AppleWorks and the Intel Mac

Reader Ernest Arvanitis is concerned about using old software with a new computer. He writes:

I have an iBook with many spreadsheets and databases created with AppleWorks. I would like to upgrade from my iBook to a MacBook Pro. [According to someone I spoke with at a local Apple Store], AppleWorks is incompatible with MacBook Pro. My questions are: (1) What software can I use on a MacBook Pro for my spreadsheets, etc. (2) or must I recreate all my AppleWorks files, and, if so, with what software?

Let’s first clear up a little confusion. AppleWorks works perfectly well on an Intel Mac—and that includes your future MacBook Pro. While no Universal edition exists (or is likely to), AppleWorks 6.2.9 runs fine under Apple’s PowerPC emulation software, Rosetta. AppleWorks isn’t bundled with Intel Macs but you already have a copy on your iBook. Just copy the AppleWorks 6 folder from your iBook to the MacBook Pro and you’re in business.

All that said, the writing has been on the wall so long that it’s nearly faded from sight. From every indication, AppleWorks was long ago abandoned by Apple. And because of its orphan state, those who depend on it might want to begin making plans for a replacement.

Spreadsheets aren’t a problem as AppleWorks can save its spreadsheets in a format compatible with Microsoft Excel. While you can then work with these documents in Excel, you can also use another application that’s compatible with Excel— Mariner Software’s $50 Calc and ThinkFree’s $50 Office, for example.

Databases are tougher as there isn’t a clean way to directly import an AppleWorks database directly into FileMaker Pro. Instead you have to export the database as tab-delimited text, pull the data into a FileMaker document, and spend a fair (or unfair, I suppose) amount of time cleaning it up.

I’m the first to admit ignorance of all-things-database so if others have suggestions for dealing with AppleWorks databases, please put the comments link to good use.

Subscribe to the Best of Macworld Newsletter

Comments