CPSC 547 - A Review of Spreadsheets

Executive Summary

Executive Summary BFCS is a new marketing company looking to the future, and in doing so, is in the process of reviewing various spreadsheet programs to determine which package to purchase. A spreadsheet is similar to a piece of paper ruled off into rows and columns. If you need to do a lot of calculations, writing down figures in rows and columns helps to keep things neat and orderly. The discipline of the spreadsheet format makes it easier to grasp the information embedded in the data. It also reduces the frequency of arithmetic errors.

The review process considered three mainstream spreadsheet products: Lotus 1-2-3, Microsoft Excel and Quattro Pro. Through testing and comparing, it was expected that a spreadsheet would meet the needs required from a spreadsheet program. The requirements included: carrying out financial and inventory calculations, importing data from existing database, run on PC based sytems and the ability to create application type systems for easier use of common tasks and problems.

Lotus 1-2-3 is an effectively tool for financial and accounting analysis, planning and making assumptions about the future. Different types of graphs can be easily designed in Lotus 1-2-3 in order to convey the meaning of some data. Quattro Pro has some excellent extra features such as presentation utility built into the system, however it lacked some fundamental functionality and ran considerably slower than the other spreadsheet systems. Micorsoft excel proved to be extremely powerful showing the ability's to import from all spreadsheets, use an ODBC driver to load in external data files, conatin all the look and feel of both Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro Pro, and contain a large library of financial and engineering formulas. However, the largest feature that surpasses all other spreadsheets is the use of Visual Basic as the Macro Language, allowing Excel the ability to create extremely powerful built-on applications.

It is recommended that the company pursue the avenue of Microsoft Excel as the spreadsheet program. With all the functionality of all three spreadhseets being considerably close, the extra features have to be considered when comparing these products. The extra features of Excel far outweigh any extra features that both Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro Pro contain, and there were no key details missing from Microsoft Excel.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Comapny
  3. The Problem
  4. Microsoft Excel
  5. Quattro Pro
  6. Lotus 1-2-3
  7. Testing Criteria
  8. Analysis
  9. Conclusion

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Belinda Fong
Christopher Sakamoto

February 21, 1996