Spreadsheets

VisiCalc

VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet computer program for personal computers, released in 1979 on the Apple II by VisiCorp. It was written by Dan Bricklin Bob Frankston.

Dan Bricklin

Mutliplan

The Microsoft Multiplan logo.

Written by Douglas Klunder under the direction of Charles Simonyi, the head of Microsoft's new software application group, Multiplan was released in 1982 for numerous platforms including Apple II, Commodore 64 and 128, MS-DOS, and Radio Shack TRS-80 Model II , 4, and 100. During development, Multiplan was code named "EP" for electronic paper.

The Microsoft Multiplan title screen running on a Commodore 64.
Multiplan on a TRS-80
The Multiplan text-based interface running on a Commodore 64.
The Microsoft Multiplan 5 1/4" program disk for a Commodore 64 personal computer.
Title pages 1 and 2 from the Microsoft Multiplan HesWare C64 manual.
A look inside the Microsoft Multiplan manual.

Lotus 1-2-3

Written by Jonathan Sachs for the Lotus Devlopment Corporation. Released on January 26, 1983. Lotus 1-2-3 proved to be a "killer app" for the IBM PC as consumers purchased IBM (or clone) PCs just to be able to use Lotus 1-2-3.

The Lotus 1-2-3 product box.
The Lotus 1-2-3 screen running on a DOS-based PC.

Excel

Microsoft Excel, initially released in 1985 on the Mac and 1987 on the PC, gained rapid commercial success due to it's graphical interface, it's powerful built-in functions, and the ability to write and run macros to automate long, complicated tasks.

Microsoft Excel 2016 logo.
Example Microsoft Excel worksheet.