Today I’d like to post about my favorite office suite which I still use up to this day, even though it has long since discontinued: Apple Works, formerly known as ClarisWorks. Apple had renamed the office suite after reintegrating its subsidiary Claris into Apple. If you’re interested in early days of ClarisWorks and how it all came about, check out this episode of the Mac Folklore Radio.
Apple Works 6 was originally released in 2002 and came as a carbonized application, which means it’ll run on Mac OS 9 as well, though I seem to remember that only the OS X version could apply all the latest updates.
Apple Works 6 features a colorful interface which is so much different from the “serious” greyish Microsoft Office style. Remember, those were the days when Apple was innovative! Apple Works 6 comes with a word processor, a drawing program, a painting program, a spreadsheet program and a database program. Basically, everything you and me will probably ever need.
And that was exactly what the makers had in mind when they developed it. You and me. There are not tons of functions that no real person is ever going to use as in other office suites. There is no cluttered interface. Apple Works 6 filled a gap in the office market, the gap between simple text editors and heavily overloaded suites like Microsoft Office.
I also find Apple Works 6 to work great on just any older PowerPC hardware, starting from old G3 computers. A while ago I had an iMac G3 in for repairs. It was a 400 Mhz model with 10.4.11 installed (what else?) and while Office 2004 took really long to boot up and wasn’t that responsive, Apple Works 6 worked like a charm.
What made me pick Apple Works 6 over Microsoft Office was compatibility with the popular Microsoft formats .doc (documents) and .xls (spreadsheet). So no problem opening files from friends and co-workers. I don’t think there is a way to open the new .docx files in Apple Works 6, unless someone wrote a hack or something. Anyone knowing anything about it?
Anyway, as I said in my introduction, Apple Works has been discontinued officially since August 2007. Apple failed to provide an adequate replacement with iWork and has yet to come up with a true successor. However, the official support website is still online.
I will continue to use Apple Works 6 for as long as my PowerPC Macs are running. I am no office suite geek. I just want a program that ‘works’ for me. Apple Works 6 does that.
If you care to take a look yourself, the Macintosh Garden has Apple Works 6 available in all different languages.