What is Spreadsheet Software

A spreadsheet software is a computer program (e.g. Excel, Lotus) that has efficient and accurate methods to work with numbers. You can perform very simple to ultra-complex scientific calculations with spreadsheet software.

To make your job easy, spreadsheet software provides built-in formulas/functions to work with. Spreadsheet software usually provides the ability to portray data relationships graphically and with charts.

Spreadsheet software is now a popular tool in every business house. Business houses make schedules, calculate product sales and return on investment, store customer data, and many other things with spreadsheet software. Modern spreadsheet software have multiple interactive working sheets.

What is First Spreadsheet Software

VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet computer program created by Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston. VisiCalc was released to the public in 1979, running on an Apple II computer. Lotus 1-2-3 was the next, followed by Microsoft Excel. Lotus 1-2-3 introduced cell names, macros. Microsoft outperformed Lotus 1-2-3 with its graphical user interface. You will find many spreadsheet software/ applications on the market today; however, Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Excel continue to be the market leaders.

What is Spreadsheet Software Considerations

Whether you are a novice or an experienced user of spreadsheet software, finding and mastering various functions in a spreadsheet software is a challenge. So it is better, you look different options available in different spreadsheet software before selecting one for your work. Before selecting a spreadsheet software, consider the following things:

Spreadsheet Software Considerations- system requirements

Most important system requirements for selecting a spreadsheet software:

  • Operating System
  • Computer and Processor
  • Memory
  • Disk Space
  • Monitor Resolution
  • Browsers

Considering your operating system is important before selecting your spreadsheet software. For example, Microsoft Office 2013 does not run in Windows XP operating system. If you have an older version of the operating system, then select a spreadsheet software that is suitable for your system. You have to check also whether your Operating System is 32-bit or 64-bit before selecting a spreadsheet software. For example, 32-bit Microsoft Office 2013 can run easily in 32-bit and 64-bit operating system but 64-bit Office 2013 only runs in 64-bit Operating System.

Check RAM, Processor, Disk Space, Monitor Resolution and Browsers (for web versions) before selecting a spreadsheet software. Some newer spreadsheet software eat up a considerable chunk of memory, especially if the spreadsheet software comes as part of a bundle, such as Microsoft Office Suite. A spreadsheet (say for Excel xyz.xlsx is a spreadsheet file) is not a big file, but you need smart disk space to store the spreadsheet software and relevant files.

Read More: How to choose Spreadsheet Software

Spreadsheet Software Considerations- Compatibility

After checking system requirements, think about compatibility before selecting a spreadsheet software. Make sure that your spreadsheet software runs in most popular platforms. You may buy a new MacBook Pro and transfer your spreadsheet files to your new computer. If your spreadsheet software is not compatible with Mac Operating System, it will create some unnecessary problems in your jobs. So check whether your spreadsheet software is compatible in Linux, Mac, or other popular operating system.

Generally, newer version of a spreadsheet software is backward-compatible with the earlier versions. For example, Excel 2013 supports spreadsheet files of Excel 2010, 2007 and all earlier versions. But it may not happen that your Excel 2010 spreadsheet software will support spreadsheet files of Excel 2013 spreadsheet software.

Now is time for you to compare the features of spreadsheet software. If you want to create simple spreadsheets that will store and analyze your weekly or monthly expenses or something simple like these, almost any spreadsheet software can handle this job. If you deal with huge data and your spreadsheet software will analyze these data, create charts, create graphs and do complex calculations using these data, then you need a robust spreadsheet software. Sometimes you may share your spreadsheet files with your colleague. The Internet is a good way to share documents. So make sure to select a spreadsheet software that let your colleague import and edit your spreadsheet files.

Read More: What is Spreadsheet in MS Excel

Most Popular Spreadsheet software

Popular Spreadsheet Software- Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is considered by many as the gold standard of spreadsheet software. Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet software contains features that let you create almost all things with spreadsheets.

Features: With Flash Fill, Recommended Charts, Recommended PivotTables, Quick Analysis, Time Lines, Cloud Support, Data Model and Relationships, Apps for Excel, Online share, New Functions, and other features, Microsoft Excel is the industry standard of spreadsheet software.

Difficulty Level: Excel is a robust spreadsheet program, it may take some time to learn all the features. Mastering Excel takes some time and determination.

Excel spreadsheet software is recommended for large offices, universities, laboratories and anyone else with a need to store and manipulate large quantities of data. The latest version features many redesigned interfaces that will take some time to learn.

Popular Spreadsheet Software- Lotus 1-2-3

Lotus 1-2-3 is used by many professionals. You will find Lotus 1-2-3 as a user-friendly spreadsheet software. Lotus 1-2-3 is compatible with many of the spreadsheet formats of Excel.

Features: Lotus 1-2-3 makes use of SmartLabels. SmartLabels let you insert predefined terms such as “average” and “subtotal” for quick calculations. In Lotus, you can create customized SmartLabels. With Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Same time Instant Messaging, Data-validation Add-on Lotus 1-2-3 is appropriate for professional works.

Difficulty Level: Lotus 1-2-3 is very self-explanatory. Lotus maintains an online help feature that offers solutions to most problems and questions.

Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet software is recommended for smaller offices, students, and home use. Lotus 1-2-3 is ideal for casual use, such as creating a Christmas card list or calculating monthly or weekly expenses.

Free Spreadsheet Software

You will find many freeware and shareware spreadsheet software available online. Many of them are target basis. Some fulfill the needs of school administrators or some target household budget. Evaluate several spreadsheet software before you choose one. Almost all spreadsheet software have a free trial period or limited-feature demo version. Google offers a free spreadsheet software with basic functions as part of Google Docs.

If you choose the freeware spreadsheet software, be aware that the files created by your spreadsheet software may not work with commercial-grade programs like Excel or Lotus 1-2-3. Look for spreadsheet software that supports .csv or .txt files for the best shot at compatibility.

Click here to get the detailed comparison of different types of spreadsheet software.


Hello! Welcome to my Excel blog! It took me some time to be a fan of Excel. But now I am a die-hard fan of MS Excel. I learn new ways of doing things with Excel and share here. Not only how to guide on Excel, but you will get also topics on Finance, Statistics, Data Analysis, and BI. Stay tuned!

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