Types of Spreadsheet Packages

By Andrea Carson

Spreadsheets are used for organizing and analyzing numeric data. While many spreadsheet packages are designed to work on specific operating systems, some can be used cross-platform. Excel from Microsoft is the gold standard which other spreadsheet packages are designed to emulate. Before Excel reached the pinnacle of popularity, Lotus 1-2-3 was the spreadsheet program most widely used.

Microsoft Excel

Excel from Microsoft has set the standard for all other spreadsheet packages. Excel was the first to divide spreadsheets into workbooks. In 1984, Excel was written for the Apple Macintosh computer. It was one of the first spreadsheets to use a graphical interface. In 1987, when Windows was first released, Excel was the first application designed to run on the new operating system. By late in the 1980s, other companies had released their own versions of spreadsheet programs, many of them attempting to emulate Excel in appearance and functionality.

Lotus 1-2-3 Release 9.8

In February 2008, Lotus 1-2-3 Release 9.8 became available and is now known as Lotus SmartSuite. This version has a new tool using speech-enabled SmartMaster templates, which allow users to perform common tasks using speech. The @Functions have been improved to be more compatible with Microsoft Excel, and users can skip typing formulas, since this new version recognizes terms such as "total" and "average" along with dozens of other terms to return a result.

Quattro Pro From Corel

Corel's offering into the spreadsheet arena as part of the Word Perfect Office Suite is Quattro Pro. Quattro Pro contains notebooks that are divided into worksheets. As with other spreadsheet packages, additional worksheets can be added to the notebooks, and a notebook can contain only one spreadsheet or multiple spreadsheets which are compatible with Excel.


This spreadsheet package is not as powerful as some of the others but does contain some interesting features. GS-Calc is downloadable to most portable devices and contains more than 2 million rows and over 2,000 columns. The program contains around 300 built-in formulas. This package features password protection and encryption and in the read-only mode formulas can be hidden. Text created in dBase III and IV and Excel '02 files can be imported. GS-Calc features an amazing 20,000 undo and redo levels.

Bye Design Ltd.

A Microsoft partner, Bye Design Ltd., developed a freeware spreadsheet program primarily for personal data assistants which can also be used on desktop computing devices. The spreadsheet package supports hundreds of spreadsheet functions including file editing, formatting, macro creation and form tools including check boxes, drop-down lists and combo boxes. Spreadsheets created using Excel 95/97 and Pocket Excel files can easily be imported into this program.