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Microsoft Works was an office suite that was available from the Microsoft Corporation from 1986 to 2009, though the last classic Mac OS version was released in 1994. It is considered by most to be a smaller, less expensive version of Microsoft Office suite; it includes the Microsoft Works word processor, the Works spreadsheet, and the Works database.


Older versions of Works are similar to the Macintosh-based program AppleWorks, where all types of documents are handled by one single program (new documents are created through the TaskLauncher wizard). Newer versions, however, (5.0 and above) include separate applications for Word Processing, Database, and Spreadsheet which can be started through the less wizard-like updated TaskLauncher. New versions also include an address book, where previous versions would handle addresses through the database program.

Microsoft Works now has built-in compatibility for Microsoft Office documents, including, but not limited to, the ability of the Word Processor to open Microsoft Word documents and the ability of the Spreadsheet to open Microsoft Excel workbooks. Unlike other programs, which edit the document in its native format, Works converts the document to Works' native format, saving the converted document in the user's Temp folder. Any changes made to the converted document are first saved in the Works format in the temp folder and are then converted back to the Microsoft Office format.

Several consumer machines, for example, those sold by eMachines, come with Microsoft Works preinstalled, as it provides standard users with a low-cost office suite, though most business users still use Microsoft Office, as Works is often regarded as inferior and fiddly to use.

Indeed, it is sometimes quoted "Microsoft Works is a contradiction".

Version history (Mac OS)[]

  • Microsoft Works 1.0 (1986)
  • Microsoft Works 2.0 (1988)
  • Microsoft Works 3.0 (1992)
  • Microsoft Works 4.0 (1994)


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