Spreadsheet, computer programs developed for many types of financial and mathematical analysis. Spreadsheet programs are now one of the most popular types of programs on personal computers, including Apple, IBM, and IBM-compatible computers. Spreadsheet programs are used for storing, organizing, and calculating numerical data. From managing personal finances, such as checking and savings accounts, to managing the finances of multimillion dollar companies, spreadsheet programs are proving to be one of the most important types of computer programs of the 20th century.
In addition to record keeping, spreadsheet programs have proved useful to businesses and to a wide variety of endeavors by providing a “what if” capability for financial management. By creating a spreadsheet that displays the interrelationships between dispersal and income factors for a business or enterprise, a manager can determine—quickly and efficiently—what the overall effect a change in one or several parameters would have on other figures and on the enterprise as a whole. Provided the spreadsheet has been constructed properly (that is, so that it reflects the true nature of the relationships between factors), a manager can respond quickly to new information or unexpected fluctuations by determining how the many aspects of the enterprise will be affected by a changing environment.
Database, a collection of data, or information, stored in a form that may be accessed by a computer. Databases may be accessed in several ways. They may be loaded on a mainframe computer for network access within an organization such as a small company or a university; they may be loaded on the mainframe of a search-service organization such as DIALOG or CompuServe for network access by outside individuals or organizations (government, industry, academe, public libraries); or they may be loaded on personal computers or workstations. Private databases may be accessed only by the owners of the databases or by employees of the organization maintaining the database. Public databases are designed for access by people outside the organization that created the database. Both public and private databases can be maintained on mainframes or personal computers, depending on the size of the database and its intended audience