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Convert AppleWorks documents to .rtf

Reader E.S., like many longtime Mac users, has documents in an older format that he’d like to use with newer applications. He writes:

I have several thousand AppleWorks files that I want to transfer to use on my new iMac. Not being a true techie, what is the easiest way to transfer my AppleWorks files to .rtf files for easy use with Pages?

E.S., I’d like to use your question to teach a broader concept. And that concept is this:

When seeking solutions for opening Document X, with Application Y, it’s always a good idea to Right (Control) click on Document X, choose Open With from the contextual menu, and take a gander at what appears in the submenu. It’s possible (though not assured) that one of the applications that appears there will open your document.

In your case, when you Right-click on a word processing file created with AppleWorks (a document that ends with the .cwk extension) you’ll see that Pages is one of the options. Choose Pages and, sure enough, that application launches and converts your AppleWorks document to a .rtf file, complete with the document’s original formatting. Similarly, AppleWorks’ spreadsheet documents can be opened with iWork’s Numbers application.

AppleWorks’ database files are the most dead-end-ish of the lot in that there’s no application that will directly open them and maintain their fields. Instead, you have to save these files as ASCII text, at which point you can import them into Excel or Numbers where, possibly, you'll need to create column headings for the data. You can also import this data into Filemaker, but you’ll have to recreate the layout.

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