2. WORD PROCESSING
4. SPREADSHEET, PRESENTATION
6. FILEMAKER PRO
STOP PRESS: OSX 'LION' AND 'MOUNTAIN LION' WILL NOT RUN APPLEWORKS. DO NOT
UPGRADE WITHOUT TAKING APPROPRIATE ACTION.
What is Appleworks?
ClarisWorks, is an office program which
was bundled with new Macs from the early 1990s until the move to Intel
Macs. It was also available for purchase separately, and was not
particularly expensive. It has a number of modules: Word Processing,
Draw, Paint, Database, Spreadsheet, and originally a Terminal
application (dating back the the pre-internet days when one would log
directly into remote computers over the phone line) which was later
a Presentation module.
It's a remarkable
piece of programming: a reasonable size, and quite
fast, but also very powerful and flexible. Each module stands up well
on its own (though the Paint module is now well outdated) but they can
also integrate well, allowing you for example to copy fields out from a
database into a Word Processing document while retaining text
formatting, or copy objects from a Draw document into a Word Processing
Unless you need advanced Word Processing capabilities - for example if
you are writing a textbook and need footnotes and indexing - the Word
Processing module is likely to fill all your needs: you can also add
draw objects and pictures to it in a far easier and controlled manner
than many other word processors. You can have text boxes (which can be
linked to carry the text from one to the next), wrap body text round
draw objects, and have multiple columns, headers and footers, spell
checking, and word count.
The Draw module is in effect the same as the Word Processing module
without the word processing layer: it's possible to do complex
magazine-style layouts or involved technical drawings with relative
The Database has an easy to understand graphical format, and can have
multiple layouts, field formats including date, number and calculation,
and do complex searches.
The Spreadsheet module is not as powerful as Excel, but has a good
range of calculation functions: spreadsheet frames can be embedded in
Draw or Word Processing documents while retaining calculation abilities.
Why abandon it?
Why would anyone want to abandon such a useful program? It does have a
few faults - its display of small font sizes is unsatisfactory as it
can't take advantage of OSX font smoothing, and attempts to use Unicode
input will crash it; but it's still capable of more than almost any
other single program.
However it's a very old piece of programming, originally intended for
OS7 and up, and later reworked for OSX. It can't run directly on Intel
Macs, and requires Rosetta
(in effect a PPC emulator
built into OSX). I
understand that for technical and practical reasons it's not possible
to upgrade the coding: and it has been officially 'end-of-lifed' by
Apple: it's no longer sold by them, nor is it supported. So far it
works fine on Snow Leopard on Intel Macs (though a couple of quite
minor bugs have emerged): but OSX Lion, recently released, does not support
Rosetta and so it's impossible to run Appleworks on it.
However it's worth emphasising that it's not going
to stop working suddenly
on its own: it will only happen if you
your System or machine to a version which won't support it.
For people with a long-standing investment in it the prospect of its
possible demise is extremely annoying. In some
cases it is possible to open Appleworks documents in other programs:
but in others it isn't, and it will be necessary to do any
conversions before making changes which may disable Appleworks.
To summarize the position:
- Word Processing documents can be opened directly only in Pages (AppleWorks 6 only).
- Draw Documents can be opened directly only in EazyDraw (the more
expensive version from their website, not the cheaper one from the Mac
App Store, and you will need v4.0 'Retro' not the most recent version) or Intaglio (though this appears not to be able to handle very complex drawings).
- Spreadsheets can be opened directly only in Numbers.
- Presentations can be opened directly only in Keynote.
To use other programs, or open Painting or Database documents at all,
you must export from AppleWorks first. Therefore it is important not to wait to
migrate your documents until you have made an upgrade which has broken
However, I repeat that this can only happen if
you yourself apply an upgrade: AppleWorks will continue to work fine on
If you have upgraded to Lion/Mountain Lion and have AppleWorks
documents you cannot open, then you should be able to install Snow
Leopard on an external hard disk and start from that (provided
that the Mac did not come with anything higher than Snow Leopard
originally installed); and success has been reported in running Snow
Leopard under emulation in Parallels - the method is described here
it seems complex; however Snow Leopard Server is available in the Apple
Store (by telephone) at a reduced price (at the time of writing) and
this makes the process a lot easier. I haven't tried either method: use
at your own discretion. You can then run AppleWorks as an emergency
Subsequent pages in this essay
will examine possible alternatives to the various modules in more
The next page
the Word Processing module.