More Suggestions to Improve AppleWorks

2002 – I had a couple more thoughts plus some email regarding my comments about AppleWorks last week, and thought I’d share them with you.

When AppleWorks 6 was first introduced, it was buggy, slow, and lacked features that had been incorporated into AppleWorks 5 and sometimes even ClarisWorks 4. However, Apple came up with an update some months later that fixed most of the problems. This update is called 6.1.2 for Mac OS 8.x to 9.x users, and 6.2.2 for OS X users. The updater is located on the support page for AppleWorks on Apple’s website.

Reader David Deckert points out that the updater supplies MacLink Plus translators for the various flavors of Microsoft Word up through X and XP. My copy wasn’t working right because of a clean System install that had left the translation software in the old System Folder. Fixing this problem is described in Apple Knowledge Base Document 88150. [You can use Clean-Install Assistant to avoid problems like this.]

That doesn’t address my point about there being reciprocal translators for AppleWorks within Word, but it does help me move one more step away from Office. Thanks, David!

Another point I forgot to make was that the built-in spell checker doesn’t know the brand names for Apple products; it doesn’t recognize iMac, iBook, and so on. It even tries to separate AppleWorks into two words.

Several readers said they liked the responsiveness and cleaner interface seen with the earlier AppleWorks 5 or ClarisWorks 4, which are nearly identical. They are certainly able to do nearly the same tasks (with a few exceptions) that the newer versions do and will run on older machines such as Quadras and 68K PowerBooks. When I check out older machines for students to use at home, that’s what I put on them.

Also, I had to help students with inserting graphics into the word processor documents that are part of their current lab experiment write-up. To capture a picture of a screen segment (not the entire screen) press Control-Cmd-Shift-4 and then drag a rectangle around the part you want to capture using the plus-sign cursor that appears. Then, while in AppleWorks, make sure the arrow tool is selected in the toolbar and paste your picture in as a floating picture. This kind of object can have text wrap around it. If the Text tool is selected when you paste, you get an inline graphic, which moves along with the text as you edit (better) but text cannot flow around it (worse).

Keep your fingers crossed. Maybe the next project over at Apple is revamping AppleWorks and making it more in the style of the other software products currently shipping from Cupertino.

Keywords: #appleworks

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