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AppleWorks 6 for Mac OS X.
Developer(s) Bob Hearn and Scott Haldaway
Initial release 1985 (1985)
Stable release 6.2.9 (Mac OS X)/6.2.8 (Mac OS 8.1-9.2.2)/6.2.2 (Windows) / January 14, 2004
Development status Historic (August 15, 2007)
Operating system Mac OS X, Mac OS, Windows 2000 or later
Type Office Suite
License Proprietary
Website // - Appleworks Support

AppleWorks refers to two different office suite products, both of which are now discontinued. The first program known as AppleWorks was an integrated software package for the Apple II platform, released in 1984 by Apple Computer. The second program known as AppleWorks was a renamed version of ClarisWorks, a Mac and Windows office suite program originally created by the former Apple subsidiary Claris, which debuted in 1998, after Apple's elimination of the Claris subsidiary. It was bundled it with all consumer-level Macs sold by Apple.

On August 15, 2007, AppleWorks reached end-of-life status, and was no longer sold.[1] Word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications with capabilities similar to AppleWorks are currently sold as the iWork suite.


  • "AppleWorks Classic" (Apple II version, 1984–1991) 1
    • Versions of "AppleWorks Classic" 1.1
  • AppleWorks GS (Apple IIgs version, 1988–1996) 2
    • Versions of AppleWorks GS 2.1
  • AppleWorks/ClarisWorks (Macintosh/Windows versions, 1991–2004) 3
  • End of AppleWorks 4
  • Reception 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

"AppleWorks Classic" (Apple II version, 1984–1991)

Developed by Rupert Lissner,[2] the original AppleWorks was one of the first integrated office suites for personal computers, featuring a word processor, spreadsheet, and database merged into a single program. It was released in 1984 as a demonstration product for the new 128k models of the Apple II line. Apple had previously published Lissner's QuickFile, a database program that closely resembled what became the AppleWorks database module. An Apple III version of AppleWorks, which used the same file formats, was dubbed III E-Z Pieces and marketed by Haba Systems.

All three AppleWorks programs have the same user interface and exchange data through a common clipboard.[3] Previous Apple II applications programs had mainly been designed with the older II/II+ line in mind, which only had 48k of RAM and 40-column text without an add-on card, thus resulting in them having limited capabilities. Appleworks was for comparison designed for the IIe/IIc models which had more RAM, standard 80-column text, an optional numeric keypad, cursor keys, and the new ProDOS operating system in place of DOS 3.3 which had been standard on 48k machines.

Because it was generally considered unethical for OS developers to also sell application software (something that Digital Research founder Gary Kildall had criticized Microsoft for), Apple avoided any advertisement of the program. AppleWorks nevertheless debuted at #2 on Softalk's monthly bestseller list and quickly became the best-selling software package on any computer, ousting even Lotus 1-2-3 from the top of the industry-wide sales charts.[4] Apple's software subsidiary Claris sold the one millionth copy of AppleWorks in December 1988.[5]

Apple and Lissner provided technical information on modifying AppleWorks, helping to create a substantial market for third-party accessories and support. Compute!'s Apple Applications reported in 1987 that "AppleWorks has become a frontier for software developers", and predicted that "Soon, the best software on the Apple II computer line will require AppleWorks".[6] The September 1986 issue of inCider, for example, contained two AppleWorks-related articles; advertisements for two AppleWorks-related expansion cards from Applied Engineering, an application that promised to let AppleWorks run on an Apple II Plus with an 80-column display board, an AppleWorks-dedicated newsletter called The Main Menu, and an AppleWorks-related product from Beagle Bros.; many other advertisements that mentioned AppleWorks; and a column criticizing companies that developed AppleWorks-related products instead of new ones ("thinks small and innovates nothing").[7] One of the most successful was the TimeOut series from Beagle Bros. TimeOut developers Alan Bird, Randy Brandt and Rob Renstrom were involved in developing AppleWorks 3.0 and eventually AppleWorks incorporated numerous TimeOut functions.[8] TimeOut developers Randy Brandt and Dan Verkade created AppleWorks 4.0 and 5.0 for Quality Computers.

Apple released version 2.0 in 1986 with the Apple IIGS,[2] and then a year later the program was published by Claris. Claris contracted with Beagle Bros. to upgrade AppleWorks to version 3.0 in 1989, then turned its attention to producing Macintosh and Windows software, letting AppleWorks languish. Claris did, however, agree to license the AppleWorks trademark to Quality Computers, which released AppleWorks 4.0 in 1993 and AppleWorks 5.0 in 1994.

The 8-bit AppleWorks is sometimes referred to as "AppleWorks Classic" to differentiate it from AppleWorks GS[5] and the later product for Macintosh and Windows of the same name. The term "Classic" in this context does not refer to the Classic compatibility environment in Mac OS X.

Versions of "AppleWorks Classic"

Version Year Notes
1.0 1984 First release.
1.1 1985 Fixed hardware bugs with printers and interface cards.
1.2 1985 More hardware compatibility improvement.
1.3 1986 Hardware support enhancements. Update cost $20.
2.0 September 1986 More features and better hardware support. Update cost $50.
2.1 September 1988 Bug fixes and hardware compatibility improvement. Released by Claris.
3.0 1989 More features. Update either cost $79 or $99.
4.0 November 1, 1993 More features. Released by Quality Computers.
4.01 Early November 1993 Bug fixes.
4.02 Bug fixes.
4.3 1993 [9]
5.0 November 1994 Code-named 'Narnia'.
5.1 Summer 1995 Bug fixes.

AppleWorks GS (Apple IIgs version, 1988–1996)

Observers had expected AppleWorks 2.0 to have a Macintosh-like mouse-driven graphic user interface, but inCider reported before its release that such a revision had been delayed because of "problems between Apple and [Lissner]".[2] By 1987 Compute!'s Apple Applications wondered in an editorial, "AppleWorks, Where Are You?". The magazine stated that a IIGS version of AppleWorks or another AppleWorks-like integrated suite "could galvanize the machine's sales" and warned that otherwise "the IIGS may well languish".[10]

In 1988, Claris acquired an integrated package called GS Works from StyleWare and renamed it AppleWorks GS, bringing the AppleWorks brand to the 16-bit Apple IIGS, though no code from the 8-bit Apple II version was used. In addition to the word processing, database, and spreadsheet functions, AppleWorks GS also included telecommunications, page layout and graphics modules. Only one version of major AppleWorks GS was ever published, progressing as far as 1.1, although a vaporware 2.0 update was rumored to be "just short of completion" for a long time.[11] AppleWorks GS opened AppleWorks files without needing to import them first.[5]

Versions of AppleWorks GS

Version Year Notes
1.0 1988 First version
1.0v2 Bug fix release.
1.1 1989 Supports System Software 5.
1.2 (not released) Planned bug fix release, developed by Quality Computers.
2.0 (not released) Planned release, developed by Quality Computers.

AppleWorks/ClarisWorks (Macintosh/Windows versions, 1991–2004)

The second incarnation of AppleWorks started life as ClarisWorks, written by Bob Hearn and Scott Holdaway and published by Claris (a spin-off from Apple, today known as FileMaker Inc).[12] The Creator code of ClarisWorks for the Macintosh is "BOBO". The file extension of AppleWorks and ClarisWorks for Windows documents is .cwk, and .cws for template.[13] ClarisWorks combined:[14]

All the components were integrated to provide a seamless suite that worked in concert; for example, spreadsheet frames could be embedded in a word processing document, or formatted text into drawings, etc. A common misconception is that the components were derived from the existing Claris programs MacWrite and MacDraw. In fact, ClarisWorks was written from scratch and then redesigned to match other Claris programs after the purchase by Claris.[12]

ClarisWorks 1.0 shipped for the Macintosh in 1991 and was subsequently ported to the Windows platform, shipping as ClarisWorks 1.0 for Windows in 1993. ClarisWorks 3 is the last version to run on the 68000 CPU with at least System 6.0.7. ClarisWorks 4 requires a 68020 CPU and System 7. When the Claris company was disbanded and absorbed back into Apple, the product was renamed AppleWorks;[12] in fact, version 5 was released shortly before the product's return to Apple and was briefly called ClarisWorks 5. ClarisWorks/AppleWorks 5 requires MacOS 7.0.1, though the 5.0.4 patch can only be applied in Mac OS 9. It is the last version to support the 68k CPU architecture.

The last version, AppleWorks 6, requires a PowerPC CPU and replaced the communications feature with a presentation feature (in prior versions there was only rudimentary support for presentations through the other features). It was also ported to the Carbon API to work on Mac OS X, but as an early Carbon application, it did not take advantage of many of the newer features of Mac OS X and portions of the interface still retained elements of the Platinum appearance of Mac OS 8/9.

Using Claris' XTND framework, AppleWorks could create, open, and save files in a number of file formats. For example, word processor documents could be saved in Microsoft Word format, and spreadsheet files could be saved in Microsoft Excel format.

The software received good reviews during the course of its lifespan for its interface and the tight integration of its modules. For example, like the earlier versions mentioned above, in AppleWorks a drawing "frame" could be placed in a spreadsheet document, a paint frame could be placed in a drawing document, etc. This allowed for very elaborate and data-rich layouts. However, the limitations of the product (such as its confusing and cumbersome stylesheet feature) became more apparent as the product aged. The program also only allowed for a single undo/redo, and in many cases, if a frame from one module was placed in another module, the frame would no longer be editable in any way as soon as it was deselected.

Equation Editor by Design Science was bundled with AppleWorks. Also, the MathType or MathMagic equation editors can be used. Both support automatic baseline alignment for inline equations.

End of AppleWorks

In August 2007, Apple declared AppleWorks "end of life" and stated that they will no longer sell the package. The iWork package, which includes a word processing program, a spreadsheet, and a presentation graphics program, is intended to be its replacement. While much more feature-rich, iWork still lacks some of the modules and the tight integration of AppleWorks. AppleWorks will not run on any versions of Mac OS X later than Snow Leopard because it is written in PowerPC code.

With the advent of system 10.7 ("Lion"), AppleWorks is no longer supported by the Macintosh operating system.[16] AppleWorks word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation files can be opened in the iWork applications Pages, Numbers, and Keynote respectively. There is no Apple-supplied application to open AppleWorks database, painting, or drawing files without converting them to a different format.[16] Some versions of EazyDraw software support the import of the AppleWorks drawing formats. This software runs on Mountain Lion and older.[17] There is an AppleWorks user group,[18] and there is an article on migrating away from AppleWorks.[19]

LibreOffice is a free office suite that will open most AppleWorks and ClarisWorks files.


II Computing listed AppleWorks ninth on the magazine's list of top Apple II non-game, non-educational software as of late 1985, based on sales and market-share data.[20]

BYTE‍ '​s reviewer in December 1984 called AppleWorks "easy to use, genuinely user-friendly, and well documented". She called the word processor "my favorite part ... well above average" and the spreadsheet and database "good but certainly not standouts". As a package for novice and casual users, the reviewer concluded, "Appleworks is excellent".[21] InfoWorld that month disagreed, calling it "a study in limitations ... this package is not strong". While approving of the shared clipboard and user interface, the magazine stated that Appleworks' limitations—such as the limit of eight pages in the word processor with 64K RAM—made it "not good enough as a business product to warrant much consideration".[3]


See also


  1. ^ Evans, Jonny (August 15, 2007). "Apple cans AppleWorks".  
  2. ^ a b c de Peyster, Deborah; Statt, Paul (September 1986). "Extras for the //x". inCider. p. 14. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Renne, Mark (1984-12-10). "AppleWorks". InfoWorld. pp. 50–51. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Apple II History AppleWorks page: Apple's "Promotion" of AppleWorks (Retrieved on June 13, 2009)
  5. ^ a b c d Keizer, Gregg (March 1989). "Apple II". Compute!. p. 58. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "II On II". Compute!'s Apple Applications. December 1987. p. 8. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "September 1986 issue". inCider. September 1986. pp. 62,63,64,71,73,81,105,110,115,121,inside cover. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  8. ^ AppleWorks. Retrieved on July 17, 2013.
  9. ^ 15 Amazing Computing Rarities of the 1990s. (April 17, 2011). Retrieved on July 17, 2013.
  10. ^ Keizer, Gregg (December 1987). "Editor's Notes". Compute!'s Apple Applications. pp. 4–5. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  11. ^ AppleWorks GS. Retrieved on July 17, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c "A Brief History of ClarisWorks". 
  13. ^ "AppleWorks 6: Getting Started" (PDF). p. 31. 
  14. ^ "AppleWorks 6: Getting Started" (PDF). p. 18. 
  15. ^ "AppleWorks 6: Getting Started" (PDF). p. 2. 
  16. ^ a b Christopher Breen, "Last call for AppleWorks users", Macworld, June 29, 2011 (accessed Feb 3, 2013)
  17. ^ EasyDraw website (Retrieved on June 28, 2013)
  18. ^ Appleworks User Group website (Retrieved on June 28, 2013)
  19. ^ Abandoning AppleWorks (Retrieved on June 28, 2013)
  20. ^ Ciraolo, Michael (Oct–Nov 1985). "Top Software / A List of Favorites". II Computing. p. 51. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  21. ^ Cmar, Karen A. (December 1984). "Appleworks: An Integrated Office Product". BYTE (review). pp. A18. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  22. ^ Keizer, Gregg (April 1989). "Apple II". Compute!. p. 54. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 

External links

  • Apple: iWork
  • A Brief History of ClarisWorks - A history of ClarisWorks/AppleWorks from one of the original developers, Bob Hearn.
  • Apple II History: AppleWorks - Chapter of an Apple II History dedicated to AppleWorks.
  • GUIdebook > Articles > "Apple II User Interfaces"
  • AppleWorks 6.2.9 Update for Macintosh
  • ArsTechnica: RIP Appleworks
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