A Spreadsheet is a computer program that imitates a paper worksheet. It shows a large sheet (like a sheet of paper) that has many cells in a grid of rows and columns. Users can put words or numbers into the cells, to make headings and store information (usually numbers). You can also move the grid lines around so that some cells are bigger than others, and change the color or size of text/font, the same way font/text is changed in a word processor. You can even put pictures in the worksheets, make multiple pages, and print out their results on real paper.
The primary reason most people use spreadsheets is for automatic calculations. Spreadsheets can be designed to add up the items/amounts on a bill, calculate sales tax, and even calculate income tax. A user can add and subtract the numbers here, even if the numbers are not next to each other. This means the computer does all the math, and people only need to give the correct information.
Another strength of spreadsheets, is that they can produce diagrams, like graphs and pie-charts, based on the data the user enters. Sometimes the numbers make more sense when the computer turns them into a picture.
Popular spreadsheet software
- Microsoft Excel
- Apple Numbers
- OpenOffice.org Calc
- Google Spreadsheet
Less popular spreadsheet software
- Lotus 1-2-3 IBM, for Windows, Mac OS X & Linux, original 1983, last 2010
- Quattro Pro, for Windows, original 1989, last 2010
- Gnumeric, for Windows & Linux, original 2002, last 2010
- Kspread, Windows, Mac OS X & Linux, original 2007, last 2010
- EditGrid, internet based, like Google Spreadsheets, 2008
Old spreadsheet software
- VisiCalc, original 1979
- APLDOT modeling language: US Railway Association. 1976
- LANPAR spreadsheet compiler: Bell Canada and AT&T, 1969
- Autoplan/Autotab spreadsheet programming language: GE, 1968
- BCL, or Business Computer Language: IBM, 1963