In early days of personal computers, a series of “Works” applications were released with a few ideas in common. Software packages such as Microsoft Works, AppleWorks GS (for the Apple II GS), and ClarisWorks, all contained a package of simplified applications sold as a set and usually were accessed through a launcher application. For example, when launching AppleWorks, a user would launch the application and decide if they wanted to create a word processing file, a spreadsheet, a drawing document, or a database by clicking the appropriate icon.
ClarisWorks has a complicated history. In general, it began as AppleWorks (with earlier versions under different names), switched to ClarisWorks, switched back to AppleWorks, and was replaced by iWork.
This CD is an installer for ClarisWorks 4.0. Although undated, its version number places it in 1996.
A fascinating history of ClarisWorks/AppleWorks is available from Bob Hearn on a page published by MIT. I wholeheartedly agree with the author who writes, “RIP ClarisWorks, ‘the best-loved application for the Mac,’ 1991–2007.”
Interestingly, this history is somewhat preserved by Apple’s iWork concept. Currently, Apple’s three productivity apps—Keynote, Pages, and Numbers—are referred to collectively as iWork. Although the apps are separate, their user interfaces and behaviors make the apps function very much as a set. This may also be the reason so many users incorrectly refer to iWork as “iWorks.”