Introduction to Spreadsheets

The term ‘spreadsheet‘ is used widely in accounting and business today. ‘Spreadsheet’ is derived from the word ‘spread’. It can be seen in the context of a newspaper or magazine where two facing pages extend or are spread across the centerfold and considered as one.

Earlier, the accounting records were maintained manually on oversized sheets of papers called ledgers. These ledgers were used to record and calculate the monetary transactions of a company. The transaction data used to be arranged in the form of a table with rows and columns. Later on, the need arose to maintain a large number of records, which was difficult to fit onto a page. This led to the concept of spreading the data across pages and thus the concept of spreadsheet came in existence.

Important Features of Spreadsheets

Computerised or electronic spreadsheets are of much more recent origin. MS Excel is one of the most professional and advanced spreadsheet software and is used by a large number of people across the world. It allows you to store, organise, calculate, and manipulate the available data in a tabular format, consisting of rows and columns. It provides inbuilt features and data analysis tools that make it easy to work with a large amount of data. It has an additional featureof representing data in the form of a chart that helps you to analyse data quickly.

Let us discuss some important features of MS Excel that are listed below:

Formulas and Functions: Formulas are mathematical expressions that are mainly used for performing simple and complex calculations. Functions are the built-in formulas which are used for calculating percentage, interest, average, etc., in MS Excel.

Formatting Features: These features are used for improving the appearance of data.

Auto Updation of Data: The data is automatically recalculated in the whole worksheet if any change is made in a single cell.

Search and Replace: This feature leads to the fast searching and instant replacing of data.

Auto Fill: This feature helps in entering data in series automatically.

Charts: Data can be viewed in a graphical form such as charts. This helps the users to understand, analyse, and comparedata in an effective manner.

Sorting: Data can be arranged (sorted) either in an ascending or a descending order.

These advanced features have made MS Excel the first choice for professionals to quickly perform lengthy and complex accounting and financial tasks, and take immediate decisions.

Some Popular Spreadsheet Softwares

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Google Sheets
  • WikiCalc
  • Gnumeric
  • LibreOffice Calc
  • Apache OpenOffice Calc

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