Productivity software

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Productivity software (also called personal productivity software or office productivity software[1]) is application software used for producing information (such as documents, presentations, worksheets, databases, charts, graphs, digital paintings, electronic music and digital video).[2] Its names arose from it increasing productivity, especially of individual office workers, from typists to knowledge workers, although its scope is now wider than that. Office suites, which brought word processing, spreadsheet, and relational database programs to the desktop in the 1980s, are the core example of productivity software. They revolutionized the office with the magnitude of the productivity increase they brought as compared with the pre-1980s office environments of typewriters, paper filing, and handwritten lists and ledgers. In the United States, some 78% of "middle-skill" occupations (those that call for more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor's degree) now require the use of productivity software.[3] In the 2010s, productivity software has become even more consumerized than it already was, as computing becomes ever more integrated into daily personal life.


Productivity software traditionally runs directly on a computer. For example, Commodore Plus/4 model of computer contained in ROM for applications of productivity software. Productivity software is one of the reasons people use personal computers.

Office suite[edit]

LibreOffice, an example of an office suite, showing Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw

An office suite is a bundle of productivity software (a software suite) intended to be used by office workers. The components are generally distributed together, have a consistent user interface and usually can interact with each other, sometimes in ways that the operating system would not normally allow.[4]

The earliest office suite for personal computers was Starburst in the early 1980s, comprising the WordStar word processor, the CalcStar spreadsheet and the DataStar database software.[5] Other suites arose in the 1980s, and Microsoft Office came to dominate the market in the 1990s,[6] a position it retains as of 2019.

Office suite components[edit]

The base components of office suites are:

Other components include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "office productivity software". PC Magazine Encyclopedia. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  2. ^ "productivity software". PC Magazine Encyclopedia. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  3. ^ Crunched by the Numbers: The Digital Skills Gap in the Workforce, Burning Glass Technologies, March 2015
  4. ^ "office suite". PC Magazine Encyclopedia. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  5. ^ John C. Dvorak. "Whatever Happened to Wordstar?". Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  6. ^ A Brief History of Computing, by Gerard O'Regan, p. 87

External links[edit]