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Excel is a computer program developed and distributed by Microsoft Corp.

It is a software that
allows accounting and financial tasks thanks to its functions, developed specifically to help create
and work with spreadsheets.

The first incursion of Microsoft in the world of the spreadsheets (that allow to manipulate
numerical data in tables formed by the union of rows and columns) took place in 1982, with the
presentation of Multiplan. Three years later the first version of Excel would arrive.

Faced with the demand of a company that already commercialized a program with the name of
Excel, Microsoft was forced to present its product as Microsoft Excel in all its official
communications and legal documents.

Microsoft Excel presented, throughout its history, various problems with the operations
performed in the spreadsheet. One of the most important has been the impossibility of working
with dates before the year 1900, at least using the date format of the application itself; One way
to get through this obstacle is to create customized fields, with numeric formats, combined with
intelligent formulas that treat them as chronological data.

It should be noted that Excel is a commercial program: you have to pay a license to install it. There
are other options, open source ("open source", in English), which can be installed or run at no
charge and also allow you to manage spreadsheets, such as OpenOffice.org Calc and Google Docs.
Most of these products are compatible with documents created in Excel, but not the same in the
opposite direction (Excel is not able to read files created with these programs).

One of the strengths of Excel is that it gives its users the ability to customize their spreadsheets by
programming their own functions, performing specific tasks, adjusted to the needs of each one,
and that have not been included in the package. original. Broadly speaking, the options are two:
create formulas in the same cell of the template in question, or use the development module in
Visual Basic.

In the first case, the possibilities are very limited, although this does not mean that they are not
enough for most users. The main problem lies in the discomfort involved in writing the code in a
cell, without the possibility of using line breaks, tabulation or comments, among many other
elements typical of a conventional editor. Developing functions in Excel's pseudolanguage is
unnatural, uncomfortable and unintuitive for a programmer, not to mention that various
structural limitations mean that not everything is possible.

For developers who are looking for very specific objectives, or for a complexity greater than the
calculation of an average or a comparison between several data, the solution lies in the use of
Visual Basic. It is a language with a relatively high degree of abstraction (which is considerably
different from the machine language, the way in which the processor works) and which, like the
one used in Excel, works by events (this means that the user must perform some action to trigger
the execution of the program).

That said, the combination of Excel and Visual Basic also has its limitations, and in no way can it
exceed the level of customization and precision possible through the creation of a program from
scratch; but it is very effective and comfortable for a small company, who does not want to invest
the money and time necessary to develop their own applications.