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Spreadsheet Software

Spreadsheet Software:

Spreadsheet software is a software application used for organizing, analyzing and storing data in tabular form. Originally spreadsheet was developed for accounting and bookkeeping tasks with multiple rows and columns. The program is operated based on the data entered in cells of a table. Either numeric or text data is entered in the cells and based on the contents of other cells and the formula fed, the results is automatically calculate and display a value. A spreadsheet is considered as a a financial worksheet that can be used in preparing an income statement, balance sheet, etc. as it organizes numerical data into rows and columns, and is capable of doing automatic calculations and making overall adjustments based on new data. A spreadsheet may also refer to as a electronic document. Spreadsheets software has replaced many paper based systems as these are now widely used in many contexts where tabular lists can be used, modified and collaborated.

Advantages of Spreadsheet Software:

Advantages of spreadsheet software include:

  • Any stored value in a cell can be adjusted to a new value and the effects on calculated values can be observed. Hence, the spreadsheet is very useful for "what-if" analysis where several options can be checked without manual recalculation.
  • Spreadsheet software contains multiple interacting sheets and can display data as text, numerals or in graphical form. So, it provides flexible presentation of data. The generated graphic component can either be embedded within the current sheet or added in a separate sheet.
  • Basic arithmetic (summations, averages, etc.) and mathematical calculations can be easily done.
  • Spreadsheet software provide built-in functions for common financial and statistical operations such as net present value or standard deviation.
  • It also include conditional expressions, functions that is capable of doing conversion between text and numbers.
  • It also provide functions that operate on strings of text.
  • Effective data handling is possible as calculation and functionalities are easier to represent in spreadsheets.
  • Several spreadsheets can be gathered together to form a workbook which is physically represented by a file, containing all the data for the book, the sheets, and the cells with the sheets.
  • It has the ability for a formula to refer to the contents of other cells, which in turn, represent the result of a formula.
  • It has the ability to chain formulas together.
  • Automatic recalculation eliminates the need to manually request the spreadsheet program to recalculate values when values are changed in cells
  • Spreadsheet software can interact with databases, auto populate fields and also help in automation of data creation and modification.
  • The software can be shared both online and offline and allows for easy collaboration.
  • Electronic circuit design is possible with  boolean logic and graphics capabilities of a spreadsheet.
  • All relational data can be stored and all queries of SQL can be expressed by spreadsheet formulas. A query translator in the spreadsheet automatically generates the spreadsheet implementation from the SQL code.
  • To provide visual cues about the meaning of elements in the program, the program can be annotated with colors, typefaces, lines, etc..

Limitations of Spreadsheet Software:

Some of the  limitations of spreadsheet software include:

  • Data errors identification is very difficult
  • It is inefficient to handle large number of text
  • Finite number of records are restricted  
  • It is not able to scale for access and manipulating large data volumes
  • It is not able to create reports as in case of databases
  • There is a requirement of high data storage
  • Certain querying and sorting techniques are unavailable.

Web Based Spreadsheets:

Web based spreadsheets or online spreadsheets is equipped with a rich Internet application user experience. It consist of many of the features that are present in desktop spreadsheet applications. Many of these applications also have multi user collaboration features or offer real time updates from remote sources such as stock prices and currency exchange rates. The cell contents are periodically updated with a value from an external source. The cells that is updated by another user is immediately updated in a shared web-based spreadsheets. All dependent cells also get updated.

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