Knowing ‘what is application software and the ‘types of software applications’ help you take the most business-beneficial decisions. If you want to dig into the real meaning of the term software application, you need to explore and recognize different categories of application software. 

Application software and software application and app are terms that are often used interchangeably. Before defining ‘what is application software, let’s micro analyze the terms, ‘software’ and ‘application’.

Computer software is a phenomenal aspect that acts as the soul of the computer. The computer is just a set of hardware or a tangible machine without software in it. It is software that makes computers operational and useful. You can make your business work smartly by choosing the software that matches your business requirements and goals. It is an entire system of programs, procedures or algorithms, and other operating information that synchronize with the hardware to run the machine. They are designed to achieve the input, processing, output, storage, and control activities of information systems.

Application is a type of software designed for end-users to accomplish specific functions. All the applications are software, but not vice versa.

All types of computer software fall into either of the following two categories:

  • System software
  • Application software

System software is intended to manage the system resources, whereas application software enables the user to perform some specific set of s or functions. The system software also simplifies application programming. Examples of System Software are operating systems, firmware, database management systems, device drivers, networking software, assemblers, compilers, translators, and software utilities.

To quote Wikipedia, “an application program (app or application for short) is a computer program designed to carry out a specific task other than one relating to the operation of the computer itself, typically to be used by end-users.” This specific task can be in line with the user requirements.

We can define application software as software that employs the capabilities of a computer to accomplish a dedicated task. The user will be interacting directly with a piece of software in the case of application software. IT helps them to be more productive and assists them in fulfilling specific personal or business tasks.

Examples of application software are Microsoft Word, spreadsheets, VLC media player, Firefox or Google Chrome, accounting applications, photo editor, mobile apps such as video games, Whatsapp, etc. It also includes software that is internally/externally developed to fulfil the unique needs of an organization Application software will always be based on an operating system.

Every sphere of businesses needs application software as digitization and use of the software is rampant in all domains including healthcare and pharmacy, home, education, industries, communication, engineering, travel & tourism, etc. Different types of application software are used for information management, data manipulation, visual construction, resource coordination, and calculations.

The list of application software can be an exhaustive one so let’s attempt to elucidate several types of application software.

1. Presentation Software

Presentation software is a very commonly used type of application software both for personal and business purposes. These programs are specifically designed to help users to present information, thoughts, and ideas with ease and clarity through engaging visual modes such as text, pictures, sound, and video.

The three key elements of presentation software are:

  • Text editor to enter and stylize texts
  • Enabler to insert graphics, text, video, and multimedia files
  • Slideshow facility to display the content

Microsoft’s PowerPoint is the chief example of application software in the presentation software category. It helps you exhibit information in the form of slides. You can insert text, images, graphs, and videos to make these slides attractive and engrossing.

2. Spreadsheet Software

Spreadsheet application software helps in organizing, storing, and analyzing data in columns and rows to facilitate calculations effortlessly and efficiently. These rows and columns can be operated through formulas to execute crucial mathematical functions. This is a digital simulation of traditional physical (paper) worksheets. Examples of application software in the Spreadsheet category are Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and Apple Numbers.

3. Database Software

Database application software, also known as a DBMS (Database Management System), is a collection of data associated with any application. This helps in organizing data by creating and managing a database by storing, modifying, extracting, and searching for information within a database. When we run an application, it accesses the data from the database and stores it after modifications. Examples of database application software are MS Access, Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, IBM Db2, etc.

4. Multimedia Software

Multimedia application software helps users to create, edit, or record images, audio, and video files. This type of application software is a dominant player in the entertainment, media, and telecommunication industry. They are designed to enhance the visual and auditory features of the already present material. They combine together text, audio, still images, animation, video, and interactivity to communicate and engage better. VLC media player and Windows Media Player are a few examples.

5. Simulation Software

Simulation application software is developed by modelling a real phenomenon with a set of mathematical prescriptions. Simulation software is designed as an animated model that replicates the operation of an existing/proposed system. They are helpful in military engineering, gaming, industries such as power plants, space shuttle navigation, etc. where improper operation can lead to catastrophic outcomes. This application software helps in observing and analyzing an operation through simulation without actually doing it.

6. Word Processing Software

Word processing application software helps users to input, edit, format, and output text content. This type of software program processes words with pages and paragraphs and formats and enhances the text. It also enriches the ‘wording’ experience by helping users with easy access to thesaurus, synonyms, and antonyms. It helps in embellishing letters with art features such as font styles, colours, and styles. Leading examples of application software belonging to the word processing category are: Google Docs, Microsoft Word Docs, Open Office Writer, Word Perfect, Wordpad, Notepad, AppleWorks, etc.

7. Web Browsers

Web browsers or simply browsers are application software used to access and view websites through accessing the internet/ the World Wide Web. It retrieves the necessary content from a web server and then shows the page on the user’s device upon user requests. The most popular web browsers are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer (now Microsoft Edge), Firefox, MS Edge, Safari, etc.

In the next article, we will examine several Top Business Application Softwares and their benefits for the business.

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Nikoleta Yanakieva Editor at DevStyleR International