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Software Review-Axium

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What You SeeOpen Axium Budgeting and you’ll go gaga over the graphics. No other budgeting program jams the screen with so much information. And nothing has Axium’s good looks and deliciously eye-easy colors.But there’s lots more here than just another pretty face. Setting up (and using) most of Axium’s helpers—from Globals to Fringes, Macros to Libraries—can be as simple as a keystroke or as close as a mouse-click.The program begins with four windows, each completely resizable. To the left are details from a wide range of budget info. Setting them up and selecting items to use is delightfully intuitive and very effective. On the lower-left of the screen is a recap of the budget and a graphical overview.What You GetA very big bang for your buck.The budget comes in five easy layers with quick access to the TopSheet, Category and Account levels. Another level (called Sub-Account) is just what the name explains. Unfortunately, Details are treated like junior Accounts, making navigation confusing until you get used to working with the program.View any level or choose the Continuous View to get instant access to every bit of the budget. It’s so nice it should become an industry standard.What’s GoodThe shift between creating and using info like Globals and Fringes is almost seamless. This is the way major budgeting programs should work.Data Sets (identical to Movie Magic’s Subgroups and ProductionPro’s SubBudgets) are more flexible and accessible (and useful) than ever before.Notes and assumptions can be tacked on to every budget item at every level (but oddly not on items like Fringes or Globals). Close. No cigar.Globals and Fringes can be organized into Tabs and Folders for incredibly easy access. And a whole folder full of fringes can be applied with a single click of the mouse.Did I mention that the printout is gorgeous? And almost endlessly adaptable? And easily configurable? And so wonderfully logical that it makes you want to drop to your knees in gratitude. Yeah, it’s that good.What’s NegativePop-up Tool Tips are useless, merely taunting the user with unfilled potential. There is no context-sensitive help. The manual explains how to use functions, but rarely tells why.What you see is what you get. There are no skins to remake the interface, no toolbars to add, nor spare commands to include.That’s all relatively minor.On the major front, none of the info windows can be added or deleted. You’re stuck with the defaults, even though some are less than useful. Others, like the Library or macro keys, might become essential if they were more readily available.There’s no mouse-able navigation. Key strokes work just fine to move around the budget, but there’s nothing to use when your hands (and brain) are on the mouse.A BonusUsers of Movie Magic can import their old MM budgets into Axium Budgeting. Better still, they can export their Axium budgets as MM files. There are some caveats to the process, but the simple fact that it can be done at all is amazingly good news.Who It’s ForAxium is best if you want a serious budgeting program. There’s a steep learning curve and scads of typical v1.0 problems. But if you’re breaking away from paper and pencil, or growing out of spreadsheet functionality, this is a major budgeting program and well worth the effort.Buy now, so you’re ready for v2.0. Based on this version, the next round has the potential to be a marketplace killer.

Written by Norman Berns

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