Introduction to Spreadsheet Concepts

What is a Spreadsheet?

A spreadsheet (or spreadsheet program) is software that permits numerical data to be used and to perform automatic calculations on numbers contained in a table. It is also possible to automate complex calculations by using a large number of parameters and by creating tables called worksheets.

In addition, spreadsheets can also easily produce graphic representations of the data entered:

  • histograms
  • curves
  • sector charts
  • ...
Therefore, the spreadsheet is a multi-use tool that works as well for secretarial activities that involve organizing large quantities of data, as at the strategic and decisional level by creating graphical representation of synthesised information.

The Main Spreadsheets

Numerous spreadsheets have been produced by the main software companies. The main spreadsheets are:

  • Microsoft Excel, in the Microsoft Office office suite
  • Sun StarOffice Calc, in the StarOffice suite
  • OpenCalc, in the OpenOffice suite
  • IBM/Lotus 1-2-3 in the SmartSuite suite
  • Corel Quattro Pro in the WordPerfect suite
  • KSpread in the KOffice free suite from Linux

Examples in the following articles are based on the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, but the other spreadsheets contain the same functionalities.

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