4. Spreadsheet Software

What is it?

A spreadsheet is a piece of software which is used to carry out calculations and modelling scenarios.

What is it used for?
  • Graphs and charts
  • Modelling
  • Forecasting

  • Mail merge source
  • Company accounts
How were things done before spreadsheets?

As little as 30 years ago, people used calculators, slide rules and paper to calculate anything mathematical.  In businesses and banks all financial transactions were recorded by hand into various accounting books.  This all took a lot of time and was prone to errors, especially where long and complex calculations were involved.

Spreadsheets today

Spreadsheets are very common in business, as they are excellent for handling data such as sales, engineering or financial data.

On the screen, the working area of a spreadsheet looks like a grid. Each rectangle within the grid is called a 'cell'. Cells are identified by their row and column position within the grid.

Formulas are used to automatically perform calculations on the data which has been entered.
Many businesses use spreadsheets to keep track of financial transactions, inventory, stock flow.


- Complex calculations can be performed very quickly.

- By using formulas you can change a variable and the calculation will automatically be updated

- Professional looking graphs and charts can be created very quickly from a range of data which allows you to view the data pictorially

- Spreadsheets can be used to model different scenarios to find out what is likely to happen when a variable is changed.  This can be done using 'what .. if' and goal seek tools.

- By using historical data, forcasts can be made about what is likely to happen during the next time period.


challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Spreadsheet Software