What are the different types of application software and what are their uses? Find these answers along with some examples of application software.
Application software, one of the most important types of software are used to achieve certain specific tasks. It is designed to enable the user perform specific tasks with the computer.
What is application software?
Application software utilizes the capacities of a computer directly for a dedicated task. Application software provide instructions to the computer to perform special activities aimed at solving a specific problem. It is able to manipulate text, numbers and graphics. It can be in the form of software focused on a certain single task like word processing, spreadsheets or playing of audio and video files. There are different types of application software based on how they function. They are classified under the following categories:
- Productivity and Business Application software
- Educational software
- Entertainment software
- Graphic Design and Multimedia Application software
- Personal and Specialty software
Here we look at the first three types application software, Productivity and Business application software, Educational software and Entertainment software along with some examples. The last two will be looked at in the next post.
Productivity and Business Application software
Productivity and business software is designed to make people more effective and efficient at particular tasks while performing their daily activities.
Such software include
- Word processing programs
- Presentation Graphics
- Database managers
- Accounting software
- Project Management software
Some productivity software come in the form of an office suite which bundles several applications together into a single large package. Examples include Microsoft Office and OpenOffice. Microsoft Office, for example, includes (among other things) Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, which are word processing, spreadsheet, Presentation, and database programs respectively.
Word processing software allows you to use computers to create, edit, format, print, and store text material, among other things. Word processing is the most common software application. The best-known word processing program is Microsoft Word, but there are others, such as Corel WordPerfect, Apple Pages, Google Apps, Star Word, Wordpad, WordPerfect and Zoho Writer. Word processing software allows users to work through a document and delete, insert, replace text, and perform the principal edit/correction activities. It also offers such additional features as creating, formatting, printing, and saving.
The spreadsheet is an application used to manipulate or work with numeric data. Spreadsheet allows users to create tables and financial schedules by entering data and formulas into rows and columns arranged as a grid on a display screen. The first electronic spreadsheet, called VisiCalc, created by Daniel Bricklin in 1978, was the most popular small business program.
Today the principal spreadsheets are Microsoft Excel, Corel Quattro Pro, and IBM’s Lotus 1-2-3. Spreadsheets are used for maintaining student grade books, tracking investments, creating and tracking budgets, calculating loan payments, estimating project costs, and creating other types of financial reports.
Presentation Graphics Software
Presentation graphics software uses graphics, animation, sound, and data or information to make visual presentations. Presentation graphics software is intended primarily for the business user, for creating slide-show presentations, overhead transparencies, reports, portfolios, and training materials. Pages in presentation software are often referred to as slides, and visual presentations are commonly called slide shows. They can consist, however, not only of 35-mm slides but also of paper copies, overhead transparencies, video, animation, and sound. Well-known presentation graphics packages include Microsoft PowerPoint, Corel Presentations, Lotus Freelance, Harvard Graphics, and Presentation Graphics SDK.
Generally, a database is any electronically stored collection of data in a computer system. In a more specific sense, a database is a collection of interrelated files in a computer system. These computer-based files are organized according to their common elements, so that they can be retrieved easily. Sometimes called a database manager or database management system (DBMS), database software is a program that sets up and controls the structure of a database and access to the data. When data is stored in separate files, the same data will be repeated in many files. Some years back, each college administrative office such as registrar, financial aid, housing, and so on, might have a separate file on a person. Thus, there was redundancy such that the person’s address, for example, was repeated over and over. This means that when the person changed addresses, all the college’s files on him/her had to be updated separately.
Database software therefore has two advantages: integration and integrity. With database software, the data is not in separate files. Rather, it is integrated. Thus, the person’s address need only be listed once, and all the separate administrative offices will have access to the same information. For that reason, information in databases is considered to have more integrity. That is, the information is more likely to be accurate and up to date.
Today the principal microcomputer database programs are Microsoft Access, Corel Paradox, FoxBASE, and Dbase IV. In larger systems, Oracle is also widely used.
These are software packages that are used to collect, store, process and present an organization’s accounting data. They maintain financial records such as accounts payable and receivable, trial balance, profit and loss. Examples include DacEasy, Peachtree, Pegasus, Paccioli 2000, and Quickbooks.
Project Management Software
A project is a one-time operation involving several tasks and multiple resources that must be organized toward completing a specific goal within a given period of time. The project can be small, such as an advertising campaign for an in-house advertising department, or large, such as construction of an office tower or a jetliner. A Project Management software allows a user to plan, schedule, track, and analyze the events, resources, and costs of a project. With such a software, one can plan and schedule the people, costs, and resources required to complete a project on time and within budget.
For example, an engineer might use project management software to manage new product development to schedule timing of market analysis, product design, marketing, and public relations activities. The producer on a feature film might also use such software to keep track of the locations, cast and crew, materials, dollars, and schedules needed to complete the picture on time and within budget. Examples of project management software include Mindjet MindManager Pro 8, MindView, Intuit, Microsoft Project, FastTrackSchedule, and Project KickStart.
Many software applications are designed specifically for use at home for personal and/or educational purposes. Examples of such software packages are integrated to include word processing, spreadsheet, database, and many other software described above.
Single software packages for educational purposes usually include:
- Tutorial software
- Reference software
This is software designed to teach a particular skill or topic on a subject. There exists educational software for just about any subject from learning a foreign language to learning how to cook. Pre-school to high school learners can use educational software to assist them with subjects such as reading and mathematics, or to prepare them for class or college entry exams. Such software are usually in the form of:
- Interactive packages for textbooks
- Tutorial packages for subjects
- Typing tutors, for example Mavis Beacon
Reference software provide valuable and thorough information on lots of subjects for all individuals. Popular reference software includes:
- Encyclopedia Britannica
- Microsoft Encarta
- Health/medical guides
- Travel dictionaries
This type of software are programs we run for amusement, leisure, or as a diversion. Such software includes interactive games, videos and programmes designed to support a hobby or provide enjoyment. For example with a personal computer entertainment software, you can play games individually or with others online, compose music, drive a car, or fly an aircraft.
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