7. General Purpose Applications Software

A general purpose application, sometimes known as ‘off-the-shelf’ is the sort of software that you use at home and school.  Examples include word processors, spreadsheets, databases, desktop publishing packages, graphics packages etc.

This type of software tries to be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’.  It provides many features that the majority of users will want e.g. formatting text, creating charts, organising tables.  But it does try to be’ all things to all people’ and so there will be a vast number of features that you may never use e.g. statistical functions, mail merge.  This makes the storage size of these applications fairly large.

There are several good reasons for using general purpose software:

  • It is relatively cheap
  • It is easily available from most computer shops
  • It will have been thoroughly tested so there won’t be any serious problems or bugs
  • There will be lots of user support i.e. books, user guides, online help and discussion forums on the Internet
Examples of use:

Word processing application - writing reports, memos, letters to customers

Spreadsheet application - keeping simple company accounts, calculating employee commission payments, simple stock control system, modelling

Database application - keeping customer records, sales records, appointments system

Desktop publishing application - creating leaflets, posters, business cards

Presentation software - creating presentations to show to customers or staff

Graphics application - manipulating images that can be used at home, school or a business

Web design application - creating personal or business websites


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

Click on this link: General Purpose Software