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Excel It is a computer program developed and distributed by Microsoft Corp . It's about a software that allows to realize accounting and financial tasks thanks to its functions, specifically developed to help create and work with spreadsheets .

Microsoft's first foray into the world of leaves calculation (which allow to manipulate numerical data in tables formed by the union of rows and columns) took place in 1982 , with the presentation of Multiplan . Three years later the first version of Excel would arrive.

Before the demand of a company that already commercialized a Program with the name of Excel, Microsoft was forced to present its product as Microsoft Excel in all its official communiqués and legal documents.

Microsoft introduced in 1989 his first version from Office , an office suite (set of programs that are useful in office tasks) that included Excel, Word (a word processor) and PowerPoint (an application for the creation of multimedia presentations).

Microsoft Excel presented, throughout its history, various problems with the operations made in the spreadsheet. One of the most important has been the inability to work with dates before 1900, at least using the format of date application itself; One way to cross this obstacle is to create custom fields, with numerical formats, combined with intelligent formulas that treat them as chronological data.

It should be noted that Excel is a commercial program: you have to pay a license to be able to install it. There are other options, open source ("open source", in English), which can be installed or run free of charge and also allows you to manage spreadsheets, such as OpenOffice.org Calc and Google Docs . Most of these products are compatible with documents created in Excel, but the same does not happen in the opposite direction (Excel is not able to read files created with these programs).

One of the strengths of Excel is that it gives its users the ability to customize their spreadsheets through the own function programming, that perform specific tasks, adjusted to the needs of each one, and that have not been included in the original package. Broadly speaking, the options are two: create formulas in them cell of the form in question, or use the development module in Visual Basic.

In the first case, the possibilities are very limited, although this does not mean that they are not enough for most users. The main problem lies in the discomfort of writing the code in a cell, without the possibility of using line breaks, tabulation or comments, among many other elements of a conventional editor. Develop functions in the pseudolanguage of Excel it is unnatural, uncomfortable and not very intuitive for a programmer, not to mention that various structural limitations make not everything is possible.

For developers looking for very specific objectives, or of a complexity greater than the calculation of a average or from a comparison between several data, the solution lies in the use of Visual Basic. It is a language with a relatively high degree of abstraction (which moves away considerably from the machine language, the way the processor works) and which, like the one used in Excel, works by events (This means that the user must take some action to trigger the execution of the program).

That said, the combination of Excel and Visual Basic It also has its limitations, and in no way can it exceed the level of customization and precision possible through the creation of a program from scratch; But it is very efficient and convenient for a small company, which does not want to invest the money and time needed to develop their own applications.

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