Anyone else think it’s weird TextEdit can’t open an AppleWorks file? - Macenstein

Anyone else think it’s weird TextEdit can’t open an AppleWorks file?

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

It’s not every day I see an AppleWorks document. In fact, it’s not every week, month, or even every year. However, as luck would have it, today I did happen to receive one – a very important one at that. While I don’t have AppleWorks, I wasn’t overly worried. I figured I would just open the file in TextEdit, Apple’s free (and underrated) word processor, which I use for the majority of my typing purposes.

The image above shows the “gunk” that TextEdit spits out at the top when attempting to open an AppleWorks 6 document. Under all that garbage, you eventually do get most of the file, but the formatting is WAY off, and things like bullet points and the like are converted to odd symbols and characters you wouldn’t know how to type if you wanted to.

I know AppleWorks is pretty much the definition of a “dead” program (not that I see many folks flocking to Pages…) but it does seem odd to me that TextEdit can correctly open AND save Microsoft Word Docs without a hitch, but can’t correctly open an AppleWorks file.

I mean, WTF? Or, as TextEdit would translate, “/∞¢`@´ég?”

10 Responses to “Anyone else think it’s weird TextEdit can’t open an AppleWorks file?”
  1. apod says:

    If you have Pages it can open Appleworks files. I’m pretty sure Word can too, although I agree its ridiculous that TextEdit can’t handle them.

  2. Justin D. Morgan says:

    Could Apple be concerned about losing sales of AppleWorks? Perhaps Leopard will correct this issue…

  3. Matt says:

    It’s not weird, just inconvenient. The AppleWorks format is binary, just like MS Office. You can’t open a word .doc file in TextEdit, or even windows notepad for that matter. If you want your files more accessible you should use a less proprietary format. One thing I really love about OpenOffice is that its native format is xml.

  4. Peter Hosey says:

    Matt: Yes, you can open Word documents in TextEdit. The article says that, and I’ve done it myself.

  5. npydyuan says:

    “You can’t open a word .doc file in TextEdit….”

    Yes you can.

  6. I don’t actually think it’s weird, other than Apple made both AppleWorks and TextEdit. After cranking up my copy of AppleWorks (which I haven’t in about two years), I saved a very basic file (Moooo!), and then opened it in Pages and TextEdit. As you’d expect, it looks STUNNING! in Pages, and like an OpenOffice file in TextEdit.

    But here’s the thing: AppleWorks format isn’t a text format. It’s a pseudo-page layout format that’s supposed to be able to accept images and hyperlinks and all kinds of rich text goodness. It’s more like PowerPoint than SimpleText. I’m not saying it’s right, but Apple decided to leave out the .cwk format from the list of things TextEdit can import because it’s not a de facto-standard. Word’s .doc format isn’t standard or open, but since so many people use it, you have to be able to import/export it.

    There’s something else about TextEdit. It’s the showcase app for the text editing portion of Mac OS X. They’ve built the app on as many standards as possible, and made sure that it can do as much of the open stuff as possible. That’s why, in Leopard, it can read and write the OpenOffice XML format. Like I said, Apple/Claris/Appleworks isn’t a standard, text format. I’d frankly be more surprised if it could read/write .cwk files.

  7. wackymacs says:

    Matt – um, TextEdit *can* open Word .doc files…

  8. Gary says:

    I hate to interrupt all these wonderfully plausible technical explanations of why TextEdit can’t open AppleWorks files, but long-term Apple watchers can attest that the political usually trumps the technical in these matters: Jobs has worked consistently in his second term to get rid of every innovation and every hardware and every software product that came out during the years of his exile. AppleWorks has to die the death of a thousand neglects, even the snub of not being readable by a standard Mac OS X tool like TextEdit.

  9. Mark says:

    Gary, I want to thank you for saying what has largly if not totally ignored. I to think Steve has had a personal problem with all thing that were Macintosh. It’s unfotunate.

  10. ChrisX says:

    MS Word:Mac opens AppleWorks files just fine. So yes, it’s really a shame Apple’s own TextEdit screws up.

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