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A spreadsheet is a computer application for organization, analysis, and storage of
data Data (; ) are individual facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used ...

data
in tabular form. Spreadsheets were developed as computerized analogs of paper accounting worksheets. The program operates on data entered in cells of a table. Each cell may contain either numeric or text data, or the results of
formula In science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well a ...

formula
s that automatically calculate and display a value based on the contents of other cells. A spreadsheet may also refer to one such electronic document. Spreadsheet users can adjust any stored value and observe the effects on calculated values. This makes the spreadsheet useful for "what-if" analysis since many cases can be rapidly investigated without manual recalculation. Modern spreadsheet software can have multiple interacting sheets and can display data either as text and numerals or in graphical form. Besides performing basic
arithmetic Arithmetic (from the Ancient Greek, Greek wikt:en:ἀριθμός#Ancient Greek, ἀριθμός ''arithmos'', 'number' and wikt:en:τική#Ancient Greek, τική wikt:en:τέχνη#Ancient Greek, έχνη ''tiké échne', 'art' or 'cr ...
and
mathematical function In mathematics, a functionThe words map, mapping, transformation, correspondence, and operator are often used synonymously. . from a set (mathematics), set to a set assigns to each element of exactly one element of . The set is called the Do ...
s, modern spreadsheets provide built in functions for common
financial accountancy Financial accounting is the field of accounting concerned with the summary, analysis and reporting of financial transactions related to a business. This involves the preparation of Financial statement audit, financial statements available for pu ...
and statistical operations. Such calculations as
net present value The net present value (NPV) or net present worth (NPW) applies to a series of cash flows occurring at different times. The present value of a cash flow depends on the interval of time between now and the cash flow. It also depends on the discount ra ...
or
standard deviation In statistics, the standard deviation is a measure of the amount of variation or statistical dispersion, dispersion of a set of values. A low standard deviation indicates that the values tend to be close to the mean (also called the expected v ...

standard deviation
can be applied to tabular data with a pre-programmed function in a formula. Spreadsheet programs also provide conditional expressions, functions to convert between text and numbers, and functions that operate on
strings String or strings may refer to: *String (structure), a long flexible structure made from threads twisted together, which is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects Arts, entertainment, and media Films * Strings (1991 film), ''Strings'' (1991 fil ...
of text. Spreadsheets have replaced paper-based systems throughout the business world. Although they were first developed for accounting or
bookkeeping Bookkeeping is the recording of financial transactions, and is part of the process of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement ' Measurement is the number, numerical quantification (science), quantification of the variab ...
tasks, they now are used extensively in any context where tabular lists are built, sorted, and shared.


Basics

LANPAR, available in 1969, was the first electronic spreadsheet on mainframe and time sharing computers. LANPAR was an acronym: LANguage for Programming Arrays at Random.
VisiCalc VisiCalc (for "visible calculator") is the first spreadsheet A spreadsheet is a computer application for organization, analysis, and storage of data in tabular form. Spreadsheets were developed as computerized analogs of paper accounting works ...

VisiCalc
(1979) was the first electronic spreadsheet on a microcomputer, and it helped turn the Apple II computer into a popular and widely used system.
Lotus 1-2-3 Lotus 1-2-3 is a discontinued spreadsheet A spreadsheet is a computer application for organization, analysis, and storage of data in table (information), tabular form. Spreadsheets were developed as computerized analogs of paper accounting Wo ...
was the leading spreadsheet when
DOS DOS (, ) is a platform-independent acronym for disk operating system which later became a common shorthand for disk-based operating systems on IBM PC compatible IBM PC compatible computers are similar to the original IBM Personal Computer, IB ...

DOS
was the dominant operating system.
Microsoft Excel Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet A spreadsheet is a computer application for organization, analysis, and storage of data in tabular form. Spreadsheets were developed as computerized analogs of paper accounting worksheets. The program ope ...
now has the largest market share on the
Windows Microsoft Windows, commonly referred to as Windows, is a group of several proprietary {{Short pages monitor