Microsoft Excel, a program in which you enter data into columns, is an example of a spreadsheet program.

## spreadsheet

- Bookkeeping a financial worksheet with multiple rows and columns, used in preparing an income statement, balance sheet, etc.
- a computer program that organizes numerical data into rows and columns, for computing desired calculations and making overall adjustments based on new data

Origin of spreadsheet

*spread*, adjective ( from past participle of spread, transitive verb) + sheet

## spreadsheet

noun

- A software interface consisting of an interactive grid made up of cells in which data or formulas are entered for analysis or presentation.
- A piece of paper with rows and columns for recording financial data for use in comparative analysis.

## spreadsheet

(*plural* spreadsheets)

- (dated) A sheet of paper, marked with a grid, in which financial data is recorded and totals calculated manually.
- (computing) A computer simulation of such a system of recording tabular data, with totals and other formulas calculated automatically.

## spreadsheet - Computer Definition

Software that simulates a paper spreadsheet (worksheet), in which columns of numbers are summed for budgets and plans. It appears on screen as a matrix of rows and columns, the intersections of which are called "cells." The cells are filled with (1) labels, (2) numeric values or (3) formulas. Labels are descriptive text such as "Rent" and "Gross Sales." Values are the actual numeric data, and formulas command the spreadsheet to do the calculations; for example, SUM CELLS A5 TO A10.

**The Formulas**Formulas are the spreadsheet's magic, and they are easy to create. You click a cell and then press the key (+, -, etc.) of the arithmetic operation that affects it. For example, the creation of a formula might be "the contents of this cell PLUS the contents of this cell DIVIDED BY the contents of this cell."

**The Ripple Effect**After numbers are added or changed, the formulas recalculate the data automatically or with the press of a key. Since the contents of any cell can be calculated with or copied to any other cell, a total of one column can be used as a detail item in another column. For example, the total from a column of expense items can be carried over to a summary column showing all expenses. If the contents of a cell in the detail column changes, its column total changes, which is then copied to the summary column, and the summary total changes.

**What If?**The ripple effect lets you create a plan, plug in different assumptions and immediately see the impact on the bottom line. This "what if?" capability makes the spreadsheet indispensable for budgets, plans and other equation-based tasks.

**It Started with VisiCalc**One of the major forces behind the personal computer revolution in the 1980s, the spreadsheet originated with VisiCalc in 1978 for the Apple II, followed by SuperCalc, Multiplan, Lotus 1-2-3 and others. See VisiCalc, OLAP, analytical database engine and XL abc's.