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Mention AppleWorks, as I did last week, and the floodgates of e-mail open, unleashing questions and comments. Let’s address some of them now:

Reader Keith Nealy writes:

[You recommended converting AppleWorks files with Pages] …and if you don’t have Pages? Is there no solution other than Pages?

AppleWorks still works on modern Macs, so if you have a copy, you can open your files in AppleWorks and save them as Rich Text or Word files. If you don’t have a copy of AppleWorks any longer or would prefer to batch convert loads of documents at one go, there are a couple of utilities you could use.

One is Panergy’s $20 OneClickConvert. It can convert AppleWorks (versions 5 and 6) word processor documents (as well as Word version 2, 4, 5,6, 7 ,97, 98, 2000, 2001, XP, 2003, 2004 documents), and NisusWriter (versions 3, 4, 5, 6, and 6.5) documents. Also, the grand-daddy of file conversion utilities lives on in the form of DataViz’s $80 MacLinkPlus Deluxe.

Yash Holbrook has some even older files.

I don’t have Pages, but I do have a ton of MacWrite II and MacWrite Pro files. How do I convert them into text files?

MacLink Plus Deluxe will convert those files too. If you have a copy of AppleWorks (or ClarisWorks, that you can run in the Classic environment, presuming you have a PowerPC Mac running Tiger or earlier) try opening these files with it. Or, you can open these files with TextEdit. You’ll get some garbage along with the text, but the bulk of it is at the beginning and end of the document and so can be easily dealt with.

Jeff Morgan is interested in AppleWorks’ artistic talents:

What about opening (or converting) Appleworks Draw documents? Pages doesn’t do the trick.

No, but Dekorra Optics’ $95 (download price) EazyDraw 3.0 does. EazyDraw supports a lot of older file formats including MacDraw, MacDrawPro, Claris Draw, and AppleWorks. (And it's a darned-fine draw application to boot!) If you need it for only as long as the time it takes to convert your files to another format, you can purchase a nine month license for just $20.

And finally, a slew of comments that ran along these lines:

But AppleWorks runs perfectly well on my Mac. Why should I stop using it?

When it comes to the death of AppleWorks, if you’ve failed to notice the words chiseled into the wall, allow me to repeat them here: The End is Nigh!!

AppleWorks was abandoned in the last millennium and it ain’t coming back. We’ve had a good ride, but that ride—in the form of Snow Leopard—is probably over. If you want to stick with an older Mac running an older version of the Mac OS simply to run AppleWorks, fine by me. But if you anticipate moving with the times, it’s time to think seriously about alternatives to AppleWorks. iWork ’09 includes perfectly fine word processing and spreadsheet applications. Bento 2 is an easy-to-use database. EazyDraw’s got your drawing needs covered. For simple painting, Soggy Waffles’ free Paintbrush is a nice little app.

I’m as big a fan of AppleWorks’ flexibility as the next guy, but it’s time to think about moving on.

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