The Most Popular Computer Software for Business

Posted Tuesday, Jul 21, 2009 by Allen B. Ury

powerpoint.JPGIf you are planning to have a career anywhere in the business world, there are several commonly used computer programs you need to master. Because most North American businesses use some version of the Windows operating system, all of these programs are either produced by Microsoft or are compatible with Microsoft/IBM technology.

Here are the “must-know” programs with which you must have some experience before applying for a job in a business environment:

* Microsoft Word. The world’s most popular word processing application, Word is used for everything from writing simple memos to creating complex sales proposals. With Word you can create, edit and preserve content in a wide selection of fonts; insert comments; create tables; alphabetize lists; automatically populate tables of content; and even insert photos, graphics and illustrations. Although other word processing applications (e.g. Corel’s Word Perfect) are available, Microsoft Word is currently the “industry standard” for business use.

* Microsoft Excel. This is the most commonly used electronic “spreadsheet” program, one used for arranging and manipulating data in easy-to-read columns and rows. Excel is often used for creating mailing lists, for tracking sales, maintaining inventory and similar functions. Because it allows the user to quickly perform addition and other mathematical functions on large groups of numbers, Excel is often used for accounting and project management.

* Microsoft Outlook. Outlook is used primarily for creating, sending, receiving and storing email. It also has an integrated calendar function that allows you to schedule appointments and meetings and send these directly to another Outlook user for automatic entry into their calendar.

* Microsoft PowerPoint. Although Apple’s Keynote application is a powerful program gaining in popularity, PowerPoint is still the “industry standard” for creating electronic “slideshows” that businesses use for sales proposals, reports, instruction manuals and other presentations that have strong visual components. PowerPoint allows you to create professional-looking graphs and pie charts as well as graphics and limited animation and even sound effects to presentations.

* Microsoft Visio. If you plan to do any work in project management or computer programming, knowing Visio can be very helpful. This program is used to create “flow charts” that visually represent how operations happen in a step-by-step fashion. Because Visio is a Microsoft program, the resulting flow charts can be copied and “pasted” into work produced by other Microsoft applications such as Word and PowerPoint.

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