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Tom Briant

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Moving from Classic OS to Mountain Lion as painlessly as possible.r

Every November I return to this topic of moving a Mac user’s data from Classic OS formats to the latest version of OS X. Last year, a conversation with a fellow MacValley user sparked this. This year, it’s working with a Macvalley member with their two vintage Macs running 10.4 and a letter to MacLife from a Classic OS user deciding not to renew his subscription due to its emphasis on OS X.

If you use Classic OS for all or part of your workflow, please be aware of the excellent site Low End Mac. They have a lot of information on getting the most of your older hardware and software.

If you want to move your Appleworks word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, bitmap paintings, vector drawings, and databases into contemporary formats, I shall give you tips on how to do this in the next section. After that, I’ll cover what to do if you want to run Appleworks under Mountain Lion.

Moving the Word Processing, Spreadsheets, and Presentations

You can use Apple’s iWorks office suite to convert Appleworks word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations into formats you can share with others, including your boss who only uses Windows.

The word processing program Pages ’09 will read your Appleworks 6 text documents. You can save them in these formats: .pages, .rtf, .doc, .pdf, and .epub.

The spreadsheet program Numbers ’09 will read your Appleworks 6 spreadsheets. You can save them in these formats: .pdf, .xls, and .csv (comma-separated-values).

The presentation program Keynote can read your Appleworks 6 presentations. You can save them in these formats: Quicktime movie, Powerpoint .ppt, .pdf, separate image files of each slide, an HTML document that you can open in Safari or another Web browser, or as a movie for your iTunes library that you can play on your iPod.

Apple charges $19.99 for each of these programs. You get them in the Mac App Store which comes with Mountain Lion. They don’t offer a trial version like they used to.

Online Resources for Appleworks to iWorks conversion

The longstanding Appleworks User Group is now the Appleworks/iWork Users Group. You can reach them at

Well, what about the graphics formats?

What about the Painting and Drawing formats?

You can save Paintings in a variety of formats that OS X Preview will open, such as PNG, JPEG, and Windows BMP. So Painting formats are no problem.

Appleworks Drawing, though, is another matter. For that, you need Dekorra Optics’ EazyDraw or Purgatory Design’s Intaglio 3.4.1.

You can’t use the version of Eazy Draw that you get from the Mac App Store to directly open Appleworks Drawings: Let me quote from the Web Site:

EazyDraw version 4 no longer supports import of MacDraw, MacDrawII, MacDrawPro, ClarisDraw or AppleWorks drawings. To import these drawings a retro-version of EazyDraw is provided. This version of EazyDraw still supports these retro-drawings and the import and coversion of PICT vector images. The "retro-version" runs on OS X 10.4, 10.5, 10.6 and 10.7 (current Lion release), imported drawings are then saved in EazyDraw graphic format (or SVG, PDF, ... ) for use on the current OS X technology and EazyDraw version 4. The retro-version is provided on CD with the CD and Boxed versions of EazyDraw.

I also found this retro version of Eazy Draw on the support page of their Web site.

You’ll need a license from Eazy Draw to use the program:

We'll have you downloaded, licensed, and drawing in no time with our 9 month license ($20) or single user license available at our secure online store .

Our $20 trial license is a very popular option. You get a full use license, no limits or constraints, with free updates for 9 months. You may apply the $20 license fee toward the purchase of EazyDraw (download or CD) anytime within the first 2 months.

You got that? Go to, download Eazydraw Retro from their support page and convert those Appleworks drawings!

What About Databases?

Let me steal unabashedly and admiringly from Chris Breen here:

Open the Appleworks database and choose Organize->Show All Records.

Select a layout that displays every field, select all, and copy the text to the clipboard.

You could also export the database as ASCII text. If you export the database data to an Appleworks spreadsheet and then move it to FileMaker, some odd characters might appear.

Anyway, open a new spreadsheet document. This can be Appleworks’ own spreadsheet component or an Excel document (Ed. I just tried Numbers from iWork ‘09 and it worked great)

Paste the text into the spreadsheet.

In all likelihood your data won’t contain field headings-Address and Phone Number, for example. When pasting your text, be sure to plunk that text down a couple of rows, leaving room to enter the field heading titles in the first row of the spreadsheet.

Save the spreadsheet as delimited ASCII text. Numbers only exports comma separated values, while Excel 2008 exports both comma separated vales and tab separated values.

Open that file in Filemaker Pro (or another database that imports delimited ASCII text, such as Bento 4).

The data will appear in a spreadsheet layout, meaning you’ll have to recreate the original database’s layout. No, your forms and reports do not copy over from Appleworks.

What if I have to run Appleworks? What are the extreme options?

Your extreme options come down to this:

You can keep Appleworks on a separate machine running Snow Leopard 10.6 or lower. This will work.

As for running a hacked version of Snow Leopard in a virtual machine, or the even more experimental Sheepshaver program for emulating Classic OS on an Intel machine; you’re on your own.

If you’re thinking about hacking, consider this. What does your job pay you hourly? Is it worth the frustration, or would you stay saner if you just went on-line to to price something to run Appleworks?

Yeah, just dedicate your old Mac for running stuff you can’t replace. You’ll have to get a new Mac to run Mountain Lion, anyway.

Thomas Briant

Editor and Media Manager.

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