Spreadsheets are a powerful tool that helped legitimize the personal computer for business use in the early 1980’s. They paved the way for the software revolution that has unfolded so explosively since then. Today, spreadsheet software ships with almost every new personal computer today, and most people have at least some experience with this type of software.
What are Spreadsheets?
All spreadsheet programs have several features in common. Each one is:
1. Composed of rows and columns that together make up thousands (or millions) of cells.
2. Into each cell, the user can input numbers, alphanumeric text (letters and numbers) or formulas. The formulas can be written in such a way that they refer to the data in other cells, thus creating a linkage between the cells. A special type of formula is called a function, which can act on either numbers or text (or on its own, such as displaying the current time). For example, MS Excel has a function called UPPER() that converts all text in another cell – regardless of the case – to upper case text. Today’s spreadsheet software applications have hundreds or thousands of pre-configured functions built-in and ready to use.
3. When you input data into any one cell on the spreadsheet and press Enter, all of the cells are recalculated and, if necessary, updated with new values (if they contain formulas). In this way, spreadsheets automatically update and re-calculate themselves with each change anywhere on the spreadsheet.
What Are They Used For?
Spreadsheets are used for many purposes, both business and personal. In general, they are used to:
a. analyze data
b. report or present data
c. store data (used as a database)
What is the Name of the First Spreadsheet Program?
VisiCalc is widely recognized as being the first spreadsheet program to be commercially available. This software was first released for the Apple II computer in 1979, and it was a major factor in changing the general perception of the personal computer from that of being merely a hobbyist’s toy to being a serious tool for business professionals and householders.
Spreadsheet Programs Today
Soon after VisiCalc came Lotus 1-2-3, and right on its heels was the first version of Microsoft Excel (at that time created for the Mac). MS Excel has become the most widely-used spreadsheet program available today.
John Abrams a Microsoft Office expert has been working in the technology industry for the last 5 years. As a technical expert, he has written technical blogs, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as www.office.com/setup