History Of Microsoft ExcelMicrosoft Excel has a storied history, having been described by the Daily Beast as “perhaps the most revolutionary software program ever” and “a technological development that has fundamentally altered society.”
You’ve probably never heard of Doug Klunder, but he is as responsible for the Excel we know today as anyone. Excel, after all, is an electronic spreadsheet, and Klunder simply improved on an earlier invention.
In 1979, Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston co-developed the electronic spreadsheet that ran on the old Apple II computer, making it the first that was readily available for home and office use. The next big development came in 1983 with the Lotus 1-2-3, which combined charts with the spreadsheet.
According to the Daily Beast, Excel had its own spreadsheet program called Multiplan, but its sales were sluggish compared to Lotus, so Klunder, who had been hired out of MIT in 1981 and was Excel’s lead developer, was tasked by Bill Gates to come up with a way to improve upon the 1-2-3. He and a small team – including Gates – holed up in a Red Lion Inn in Bellevue, Wash. for three days.
The result they came up with was to increase the speed of calculations. The program updated only the cells (remember, Excel is made up of cells arranged in rows or columns) affected by the data change rather than all the formulas in the spreadsheet. So, from the very beginning, Excel was designed to be efficient, saving time and, as a result, money. On Sept. 30, 1985, Excel reached the market.
Almost 33 years later, it is a far different product in that many changes and new features have come along – many of which have been mentioned in previous Gazette articles. But the basics remain the same: Excel lets you do more with data than previously thought possible.
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