Microsoft Excel has become a household term – everyone knows about it or has used it before. Most of us use Excel in our day to day lives as professionals, students or even to keep track of our admin like budgets and spending.
But how did it all start? How did Excel become one of the most well known and most widely used desktop applications in the world? In this blog post we explore the history of Excel and the reasons why it is such a powerful tool for business intelligence – and why we have built our business around it!
Early History of Excel
In 1982, Lotus Development Corporation launched Lotus 1-2-3, an application that allowed users to create spreadsheets on personal computers (PCs) and it ran on a Microsoft operating system called MS-DOS. In the same year, Microsoft launched their own spreadsheet application, Multiplan. Lotus 1-2-3 continued to dominate the spreadsheet market – until Microsoft took the lead with their first version of Excel in 1985.
Microsoft developed its first version of Excel for Apple Inc.’s Macintosh computer. This initial version of Excel featured visualization graphics and was much faster at processing data than its competitor program, Lotus 1-2-3. Excel quickly gained traction in the spreadsheet market.
Lotus was slow to release a Windows version of their Lotus 1-2-3 application. On the contrary, Microsoft released a Windows version of Excel which led to Excel becoming the most widely used spreadsheet application in the mid-1990s. The successful launch of Excel for both Macintosh and Windows allowed Microsoft to position themselves as a leading PC software developer.
Nowadays, the history of Excel might not be as widely spoken about as Excel’s many uses, although there are sure to be many casual mentions of Excel at the office watercooler.
New Features, Trusted Name
Leveraging their success from earlier versions of Excel, Microsoft continued to launch additional features and updates to their world-class spreadsheet application. A spreadsheet is a digitised version of paper worksheets. Spreadsheets are made up of multiple cells which, when used together, make up a grid of rows and columns that hold data -typically text or numbers.
Today, Excel boasts a host of built-in features and automation processes. Excel can be adapted to suit almost any business process and, when used together with other Microsoft applications such as Word and PowerPoint, the spreadsheet application proves to be a game changer for boosting efficiency and streamlining collaboration between team members and departments – making Excel a powerful and obvious data management and reporting choice for most businesses.
Large corporations, small businesses and individuals choose to manage and manipulate their data with Excel because the application offers a pool of powerful features – all built into one handy desktop application. From simple functions to complex visualisation methods and automation processes, Excel’s powerful features can be adapted to all levels of expertise.
Although Excel has a seemingly endless list of useful features, these are some of the most widely used and most powerful ways to use Excel:
- Analyse and model almost any dataset with multiple cells and grids
- Use functions to manipulate how data is presented
- Easily find the correct data point with a simple search
- Choose to visualise data with a range of data charts and graphs, with the option to choose a recommended chart based on the selection of data
- Access your spreadsheets from anywhere with online versions of Excel and easy collaboration options for teams
- Create interactive PivotCharts and Tables for more meaningful data representation
- Efficiently automate frequently used functions and processes when creating reports
- Easily personalise your data with sophisticated designs
- Build larger, more complex spreadsheets which can be used in other data processing programmes
- Share your data and visualisations through Excel Services and across Microsoft Suites
The powerful features of Excel have made it an essential tool used by professionals and businesses in day to day operations and projects. With rapid developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud-based technologies, Excel will continue to be a dominant business intelligence (BI) application to suit almost all businesses. Summit Solutions strives to offer training solutions to add value to businesses through helping people at all levels, work more effectively and efficiently in Excel.