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Microsoft Excel is a popular spreadsheet program that was developed by Microsoft. It is designed for computers that use the Windows operating system, and it can also be used on computers that use Mac OS as well. It has an easy to use interface with a number of tools that can make creating a spreadsheet fast and simple. This combined with a powerful marketing campaign has made Excel one of the most popular software programs in the world. Excel is typically bundled in the Microsoft Office package of programs.
Excel is not the first spreadsheet program to be produced by Microsoft. A spreadsheet program called Multiplan was first released by the company in 1982, but it eventually lost market share due to the release of Lotus 1-2-3. Because of this, Microsoft decided to create a spreadsheet program that could effectively compete against the dominance of Lotus. The very first version of Excel was introduced in 1985, and was available on the Mac. The first version for Windows would be released two years later. Because Lotus didn't bring their spreadsheet program to Windows quickly enough, Excel begin to gain a larger share of the market. By 1988 Excel had surpassed 1-2-3, and it is one of the factors behind the success of Microsoft as a software company.
The latest version of the software is Excel 11, and it is part of the Microsoft Office 2003 bundle. An Excel file will come in the form of .xls. A number of changes can be made to the interface of the program, but the GUI will always be composed of rows and cells. Information can be placed in cells which will have an effect on the data that may be present in other cells. In addition to this, Excel gives the user a large amount of control over the look of cells and the information that is placed in them. Both Microsoft Word and PowerPoint were designed to conform to Excel.
The introduction of Visual Basic with Excel allowed a number of tasks to be automated. Since 1993, Visual Basic has become an integral part of Excel, along with the introduction of the integrated development environment. However, the automated properties of Excel with Visual Basic has caused a number of macro viruses to be created, though many of them are now blocked by standard antivirus programs. Microsoft also allows users to disable the use of macros if they choose to, and this has largely eliminated the problem.
While Microsoft Excel was not well known during the late 1980s, it has now become the most widely spreadsheet software, though it is facing competition from a number of companies, most notably Google. Despite this, Microsoft has made a name for itself with the release of Excel, and next to Windows, it is one of the most well known software packages in the world. It has excellent calculation tools, and it can effectively be used for graphing as well. However, the software wouldn't have the dominance that it has today if it hadn't been for Multiplan, the predecessor that started it all.
About the Author: Michael Colucci is a writer for Microsoft Excel which is part of the Knowledge Search network