A spreadsheet is an interactive computer application for organization, analysis and storage of data in tabular form. Spreadsheets are developed as computerized simulations of paper accounting worksheets. The program operates on data entered in cells of a table. Each cell may contain either numeric or text data, or the results of formulas that automatically calculate and display a value based on the contents of other cells. A spreadsheet may also refer to one such electronic document.
Spreadsheet users can adjust any stored value and observe the effects on calculated values. This makes the spreadsheet useful for “what-if” analysis since many cases can be rapidly investigated without manual recalculation. Modern spreadsheet software can have multiple interacting sheets, and can display data either as text and numerals, or in graphical form.
Besides performing basic arithmetic and mathematical functions, modern spreadsheets provide built-in functions for common financial and statistical operations. Such calculations as net present value or standard deviation can be applied to tabular data with a pre-programmed function in a formula. Spreadsheet programs also provide conditional expressions, functions to convert between text and numbers, and functions that operate on strings of text.
Spreadsheets have replaced paper-based systems throughout the business world. Although they were first developed for accounting or bookkeeping tasks, they now are used extensively in any context where tabular lists are built, sorted, and shared.
LANPAR, available in 1969, was the first electronic spreadsheet on mainframe and time sharing computers. LANPAR was an acronym: LANguage for Programming Arrays at Random. VisiCalc was the first electronic spreadsheet on a microcomputer, and it helped turn the Apple II computer into a popular and widely used system. Lotus 1-2-3 was the leading spreadsheet when DOS was the dominant operating system. Excel now has the largest market share on the Windows and Macintosh platforms. A spreadsheet program is a standard feature of an office productivity suite; since the advent of web apps, office suites now also exist in web app form. Web based spreadsheets are a relatively new category.
The word “spreadsheet” came from “spread” in its sense of a newspaper or magazine item (text or graphics) that covers two facing pages, extending across the center fold and treating the two pages as one large one. The compound word “spread-sheet” came to mean the format used to present book-keeping ledgers—with columns for categories of expenditures across the top, invoices listed down the left margin, and the amount of each payment in the cell where its row and column intersect—which were, traditionally, a “spread” across facing pages of a bound ledger (book for keeping accounting records) or on oversized sheets of paper (termed “analysis paper”) ruled into rows and columns in that format and approximately twice as wide as ordinary paper]
Batch spreadsheet report generator
In 1962 this concept of the spreadsheet, called BCL for Business Computer Language, was implemented on an IBM 1130 and in 1963 was ported to an IBM 7040 by R. Brian Walsh at Marquette University, Wisconsin. This program was written in Fortran. Primitive timesharing was available on those machines. In 1968 BCL was ported by Walsh to the IBM 360/67 timesharing machine at Washington State University.
LANPAR spreadsheet compiler
A key invention in the development of electronic spreadsheets was made by Rene K. PardoandRemy Landau, who filed in 1970 U.S. Patent 4,398,249 on a spreadsheet automatic natural order calculation algorithm..
The LANPAR system was implemented on GE400 and Honeywell 6000 online timesharing systems, enabling users to program remotely via computer terminals and modems.
Autoplan/Autotab spreadsheet programming language
In 1968, three former employees from the General Electric computer company headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona set out to start their own software development house.
IBM Financial Planning and Control System]
The IBM Financial Planning and Control System was developed in 1976, by Brian Ingham at IBM Canada. It was implemented by IBM in at least 30 countries. It ran on an IBM mainframe and was among the first applications for financial planning developed with APL that completely hid the programming language from the end-user.
APLDOT modeling language
An example of an early “industrial weight” spreadsheet was APLDOT, developed in 1976 at the United States Railway Association on an IBM
The application was used successfully for many years in developing such applications as financial and costing models for the US Congress and for Conrail.
Because of Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston’s implementation of VisiCalc on the Apple II in 1979 and the IBM PC in 1981, the spreadsheet concept became widely known in the late 1970s and early 1980s. VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet that combined all essential features of modern spreadsheet applications
SuperCalc was a spreadsheet application published by Sorcim in 1980, and originally bundled (along with WordStar) as part of the CP/M software package included with the Osborne 1 portable computer. It quickly became the de facto standard spreadsheet for CP/M and was ported to MS-DOS in 1982.
Microsoft released the first version of Excel for the Macintosh on September 30, 1985, and then ported it to Windows, with the first version being numbered 2.05 and released in November 1987.
Web based spreadsheets
With the advent of advanced web technologies such as Ajax circa 2005, a new generation of online spreadsheets has emerged. Equipped with a rich Internet application user experience, the best web based online spreadsheets have many of the features seen in desktop spreadsheet applications.
A number of companies have attempted to break into the spreadsheet market with programs based on very different paradigms. Lotus introduced what is likely the most successful example, Lotus Improv, which saw some commercial success, notably in the financial world where its powerful data mining capabilities remain well respected to this day.
Answer The Following Questions:
- Elaborate your understanding about Spreadsheets.
- Explain the History of Spreadsheets.
- What is the use of different types of Spreadsheets according to you?