Word Processing documents can be opened directly only in Pages (AppleWorks 6 only).
Draw Documents can be opened directly only in EazyDraw (the more expensive version from their website, not the cheaper one from the Mac App Store, and you will need v4.0 'Retro' not the most recent version) or Intaglio (though this appears not to be able to handle very complex drawings).
Spreadsheets can be opened directly only in Numbers.
Presentations can be opened directly only in Keynote.
To use other programs, or open Painting or Database documents at all, you must export from AppleWorks first.
If you can no longer run AppleWorks you cannot open these document types.
This article examines the situation in a lot more detail:
This does not help.
I have my programs on a new Imac. The old backup was downloaded.
My appleworks files cannot be read by pages.
Why would Apple drop the ball on older document conversions from their own programs?
This pretty well convinces me that I will have to goe with the other system when this Mac dies.
Nancy, Roger has given you all information. If you don't have documents from AppleWorks 6 then Pages can't read the word processing documents and so forth. AppleWorks isn't supported since 2004 if I recall it right.
I understand you frustration but when ever one is to upgrade a system one has to make sure and take precautions that one can continue to work.
Which version of AppleWorks do you have? which kind of documents? Do you still have the old computer?
as previously said, if your documents are from an older version of AppleWorks ( or if there are no text documents ), Pages will not read them ; in this case, the best solution is either to find an old computer or to use some virtualization method to run AppleWorks 6 or potentially MacLinkPlus Deluxe to convert them in AppleWorks 6.0 documents ( which can them be opened in Pages ).
If you do not have an old computer and you want only to retrieve the text, AbiWord may be able to do that (see http://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/File_formats_that_should_be_supported_by_Scribus_ (wish_list) ), you can also test libmwaw ( by downloading mwawOSX on http://sourceforge.net/projects/libmwaw/files/ ) which is still far from perfect ( but can probably retrieve the text and pictures with some formattings ) or even use TextEdit...