Word processing and spreadsheets

What you need for a good understanding of this software

Word processing

These packages are used to produce documents containing text such as letters, reports, etc. and for preparing text for other applications. For example, text could be typed in using word processing software and then the file could be imported into desktop publishing software. Before starting any document you should consider the page layout, so things like:

  • Page orientation
  • Paper size
  • Margins
  • Headers and footers
  • Borders

Once this is done and the text has been entered it can be formatted to add structure and emphasis. This can be done by altering the characteristics of the font by doing some of the following:

  • Font size
  • Font colour
  • Font style
  • Font effects

Additional features of word processing software

There are some more advanced features of word processing software that can be used, this includes:

  • Templates
  • Spellchecker
  • Thesaurus
  • Grammar checker


Spreadsheet software is used to manipulate numbers and text arranged in cells. Formulas can then be used to relate cells with other cells. Once a formula has been entered, then if one value of a cell on which the formula is based changes, the formula will automatically perform the calculation with the new value. Spreadsheets are ideal for:

  • Budgets
  • Cash flow forecasts
  • Accounts
  • Performing statistical analysis on data
  • Producing graphs and charts from sets of data

Database software

Database software allows data to be entered and stored in a structured way in which aids its retrieval. Database management systems keep data separate from the programs themselves, so once the data has been created it can be accessed using different software. This is important as when a business or organisation expands, it may decide to use different database management software and will not want to have to input all the data again.

Presentation software

This software is not just restricted to viewing a series of slides containing content. You can actually build a multimedia application such as a multiple choice system using presentation software. This situation would require the use of the ability to hyperlink one slide to another. This does mean that the slides don't have to be in only one particular order. Other features include:

  • Can add images
  • Can add animation effects
  • Can design consistently using templates
  • Can apply a colour scheme to slides
  • Can add a background graphic to a slide
  • Can add slide transitions