With the advent of VENTURA version 7, Corel had to re-write the application completely. By doing this, they brought out a version that was rich in the functionality of its predecessors but would suffer all the pains of a version one release. At the same time, Corel decided not to publish a full reference manual with the software but only a general guide to the basic features of the new version. Corel received a good deal of criticism for their strategy. This, coupled with the inevitable bugs and problems arising from the re-write, did not augur well for VENTURA 7. However, help was at hand. Soon after the first interim maintenance release, numbered 7.1443, Corel VENTURA(tm) 7: The Official Guide, was published by Osborne McGraw-Hill. It was written by three authors, Ed Brown, John Faunce and Carol Lovelady, who have, between them, over 30 years of experience with VENTURA. An outline of their backgrounds appears inside the front cover. Suffice to say, they are acknowledged experts who are well qualified to write a book such as this. Although the writing of the book was a team effort, the authors, in the introduction, have supplied the reader with details of who was responsible for each section of the book. This refreshing approach is continued throughout the 35 chapters and appendices. In addition, the authors have taken the brave step of supplying the reader with their e-mail addresses so that you can write to them with your comments or queries. Ed Brown has further demonstrated his commitment to the product and its support by setting up a Corel Forum at the Universal Thread web site. Here, he is attracting a growing community of VENTURA users who are not only receiving a high level of support from Ed but who are also providing valuable help to one another. This book has five major parts plus appendices. Part one, Getting Started with Corel VENTURA 7, contains an introduction to the Corel VENTURA 7 software suite and how to create your first document. In part two, Developing Your Documents, the authors take the themes introduced in part one and expand them. Advanced Topics are covered in part three. Here, I was particularly pleased to find a section, on Corel Database Publisher, written by Carol Lovelady. This is a part of the VENTURA suite that has been sadly overlooked in the past. It is a utility that enables you to take enormous amounts of data from one or more databases, organise and format the data to your specifications, and publish it to Corel VENTURA 7 and to the World Wide Web. Part four, Corel VENTURA in the Electronic World, covers publishing to HTML and the creation of CD-ROMs. This is followed, in part five, by Corel VENTURA 7 in the Real World. I am not sure if I am comfortable with the differentiation but this part of the book brings all the guidance in earlier chapters together in the description of various projects undertaken by the authors. These include a Budget Newsletter, a Scientific Paper, Maintaining Books, Creating Brochures, Creating a World Wide Web Page, and a further section on Advanced Customization with Corel SCRIPT which is initially introduced in the Advanced Topics section. The 140 pages of appendices seems to be a mix of reference material and material that could be easily covered elsewhere in the book. They are nonetheless valuable and cover the Utilities, Keyboard Shortcuts, Corel-supplied Scripts, Equation Editor, Table Commands, and VENTURA Text Codes, with final sections on Questions and Answers and Upgrading which are of particular value. I believe that the authors did not find it easy to write this book. To their credit, it has indeed been a team effort and that effort has brought together their unique skills and knowledge into an outstanding final product. Although the book is entirely cohesive, the individual styles of the authors can be spotted in the various sections for which they were responsible. I have to confess that I have got to know Ed Brown fairly well and I was interested to see if my perception of him was realised in the sections which he prepared. I am happy to report that the high standard of support and help that he has provided to his many friends, both privately and at the Universal Thread Web site, is reflected in this book. However, this does not minimise the significant and well-written contributions from John Faunce and Carol Lovelady. Each of the authors has managed to bring their unique and valuable skills to bear upon a complex product which continues to have the ability to please and infuriate its users in equal measure. Since this book was published, Corel have included, with the maintenance release 7.1465, a reference guide (over 600 pages) in various formats on the CD-ROM. This is, at long last, a valuable resource for VENTURA users. However, I highly recommend that all users of Corel VENTURA 7 supplement this resource by obtaining a copy of Corel VENTURA(tm) 7: The Official Guide. It is an excellent mix of reference and descriptive material that you will find yourself returning to, time and time again. I look forward to further books on VENTURA from Ed Brown and his colleagues.