Excel is a computer program developed and distributed by Microsoft Corp. It’s about a software that allows to carry out accounting and financial tasks thanks to its functions, developed specifically to help create and work with spreadsheets.

Microsoft’s first foray into the world of spreadsheets calculation (which allow manipulating numerical data in tables formed by joining rows and columns) took place in 1982, with the presentation of Multiplan. Three years later the first version of Excel would arrive.

Microsoft Excel

Excel, one of the most popular Microsoft programs.

History of Microsoft Excel

Faced with the demand of a company that already sold a Program under the name Excel, Microsoft was forced to present its product as Microsoft Excel in all your official communications and legal documents.

Microsoft presented at 1989 his first version from Office, an office suite (a set of programs that are useful in office tasks) that included Excel, Word (a word processor) and Powerpoint (an application for creating multimedia presentations).

Software issues and negatives

Microsoft Excel presented, throughout its history, various problems with the operations made in the spreadsheet. One of the most important has been the impossibility of working with dates before the year 1900, at least using the format of date own of the application; One way to get around this hurdle is to create custom fields, with numeric formats, combined with smart formulas that treat them as chronological data.

It should be noted that Excel is a commercial program: you have to pay a license to be able to install it. There are other options, open source («open source‘In English), which can be installed or run free of charge and also allow you to manage spreadsheets, such as OpenOffice.org Calc Y Google Docs. Most of these products are compatible with documents created in Excel, but the same is not the case in the opposite direction (Excel is not able to read files created with these programs).


Excel allows you to represent data through graphs.

Other Excel features

One of the strengths of Excel is that it gives its users the ability to customize their spreadsheets by using programming of own functions, that carry out specific tasks, adjusted to the needs of each one, and that have not been included in the original package. Broadly speaking, the options are two: create formulas in them cell of the spreadsheet in question, or use the development module in Visual Basic.

In the first case, the possibilities are very limited, although this does not mean that they are not sufficient for most users. The main problem lies in the discomfort of writing the code in a cell, without the possibility of using line breaks, tabs or comments, among many other elements typical of a conventional editor. Develop functions in the Excel pseudo-language it is unnatural, cumbersome and unintuitive for a programmer, not to mention that various structural limitations mean that not everything is possible.

Combination with Visual Basic

For developers looking for very specific objectives, or of a complexity greater than the calculation of a average or from a comparison between several data, the solution lies in the use of Visual Basic. It is a language with a relatively high degree of abstraction (which is considerably different from machine language, from the way the processor works) and which, like the one used in Excel, works by events (This means that the user must perform some action to trigger the execution of the program).

That said, the combination of Excel and Visual Basic It also has its limitations, and in no way can it exceed the level of customization and precision possible through creating a program from scratch; but it is very efficient and convenient for a small company, which does not want to invest the money and time necessary for the development of its own applications.