Evolution of Spreadsheet Software

The evolution of spreadsheet software has revolutionized the way businesses operate. In the early days of personal computers, spreadsheets were physical sheets of paper where accountants meticulously recorded expenses and revenues to gain insights into the workings of a business.

Spreadsheets have come a long way since their inception in the early 1980s. Since then, spreadsheet software has evolved significantly, with various companies introducing new features and functionalities. In this article, we will explore the evolution of spreadsheet software.

Early Years (1980s):

  • VisiCalc (Apple) | 1979: The first spreadsheet software was VisiCalc, developed for the Apple II Computer by Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston. It’s considered to be the Apple II’s killer app [Link].
  • Lotus 1-2-3 | 1983: Lotus 1-2-3 was the first spreadsheet software to introduce macros, which allowed users to automate repetitive tasks[Link].


  • Microsoft Excel | 1985: Microsoft Excel was first released for the Macintosh in 1985 and later for Windows in 1987. Excel became the dominant spreadsheet software in the 1990s[Link].

In the 1990s, Microsoft released Excel, which quickly gained popularity and eventually surpassed Lotus 1-2-3 in terms of market share. Excel offered more advanced features such as charts, graphs, and pivot tables, making it an attractive option for businesses and individuals alike.


  • Google Sheets | 2006: Google Sheets is a web-based spreadsheet software that was first released in 2006. It is part of the Google Drive suite of office applications [Link].
  • Apple Numbers | 2007: Apple Numbers was released as part of the iWork suite of productivity software.
  • LibreOffice Calc | 2010: LibreOffice Calc was released as part of the open-source LibreOffice suite.

During the 2000s, spreadsheet software continued to evolve with the introduction of new features and tools. One major development was the rise of web-based spreadsheet applications like Google Sheets, Apple Numbers and Zoho Sheet. These apps allowed users to access and edit spreadsheets online, making collaboration easier than ever before.

Present Day (2020s):
Today, spreadsheet software has become even more sophisticated with the advent of cloud computing and machine learning algorithms. Cloud-based platforms like Google Sheets offer real-time collaboration, automation, and data analysis capabilities. Additionally, AI-powered tools like Smartsheet and Airtable provide intuitive interfaces and streamlined workflows, making them ideal for small businesses and startups.

In addition to these offerings, there are alternatives to traditional spreadsheet software. JotForm Tables is a cloud-based spreadsheet software that provides real-time collaboration and extensive sharing options. The evolution of spreadsheet software has come a long way, from physical sheets of paper to powerful digital tools. These tools have transformed the way businesses operate, making data analysis and decision-making more efficient and accessible. With a wide range of options available, businesses can choose the spreadsheet software that best fits their needs and workflows.

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