January 26, 2012 - Lotus 1-2-3 Day

It's a day to celebrate spreadsheets, which as easy as 1-2-3, because on this date in 1983, Lotus began to sell its best-selling, user-friendly spreadsheet for Microsoft DOS.

Lotus 1-2-3 wasn't the first spreadsheet program for microcomputers, though.

I bought my first computer before there was such a thing as a “PC” or IBM Personal Computer. I bought an Apple II, which was then very big in the very small microcomputer market. I remember hearing about this new kind of software – a spreadsheet program, whatever that was – called VisiCalc. It turned out that VisiCalc made Apple much more popular as a home and small business computer. A few years later, Lotus 1-2-3 did the same thing for the new PCs. Nowadays the most popular spreadsheet program is Excel.

So, what is a spreadsheet? It is a computer application that allows users to enter data in table form. Some columns of data are commonly numbers such as dollar amount, hours, or quantities. The spreadsheet gives users tools to easily rearrange the data, sorting things alphabetically, by date, or by amount. Another tool allows users to easily and automatically perform math formulas on the information. For example, you might want to add together a column of hours worked, and in another row you might want to multiply the number of hours by the hourly wage. With a spreadsheet, you can immediately see how the total is affected by one change.

Here and here are some websites to give you ideas of how to use spreadsheets. 

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