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Pages of questions and answers about Apple's word processor

Glenn Fleishman | July 14, 2015
If you've got a decently long history with the Mac, you'll remember AppleWorks and ClarisWorks. When Microsoft Office was a high-priced suite, AppleWorks and ClarisWorks were inexpensive (and sometimes thrown in). Apple stopped selling the last version in 2007, but files linger.

pages5 yosemite apple macbookair

If you've got a decently long history with the Mac, you'll remember AppleWorks and ClarisWorks. When Microsoft Office was a high-priced suite, AppleWorks and ClarisWorks were inexpensive (and sometimes thrown in). Apple stopped selling the last version in 2007, but files linger. In this week's column, Mac 911 helps a reader open ancient 'Works files. I also help with sorting, EPUB formatting, and a systemwide text replacement sync issue.

From A to Z

James Riley writes in with a question about Pages. He has a 47-page document that has columns for occupation, first name, and last name. He'd like to sort alphabetically by first name, and then print the document.

This is possible within Pages '09 (version 4) and the latest Pages (version 5), although in different places. You don't have to do a round-trip through Numbers to make this work.

To prep for sorting, first make sure that your headers are actually set as a heading row. This prevents them from being sorted, and they remain at top. Oddly, I can't find any way to turn an existing row into a header row. Instead, you need to add a header row and then copy and paste your column headers into it (Format > Table > Header Rows, pick 1 or more).

In Pages '09:

  • Click the header cell for the column you want to sort.
  • In the Inspector (View > Show Inspector), click the gear in Editor Rows & Columns.
  • Select Sort Ascending, which will alphabetize the results.

In Pages 5:

  • Hover over the header cell for the column you want to sort. A downward-pointing arrow appears.
  • Click the arrow, then click Sort Ascending, which alphabetizes the results.

A blast from the past

Frederick Ayer writes in with a relevant historical question:

As a Mac user since '87, I have created text files with the various OSes, since ClarisWorks and Classic. Many of those still kicking around I can no longer read; for example, AWks5 and earlier. Do you know of an app that would allow me to translate old AppleWorks & ClarisWorks files?

It's strange how waiting longer sometimes makes things easier. Ted Landau wrote an excellent article about older AppleWorks and related formats for Macworld in 2012, but it wasn't possible to open the oldest files intact.

However, hope springs eternal. In 2013, an update to LibreOffice, a free (hence "libre") office suite for many platforms, added support for ancient Word, AppleWorks, and ClarisWorks documents thanks to the intrepid work of a determined programmer.

After opening old files in LibreOffice, you can save them as Microsoft Word or other formats. Word files can be opened directly in Pages '09 and Pages 5, which converts them to the native Pages format, which can then be saved.

 

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