Tutorial: ClarisWorks for Smarties #1
The Non-Database Database
ClarisWorks (CW) is the ultimate “Mac is not a typewriter” application. I expect that as ClarisWorks/5 morphs into AppleWorks/2000, or whatever the next version of the program is named, most of the existing software modules will remain unchanged, with the probable addition of more Web-linking features.
Tremendous acclaim is being heaped upon Microsoft Office 98. This heavyweight suite is the ultimate set of applications for very serious users. My hunch is that the LEMUs (low-end Mac users) are systematically being abandoned, now that Apple’s main thrust is veering away from us little people. I hope I am pleasantly surprised, and that ClarisWorks is not remembered as the fabulous orphaned integrated software package from the ’90s.
The reality for most CW users is that word processing is paramount, with spreadsheet, database, paint, draw, and communications components used less frequently. As a writing program alone, ClarisWorks is worth its cost; the other features only enhance the outstanding value.
A problem with anything that is “free” or “included” is that we take it for granted. Millions of Macintosh owners presume that ClarisWorks is “just there,” meaning it is a humdrum, unremarkable program that came with the computer, and never counts as the “real thing,” like its competitors from FileMaker, Microsoft, Nisus, and other fine companies. With the elevated status and usage of Microsoft Office 98 (and consequently of Word and Excel 98), this humble image of poor ClarisWorks is reinforced.
I spend hours and hours with ClarisWorks, and it always performs flawlessly. I mean always. My demands are modest, yet my standards are high. Year after year I use every feature and component, and I feel there still is much more functionality in reserve than I require. All of this capacity is available in a reliable app that costs about as much as a decent dinner for two at my favorite quality restaurant.
If you want my vote for the ultimate killer app, after all the dust has settled around Netscape, PageMaker, Eudora, AOL, FileMaker, and many other notables, I will clutch ClarisWorks to my chest and not surrender it under any circumstances.
The typewriter is not a Mac
Here are two easy, essential tasks you can perform using your old buddy ClarisWorks. Other applications can certainly accomplish the same things, but why look further than little ol’ CW?
If any of the terms confuse you, launch the ClarisWorks Help application, or look in your printed reference material.
CREATING A NON-DATABASE DATABASPREADSHEET OF FREQUENTLY-USED EMAIL ADDRESSES AND WEB URLs
1. Launch ClarisWorks.
2. Select SPREADSHEET and click OK.
3. In cell 1A type in MY FAVORITE EMAIL & URLS or something similar.
4. In cell 3A type in NAME; in 3C type in EMAIL; in 3E type in URL
5. Enter the first name in 5A, such as ROBERTSON, TIM with
firstname.lastname@example.org in 5C and www.mymac.com in 5E.
6. Drag-expand the C and E column widths to make room for rather long email
addresses and URLs.
7. Collapse the B and D column widths to small buffer zones between the data
8. Continue adding names until you run out of time.
9. Sort the list alphabetically by highlighting all your active columns, A – E,
then selecting SORT from the CALCULATE menu, and clicking OK.
10. You are finished. Give the file a name, save it, make a removable backup
copy, and print it out. New entries can be typed in and sorted very easily.
This method is fast, easy, foolproof, and extremely versatile. I have used it for everything from financial summaries to extensive inventories. There are many ways to refine the finished product, which you can explore on your own.
Here is a snapshot of a demo version I just created:
PREPARING A DYNAMIC NON-SPREADSHEET WORD PROCESS SPREADSHEET TO-DO LIST
1. Launch ClarisWorks.
2. Select WORD PROCESSING and click OK.
3. From the FORMAT menu, select DOCUMENT, then type in “.5” in all four
MARGINS boxes, then click OK.
4. Click the middle COLUMN CONTROL BOX twice, to divide the page into
three equal columns.
5. Type MY ACTION LIST (or something similar) and today’s date at the very
top of the left column.
6. Start typing brief descriptions of what you need to accomplish in the near
future, with suitable headings for different aspects of your life. I use the
Helvetica 10 point font.
7. Continue until you run out of things to do (fat chance).
8. You are finished. Give the file a name, save it, make a removable backup
copy, and print it out. New entries can be typed in very easily.
There are ways to sort such a list, but who cares? As you complete a bunch of tasks, cross them out, pencil in new ones, and amend the document every week or month. As with the email/URL spreadsheet, there are many ways to personalize the finished list.
Here is a peek at my current To-Do list:
I hope this little tutorial gives you a new lease on life with ClarisWorks. Let me know if you have suggestions for future tutorials in this series.
NEMO MEMO CELEBRATES FIRST BIRTHDAY
With this column, the Nemo Memo marks its first anniversary in My Mac Magazine. I heartily thank all my readers and colleagues for an enjoyable and stimulating year. Special thanks go to Tim, our enterprising publisher; to Russ, our dynamic editor; and to my talented pal Mike Wallinga, who encouraged me to join My Mac after the sudden demise of MacSense.