Excel at 30: A Look Back on Spreadsheets

/ November 24, 2017/ Backend

30 years ago, November 1987, MS Excel was officially launched. It is a spreadsheet software used primarily for bookkeeping purposes.

But before that, there was Lotus 123 by IBM, and VisCalc by Apple before that. VisCalc was the first electronic spreadsheet on a microcomputer. Lotus 123 was the dominant spreadsheet when DOS was still the dominant OS.

But things changed when Microsoft introduced the GUI. The icon buttons made things easier rather than typing a slash command we used to do with Lotus.

Over the years, Excel evolved its use of spreadsheets. Each cell on a grid can show a result for a formula that could be as simple as a mathematical operation to as complex as a logical statement. And because each cell in an Excel sheet can carry a string of commands or formulas, it became easier to make relationships between cells. Thus, database functions and relationships began.

Come to think of it, spreadsheets and database are two different things. But both are inter-operable. Database starts with tables, tables that you lay down on spreadsheets. Spreadsheets can transform data into graphs.

Somehow, a user of Excel can auto-populate a result or automate a form by creating a formula as long as it follows the correct syntax. Logical statements plus mathematical equations are the basis of simple programming and database skills.

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