Appropriate Uses of Application Software

Applications software: is general purpose software that allows you to perform a range of related tasks more efficiently than you could by using more conventional technologies.

Integrated package: a suite of applications programs with their associated data and documentation. Typically, it is usually much cheaper to buy an integrated package than individual applications programs, it is easier to copy data from one application in a suite to another (eg import a table of data or a chart from a spreadsheet into a word-processing document) and the user interface is similar for the programs in the suite.

Common Applications

There are many different applications programs:

  • Word-processor: allows you to create, edit, store and print a range of different text documents; from letters and faxes to books and essays.
  • Spreadsheet: enables you to use formulas to perform a large number of calculations on data stored in cells arranged in rows and columns. You can investigate a mathematical problem, create a budget plan to forecast how much you can save in a year or model the results of a science experiment and draw a chart of your results.
  • Database: uses forms to store data in tables made up of records and fields. The data can be searched using queries in order to find out useful information. It can be used to create anything from an address book to a complex application that produces end of year reports.
  • Graphics program: can be used to create posters, perform image processing in order to improve or alter photographs or create original artwork.
  • DTP software: Desk Top Publishing software allows you to manipulate text and graphics in frames on a page in order to create magazines, brochures and other complex documents.
  • Presentation Software: allows you to create a slideshow to illustrate a talk, or a presentation for other people to investigate as a kiosk application.
  • Communications software: could include a web browser or email client software as well as other programs that allow you to communicate with


With modern applications software, there is a great deal of overlap. Many spreadsheet programs have a range of database functions built in, and the graphics tools within a word-processor might rival a graphics program - let alone a DTP package.


  1. List three reasons why a school would teach its students how to use applications software.
  2. A scientist has an integrated package installed on his computer. List two different tasks that he could use a word-processor, spreadsheet, database and communications software to help him work more effectively.
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