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*praying* to find a good Clarisworks clone for Windows

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Posted by Tiggerlou
Jan 1, 2015 at 06:19 PM


I have been a loyal outlining devotee for decades—my brain works in outline form—so I hope this is a good place to ask this question. I’d be enormously grateful for any advice you can give me.

The software I’ve used for years and years AND years has been Clarisworks / Appleworks. It has followed me from a Mac to Windows and through multiple OS upgrades, into Windows 7. Whenever I move to a new OS, I cross my fingers and pray that Clarisworks will work there. During all that time, I’ve been accumulating hundreds—probably thousands—of *very* important documents in that format.

I’m not a Luddite, far from it. Believe me I’d love to find something more recent, something that I can trust will last me into the future. But honestly, I have yet to find anything as good / clean / usable / powerful / reliable. Every few years I go Googling to find an alternative….and I just go back to Clarisworks.

Everything I’ve seen is either clunky and ugly—surrounding each line with a box, command buttons, “funny” icons that look like they’re drawn with a crayon—or else it is packed with features I really don’t need. For example, I’m not looking for a task manager (very happy with Toodledo) so I don’t need checkmarks. I don’t need to assign numbers and letters to the lines of the text. I don’t need multiple panes. I don’t need a fancy corkboard for writing screenplays. I don’t need smiley faces at the head of each line or color coding. I just need a clean text editor with solid outlining capabilities.

It also has to be software that won’t go extinct anytime soon. I’ve looked up lots of outlining software just this morning, and to be honest, the websites look like they haven’t been touched in years and years. That does not inspire confidence in the stability or likely longevity of their product although I’d be happy to be convinced otherwise.

And now… unfortunately… I need it SOON. For some reason (possibly because of my new antivirus software), Clarisworks has started seriously misbehaving on my computer. I click to open one document and it opens another one. Copy and paste takes literally 15-20 seconds. Clicking any of the buttons at the top (File, Edit, etc) is a wait and hope… wait and hope.. operation. This is very serious because I have tons and tons of truly mission-critical documents in Clarisworks.

BTW, if Evernote had decent outlining capabilities, I’d be a very happy camper. I love Evernote for many reasons, but alas it merely lets you indent the text.

I don’t know if I’m asking too much to be able to export my outlines—and keep the formatting. That would truly be a dream come true. One way or the other, whatever you suggest, I’d need to migrate my many *existing* outlines into it, even if I have to go through each document and re-create the indents (yikes!).

Really hoping you have something to suggest. Thanks in advance!


Posted by moritz
Jan 1, 2015 at 08:56 PM


Not a permanent answer to your question for a Clarisworks replacement, but a stepping stone perhaps to get off the sinking ship:
Libreoffice allegedly started to support Clarisworks files (read-only). From LO, you would be able to save in other, more common file formats, preserving the value in your existing files.


Posted by jaslar
Jan 1, 2015 at 09:06 PM


I was a big fan of Appleworks/Clarisworks myself, and used it for years. It was indeed a clean, intuitive, and surprisingly powerful program.

What you want to move to depends on what your key value of Clarisworks is now. Is it the outline files themselves? About the only program I’ve seen that can import old Clarisworks file formats, is, I believe, Abiword (an open source program that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux) - but it will NOT do the outlining Clarisworks did. (Just did a little googling and see that there are various tricks to import into Openoffice and LibreOffice, too.) But the strategies are different for different kinds of files (word processing, spreadsheet, database). If it’s just outlining you’re after, none of those will really be a good replacement.

Nor do I know of any true clone, although I just saw that the old Microft WORKS office program can now be downloaded for free. http://downloads.info/windows/office/office-suites/microsoft-works.html . But again, it’s not an outliner.

I used to like the Microsoft Works program for DOS, years ago, far better than the big Office suite in Windows. Those works program hit a nice balance of the functions people actually use for most tasks.

I think my first bit of advice would be to try to preserve those important files in something that’s as portable as possible. Plain text, preferably. Then, depending upon the functions that really matter to you, you could import them into something else.

Good luck!


Posted by jaslar
Jan 1, 2015 at 09:10 PM


I see that a number of Clarisworks users have migrated to Worfklowy - but you would indeed be working to recreate those indents. I’ve had good look reading in plain text files with tabs for indents into two programs on Windows: tkoutline (free), and Freemind (free). That might be another strategy.


Posted by Dr Andus
Jan 1, 2015 at 09:35 PM


Tiggerlou wrote:
>I’ve been accumulating hundreds—probably thousands—of
>*very* important documents in that format.
> > I just need a clean text
>editor with solid outlining capabilities.

There seem to be too different needs here: a notes database + an outliner. Do these need to be served by a single piece of software or could two specialist software do the job of each? E.g. there are now software where you can link from one to the other and back.

>I don’t know if I’m asking too much to be able to export my outlines
>—and keep the formatting. I’d need to migrate my many
>*existing* outlines into it, even if I have to go through each document
>and re-create the indents (yikes!).

It might be worth to try to copy and paste into various outliners, or try out all their import options, to see if indents are preserved (e.g. Noteliner, WorkFlowy, Freeplane, Natara Bonsai (if you can get hold of it) or even MS Word’s bullet point list). If you can convert the outline into an .RTF document (or first into MS Word .docx and then as .rtf), then you could also try to import it into Outline 4D, which can convert it back into an outline.

>For some reason (possibly
>because of my new antivirus software), Clarisworks has started seriously
>misbehaving on my computer.

Another option is to try a different a/v software (or somehow make it ignore Clarisworks).


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