Microsoft Excel: The History and A Quick Guide

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Microsoft Excel is a program that is a part of Microsoft Office. Microsoft Excel has been released in various version and came in one package with Microsoft Office. Microsoft Excel is commonly used for data visualization and data analysis.

The newer versions of Microsoft Excel came with several new features that are not available on the previous versions. New features in Microsoft Excel might be different from one version to another.

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There are several main components that you can find in Microsoft Excel. These components are including:

  • Row Heading. Row heading acts as a line marker in Excel worksheet.
  • Column Heading. Column heading acts as a column marker in Excel worksheet.
  • Cell Pointer. Cell pointer acts as a marker for active cells.
  • Formula Bar. Formula bar is a section where you can see the formula that is used in Excel worksheet.

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The History of Microsoft Excel

In 1982, Microsoft made a spreadsheet program that became the pioneer of the birth of Microsoft Excel. This program is named Multiplan and became a top-rated program in the CP/M operating system. Due to the competition, Microsoft started to develop the new spreadsheet program which is called Microsoft Excel.

In 1985, the first version of Microsoft Excel was released for Macintosh. In November 1987, the second version of Microsoft Excel was released for Windows.

Because Lotus 1-2-3 is a little bit late released for Windows, Microsoft Excel finally took Lotus position in the market of spreadsheet program in 1988. It is also one of the reasons that made Microsoft as one of the most professional and reliable software development companies for the personal computer.

When it’s first released, the name of Excel created controversy between Microsoft and other software development company that also has a program named Excel. In the end, Microsoft ended this controversy by changing the name of their software into Microsoft Excel in the press release and Microsoft document. Microsoft even bought Excel from the company that filed the claim, and the used of Excel name no longer became a problem.

Microsoft often used XL as an abbreviation of the Excel program. Since 1993, Excel already has programming language Visual Basic for Application that improves Excel ability in adding the functions that are defined by users to be used in the worksheet.

In the next version, Excel added IDE or Integrated Development Environment for VBA Excel language. Until today, the latest version of Excel is Microsoft Excel 2019 that became a part of the Microsoft Office System.

Microsoft Excel Function and Features

Microsoft Excel has several functions such as:

  • To create a financial report.
  • To perform administrative tasks in agencies.
  • To manage various types of data.
  • To perform automatic calculations using logic and formulas.

You also can find several features in Microsoft Excel such as:

  • SkyDrive. This feature allows you to store your data in cloud storage that is provided by Microsoft.
  • Document sharing feature.
  • Chart processing feature.
  • Office Apps such as Bing Maps and Mini Calendar.

The features that are appeared on previous versions of Excel are usually no longer available on the newer versions. To find out features on each version of Excel, you can check the product description of each version of Microsoft Excel.

Download Microsoft Excel for Windows 10

You can download Microsoft Excel legally from here:


or you can try Microsoft Excel 365 for free from here:


If you are a student or educator, you can get Microsoft Excel 365 for free from here:


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