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Software Applications

Facilities

Most of the standard application software packages, such as word processing, spreadsheet, desk top publishing and database, share a number of common facilities. These facilities are used to enable the efficient use of electronic data stored in a computer system.

Mail merge

This is the process of combining a document (letter) and a data file (names and addresses) to produce personalised letters.

Macro

A macro is a sequence of instructions that are defined as a single element, which can be executed by a single command or keystroke. They are used to automate a task which is required on a regular basis. Examples of macros are: entering name, address and logo on a standard letter; printing selected areas of a document.

Templates

These are pre-defined documents that can be used to create new documents that conform to a basic format. e.g. memos, invoices, data capture forms.

Formulae

Formulae can be used in cells to represent calculations, and the result is displayed in the cell, e.g. if the length of the first side of a rectangle is stored in cell B1, and the length of the second side is stored in cell B2, then the formula for the area can be entered into cell B4, which will then display the answer.

Absolute and Relative Cell Referencing

Cells are addressed by using the row number and column letter (B4). When formulae are copied from one cell to another, it is possible to keep the cell addresses the same (absolute reference) or the change the cell addresses according to the cell where the formula has been moved (relative reference). This is done by using a $ in front of the row/cell address for an absolute reference.

I2 Relative reference – row and column values will both change

$I2 Mixed reference – column value stays the same, row value changes

I$2 Mixed reference – row value stays the same, column value changes

$I$2 Absolute reference – both row and column values will stay the same

Look Up Tables

Look up tables can be used to hold data values that may be needed in a formula, e.g. a 2 column table could have a height in the first column, and their corresponding garment sizes in the second column. A VLOOKUP command could then be used to “look up” the table, to find someone’s size.

IF Function

The IF function allows 2 outcomes – one if the test is true, and one if the test is false.

Pivot tables

A PivotTable organises and then summarises large amounts of data and presents it in a report format. Drop down lists can be clicked to change the data that is being displayed. For example, choose just one town from a drop down list and view only that town’s data.

E-mail

Electronic mail is a very popular and successful aspect of the internet. It is a means of sending written messages via the internet, and is an essential communication tool, used extensively for business and social purposes.

Advantages

• Messages can be sent across the world for the price of a local phone call • You can send file attachments in a variety of formats, such as sound, picture, text • Hyperlinks can be included for easy access to further information • Address book feature to send the same message to several different people

• Messages arrive much faster than conventional mail • The recipient does not have to be near a phone or logged in for the message to be received • Confirmation of receipt and reading can be received • Message can be easily forwarded (sent on) to other recipients • Reduces costs of postage and stationary – “greener” alternative

Disadvantages

• You are reliant on the user having suitable hardware and software • There are security and privacy issues, as the mail could be confidential, and it travels along a very public network • Attachments provide an entry point for destructive viruses, which can then be easily spread

Computer Science


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