If you are about to switch to OS 7 Lion, you probably are aware that the old PowerPC applications will no longer run. One of the most important is Quicken 2007 or earlier. There has been lots of discussion about this on the web, and a quick Google search will bring up many suggestions for dealing with this problem.

Another problem for those of us who have been with the Mac since before about 2007 is AppleWorks. This was a great word processor, database, drawing, painting and spreadsheet application which will also no longer run under Lion (it even had some problems with Snow Leopard). Here are some tips for converting AppleWorks documents you want to keep. Do it before updating to Lion, because you will need to use AppleWorks for some of the conversions, and it will take some time.

Hint for finding all your AppleWorks files: In the Finder, create a new smart folder with the search criterion   File Extension  is   cws


Notes on moving Appleworks documents to iWork and other apps

AW Word Processing to Pages

Straightforward. Just drag the AW document to the Pages icon in the dock. 90+ % of the time no further editing will be required.

AW Spreadsheet to Numbers or Excel

Drag the AW spreadsheet document to the Numbers or Excel icon in the dock. Some functions work differently in AW than they do in Numbers or Excel, so some calculations may not work correctly or you may get error messages in some cells. You’ll have to fix these. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a handy compilation on the web of which functions are different and how.

AW Drawing or Paint document to Pages

Just dragging the Drawing or Paint document to Pages doesn’t work. You will get an error message to the effect that this isn’t a Word Processing document.

Open the drawing document in AppleWorks, use “Select all” and then copy the selection. Now open a new Word Processor document in AppleWorks. Set the orientation (portrait or landscape) the same as the drawing document, and set all the margins to .25″. If you don’t have the tools palette visible, select Show Tools from the Window menu. Now click on the arrow pointer toward the top of the tools palette. This deactivates the insert text cursor from the WP doc you just created. If you don’t do this step your drawing objects will be pasted in the next step as a single un-editable object. Now do the Paste command and everything from your Drawing document is pasted into the WP document as a collection of individual drawing objects. Now save this document with whatever name you want, then open the resulting document in Pages. It will open and all the drawing objects are still editable (1,2). I’ve even found that you can still ungroup objects that were grouped in AW.

Note 1: Objects that span more than one page will be cut off in Pages. You will have to resize and/or rearrange them to solve this problem.

Note 2: In the Pages document if you try to select multiple objects by clicking and dragging rather than having to shift-click on them one at a time there is a problem.  Here is a little trick to do it. Click and drag on the lower right corner of the Pages window to enlarge it so some gray is showing at the side. Click and hold in this gray area and drag over the objects you want to select. If you have included some unwanted objects on the right side, you will have to shift-click them off.

AW Database to Bento or FileMaker Pro

Unfortunately, iWork doesn’t have a database app, so you will need some other database. Two that I have used are Bento and FileMaker Pro. Bento is relatively cheap ($50), limited in capabilities, but fairly easy to use (see my Review). It is probably fine for most simple databases. FileMaker Pro is much more customizable and powerful, but is expensive ($180-$300). Both have free trials.

In AW, open the database document, then go to File/Save As. Choose ASCII Text under “File Format” and save the file. Locate the saved file in the finder and change the extension (or add one if it doesn’t have one) to .tab.

Now import the file:

-in Bento go to File/Import/File

-in FileMaker Pro go to File/Open, then in “Show”  select “Tab-separated text files”

This will import the data with few problems. However, in either case, you will have to do a lot of customizing and rearranging of the fields in the on-screen layout to get the database to look the way you want it to.