Sunday, April 8, 2018

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is perhaps the most popular spreadsheet use both in business and in universities. The first electronic spreadsheet dates back to 1969 when Rene Pardo and Remy Landau, then recent graduates from Harvard University, created LANPAR (LANguage for Programming Arrays at Random). It was invented to solve a problem that Bell Canada and AT&T had at the time.

The first spreadsheet on a personal computer was called VisiCalc (short for visible calculator) and was created by Daniel Bricklin and Bob Frankston in 1978. Bricklin, a Harvard Business School student, was looking for an easier way to conduct a case study.

He envisioned “an electronic blackboard and electronic chalk in a classroom”. He recruited Frankston to help him write the code. VisiCalc was an instant success and was one of the first “killer apps”.

By early 1980s, Lotus 1-2-3 was the leading spreadsheet. Lotus had bought and then discontinued VisiCalc. Borland’s Quattro Pro was another well-known product at that time.

In 1985, Microsoft Corporation came up with Excel for the Macintosh computer. This product was remarkable for its use pull down-menus and a point and click device called a mouse. Other spreadsheets use a command line interface that required knowledge of cryptic DOS command.

Microsoft Excel
When Microsoft named its spreadsheet software “Excel,” it apparently did not now that Manufacturers Hanover Trust already had an automated banking program called Excel. As part of the settlement for trademark infringement, Microsoft agreed to refer always to its product as Microsoft Excel.

Pivot tables are the single most powerful feature in all of Excel. They came along during the 90s when Microsoft and Lotus were locked in a bitter battle for dominance of the spreadsheet market. The race to continually add enhanced features to their respective products during the mid90s led to many incredible features, but none as powerful as the pivot table.
Microsoft Excel
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