Spreadsheet Software

What Does Spreadsheet Software Mean?

Spreadsheet software is a software application capable of organizing, storing and analyzing data in tabular form. The application can provide digital simulation of paper accounting worksheets. They can also have multiple interacting sheets with data represented in text, numeric or in graphic form. With these capabilities, spreadsheet software has replaced many paper-based systems, especially in the business world. Originally developed as an aid for accounting and bookkeeping tasks, spreadsheets are now widely used in other contexts where tabular lists can be used, modified and collaborated.


Spreadsheet software is also known as a spreadsheet program or spreadsheet application.

Techopedia Explains Spreadsheet Software

In comparison to word processors, spreadsheet software provides a distinct advantage when working with numbers. Calculation and functionalities are easier to represent in spreadsheets than in word processors, and thus effective data handling is possible. Spreadsheet software also provides flexible presentation of data. This software is capable of interacting with databases, can populate fields and can also help in automation of data creation and modification. Spreadsheet software can be shared both online and offline and allows for easy collaboration.

Data in spreadsheet is represented by cells, organized as rows and columns and can be text or numeric. Features like conditional expressions, functions to operate on text and numbers are also available in spreadsheets. Calculations can be automated, and spreadsheets are generally easier to use than other data processing applications.

However, limitations of spreadsheet software include difficulty in identifying data errors, restriction of finite number of records, inefficient in handling large amounts of text, inability to scale for access and manipulating large data volumes, inability to create reports as in case of databases, high data storage requirement and unavailability of certain querying and sorting techniques.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.