Online / 5 & 6 February 2022


A Brief History of Spreadsheets

From LANPAR to VisiCalc to Lotus to LibreOffice

Have you ever wondered why spreadsheets look and act that way? Why does LibreOffice and Excel use letters for columns and numbers for rows? In this high energy presentation, Jim Hall will discuss a brief history of spreadsheets, from LANPAR to VisiCalc to Lotus 1-2-3 to LibreOffice. A great history lesson and practical demonstration.

The first 'spreadsheet' program was LANPAR, which invented the interactive concept of working with values and originated the idea of forward referencing. But the spreadsheet as you might recognize it today started with VisiCalc on the Apple II. We'll explore several favorite DOS spreadsheets as we review a history of spreadsheets, including: VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3, As Easy As, Quattro Pro, .. to to understand why modern spreadsheets like LibreOffice Calc look and act that way.


Photo of Jim Hall Jim Hall