Microsoft Works


Microsoft Works
Microsoft Works
Developer(s) Microsoft
Stable release 9.0
Development status Discontinued (The product is still available for sale, however it is being phased out in favor of Microsoft Office Starter and Basic Editions)
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Office suite
License Proprietary
Website microsoft.com/works

Microsoft Works is an office suite ("home productivity software suite") that is produced by Microsoft. Works is smaller, less expensive, and has fewer features than Microsoft Office or other major office suites. Its core functionality includes a word processor, a spreadsheet and a database management system. Newer versions have a calendar application and a dictionary while older releases included a terminal emulator. A 'Works Portfolio' utility offers Microsoft Binder-like functionality.

Contents

History

Microsoft Works started life as Mouseworks, an integrated spreadsheet, word processor and database program, designed for the Macintosh by ex-Apple alumnus Don Williams and Rupert Lissner.[1] Williams was planning to emulate the success of Appleworks, a similar product for Apple II computers. However, Bill Gates and his Head of Acquisitions, Alan M. Boyd, convinced Williams to license the product to Microsoft instead.[2] Initially it was to be a scaled-down version of Office for the (then) small laptops such as the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 which Microsoft was developing. As laptops grew in power, however, Microsoft Works, as it was to be called, evolved as a popular product in its own right.

Through version 4.5a, Works used a monolithic program architecture whereby the Works Word Processor and Spreadsheet/Database documents ran in windows of the same program interface. This resulted in a small memory and disk footprint, which enabled it to run on slower computers with requirements as low as 6 MB of RAM and 12 MB free disk space.[3]

Works 2000 (Version 5.0) switched to a modular architecture which opens each document as a separate instance and uses the print engine from Internet Explorer. "Works Suite" versions bundled personal productivity and entertainment software such as Microsoft Money, Encarta, Streets & Trips and Digital Image. These "Works Suite" versions also bundled a copy of Microsoft Word, although there was never a newer version bundled than Word 2002. A possible reason for this might be that Word 2003 or later does not run on Windows 9x or Windows Me operating systems.[4]

As of 2008, "Works Suite" versions have been discontinued, only the standalone Works software is available at retail; while system builders and OEMs can choose between it and Works Suite 2008 (which includes only Works and Word 2003).

Features

Microsoft Works has built-in compatibility for the Microsoft Office document formats (DOC and XLS), including, but not limited to, the ability of the Works Word Processor to open Microsoft Word documents and the ability of the Works Spreadsheet to open Microsoft Excel workbooks. Newer versions include task panes but do not include significantly updated features. Even in the latest version (Version 9.0), the Windows 95-era icons and toolbars have not been updated to stay consistent with modern application software. Version 9.0 which offers Windows Vista compatibility, is available in two editions, an advertisement-free paid version, available in retail and OEM versions and an ad-supported free version (Works SE) which is available only to OEMs for preinstalling on new computers.

While its utility for larger organizations is limited by its use of proprietary native .WKS (spreadsheet), .WDB (database) and .WPS (word processor) file formats, the simplicity and ease of integrating database/spreadsheet data into word processor documents (e.g., mail merge) allow it to remain an option for some small and home-based business owners. Version 4.5a is particularly noted in this respect. The database management system, while a "flat file", i.e. non-relational, allows the novice user to perform complex transformations through formulas (which use standard algebraic syntax and can be self-referential) and user-defined reports which can be copied as text to the clipboard.

By installing the 2007 Office System Compatibility Pack, the Works Word Processor and Spreadsheet can import and export Office Open XML document formats, although they are converted rather than being operated upon natively. The Works Calendar can store appointments, integrates with the Windows Address Book, as well as Address Book's successor, Windows Contacts and can remind users of birthdays and anniversaries. It supports importing and exporting iCalendar (.ICS) files. It does not however support subscribing to iCalendar files or publishing them online via WebDAV. Up to version 8, using the Works Task Launcher, the calendar and contacts from Windows Address Book could be synchronized with portable devices. In Works 9.0, the sync capability has been removed.[5]

Due to its low cost ($40 retail, $10 OEMs), companies frequently pre-installed Works on their consumer grade machines.

For several years, Microsoft considered having an advertising-supported version of Works. In August 2007, it said that it would start piloting a version called Works SE (which stands for Sponsored Edition), but the company gave few details on where or how the product would be offered.[6] Microsoft has subsequently started offering Works SE in a limited set of countries (United States, France, Canada, Poland and the United Kingdom) with little marketing to back it up, due to its being primarily a pilot project as of April 2008.[6] Proof of this is shown in Microsoft Office Starter 2010 that includes advertising.

File format compatibility

Microsoft makes file format converter filters for Microsoft Word for opening and saving to Works Word Processor format.[7][8] Microsoft Office Excel can import newer Works Spreadsheets because the newer Works Spreadsheet also uses the Excel format but with a different extension (*.xlr).[9] There is an import filter for older Works 2.0 spreadsheet format (*.wks);[10] however it may be disabled in the registry by newer Microsoft Office Service packs.[11] As far as Works Spreadsheet 3.x/4.x/2000 (*.wks) and Works database (any version of *.wdb) files are concerned, Microsoft does not provide an import filter for Excel or Access. There are third party converters available for converting these filetypes to Excel spreadsheets: For database files (*.wdb) there is also a donateware utility;[12] for spreadsheet (*.wks) and database (*.wdb) files a commercial solution is available.[13]

A general C++ library, abandoned in 2007, which has been experimentally published as wps_test,[14] works for extracting text from many different Microsoft Works versions' documents with rudimentary formatting. It was later published as "libwps".[15] As of February 2011, no mainstream versions of OpenOffice.org, AbiWord, or KWord have included it for various reasons. OpenOffice.org has not included it because of restrictions with the Joint Copyright Assignment (JCA),[16] but OpenOffice.org variants such as OxygenOffice, Go-oo, LibreOffice and NeoOffice have included libwps. Also, libwps provides a command line converter. A commercially-available solution for converting to and from Microsoft Works files on the Macintosh platform is the MacLinkPlus product from DataViz. Free online conversion services are also available.[17] Microsoft Works uses structured storage as a container format for its data. An iFilter for Works file formats to be indexed and searched is not yet available.

Version history

Microsoft Works 2.0 for DOS.

Works for MS-DOS

  • Microsoft Works 1.05
  • Microsoft Works 1.12
  • Microsoft Works 2.0 and 2.00a
  • Microsoft Works 3.0, 3.0a and 3.0b

Works for Mac OS

  • Microsoft Works 1.0
  • Microsoft Works 2.0
  • Microsoft Works 3.0
  • Microsoft Works 4.0

Works for Microsoft Windows

  • Microsoft Works 2.0 and 2.0a (Windows 3.x)
  • Microsoft Works 3.0, 3.0a and 3.0b (Windows 3.x)
  • Microsoft Works 4.0, 4.0a, 4.5 and 4.5a (Windows 95)
  • Microsoft Works 2000 (v.5) (Microsoft Works Suite 2000)
  • Microsoft Works 6.0 (Microsoft Works Suite 2001 and 2002) - Last version for Windows 95
  • Microsoft Works 7.0 (Microsoft Works Suite 2003 and 2004) - Last version for Windows 98 (Original release)
  • Microsoft Works 8.0 (Microsoft Works Suite 2005) - Last version for Windows 98 SE/Me/2000- Fully compatible with Windows Vista 32-bit
  • Microsoft Works 8.5 (Free update for Works 8.0 and Microsoft Works Suite 2006 users)
  • Microsoft Works 9.0 (Microsoft Works Plus 2008) - First version fully compatible with all versions of Windows Vista

See also

References

External links


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