature. I use the new Account Manager to separate different contacts at a company and to separate the Public Relations firm. With the Group Membership Rules, I can automatically separate our contacts into groups depending on whether they relate to software, books, services, or hardware. I also can keep track of what has been ordered, received, and reviewed.

Processor: PC with 80486/66 MHz or higher; Pentium 133 MHz or higher recommended;
Memory: 16 MB of RAM: 32 MB of RAM recommended;
Hard Disk: minimum 50 MB of free hard disk space;
Drive: CD ROM drive;
Display: VGA or higher resolution monitor;
Modem: Windows compatible modem required for auto-dialing or modem-based synchronization;
Electronic Mail Support: Lotus cc:Mail, Lotus ccMail Mobile, Lotus Notes Mail 4.6 or later, Microsoft Outlook 98, Microsoft Outlook 2000, Eudora Pro, and Internet e-mail (SMTP/POP3); ACT! 2000 also has a built in POP3 e-mail client that can be used for Internet e-mail;
Networks Supported: Novell NetWare version 3.12 or later, Microsoft NT 4.0 and Windows 95/98;
Word Processor Support: Microsoft Word 95, Word 97 and Word 2000; ACT! 2000 also has a built-in word processor;
Fax Support: WinFax Pro 8.03 or later and Microsoft Fax;
Microsoft TAPI-enabled phone hardware and Caller ID support to auto-find contacts.


Graphics: Adobe ImageStyler 1.0 & DeMorgan WebSpice 1,000,000 Page Design Edition
Web Page Editor: Macromedia Dreamweaver 3.0