Watch Your Money
Fact is AppleWorks dominates the Apple II application market. If there's a standard user interface on the Apple II, it's the file-folder metaphor of AppleWorks.
Add-ons and add-ins have proved invaluable in extending the lifespan of the integrated program: Everything from spelling checkers to tax preparers works in, or with, Apple-Works. A recent addition to the list is. Alpha Check, an easy-to-use personal finance manager that operates from inside AppleWorks.
This $39.95 program can automate much of your household (or small-business) finances, although its main purpose is check writing and tracking. Compared to Quicken, the most popular personal financial package for the Apple II, Alpha Check has an amazing number of features. It can prenumber and predate checks, automatically fill out the longhand dollar amount, update the check register to keep the correct balance, and then print out the check complete with the payee name for proper addressing. Alpha Check can also generate reports using Apple Works' database, transfer data to the spreadsheet, keep track of tax-deductible items, and print mailing labels.
Alpha Check isn't a financial panacea, though. The program's documentation is horrible. Not only are there significant omissions (instructions on using some of the program's features are just not included), but what is there is often so poorly written that it's impossible to follow. More disturbing is that with an extra press of the Escape key, something easily done in AppleWorks. You'll find youself back at the Main Menu screen. To return to Alpha Check, data file. Of course, this isn't really Alpha Check's fault—the program is, after all, a highly customized AppleWorks database file—but it is a good reminder that not everything works best from inside the integrated software.
With some work, patience, and experimentation, however, Alpha Check can easily grow on you. It may not be as polished as its commercial competitors, but its price is certainly right. And if you're a dedicated AppleWorks user, you'll find that its familiar operation outweighs its quirks.
For more information about Alpha Check, contact its publisher, ACTAsoft, at 19700 Wells Drive. Woodland Hills, California 91364: (818) 996-6731.