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How long have you been using Excel?

26th Jan 2011
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I came across this short video celebrating the first 25 years of Microsoft Excel and it got me to reminiscing about my early days with spreadsheets.

I didn't start using Excel myself until 1998 when the company I was working for went through a management buyout and I decided to do the forecasts for the post-buyout company in Excel rather than Lotus-123, and bring the rest of the accounts department across afterwards. This put ridiculous pressure on me to convert the management accounts into Excel immediately after we completed the buyout. This is when I came up with the basis of the approach I outlined in my first ever post on this blog, back in September 2008 (read it here).

I first used Lotus-123 during my 3 years training in an accountancy practice (1992-1995) on an ancient 'portable computer' that looked like a sewing machine and was shared by all of the accountants in the practice. I remember it had orange text on a black background and we only really used it for Fixed Asset Registers!

Would love to hear any stories of early Excel (or Lotus-123) use from any of you. Please share in the comments below.

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Replies (7)

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By anthonymellor
26th Jan 2011 18:52

Multiplan is dead, long live Excel


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Glen Feechan
By Glen Feechan
27th Jan 2011 16:17

Multiplan was well before my time


I had to find that one on Wikipedia, I was still at school then!

-- Glen John Feechan BA Hon. ACA

[email protected]

Not Just Numbers Ezine

Free Excel Pivot Table Video

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By jonbryce
18th Mar 2011 16:26

At school in 1990

I used it at school back in 1990. R M Nimbus computers running Windows 2.0. Screens capable of displaying 4 colours (Black, White, Red and Blue).  I then switched to Lotus 123 and back to Excel.

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Nigel Harris
By Nigel Harris
18th Mar 2011 16:52

Multiplan all the way!

I first used Multiplan in about 1986 on an Amstrad "portable" - a bit of a misnomer, it was just about luggable! It was a hassle getting it working as the Multiplan program came on a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk and I had to find someone with an Amstrad PC with the same disk drive so I could plug my portable into the serial port and copy it onto one of the new fangled 3 1/2 inch floppies! After that it worked fine, nice crisp green on a black (or at least dark green) screen.

I upgraded to Excel on my first hard disk PC a few years later. It was actually pretty rubbish in its first incarnation, Multiplan users had got so used to working round the DOS software that early Windows software didn't seem to add much. The hard disk was neat though, better than running the program off a floppy disk.

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By tom2another
18th Mar 2011 17:12

Super calc

On an Apricote twin floppy no hard drive - green on black - did everything I do now - do I need to retrain?


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Scalloway Castle
By scalloway
19th Mar 2011 17:39

Supercalc Also

I worked for the local council where I cut my spreadsheet teeth on Supercalc 2, running on C/PM in the early 80's.  We later moved to Supercalc 5 on 386s with DOS. The first Windows spreadsheet I tried was Quattro Pro on my home computer. When the council finally moved to Windows we of course used Excel.

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By AndrewSearle
21st Mar 2011 09:54

Early Spreadsheets

I started using spreadsheets on the early 1980's. There was a brilliant programme who's name I can't remember. In many ways it's functionality was way ahead of Lotus and Excel when they came out, and in many ways more user friendly then Excel/Word now. It was a truely integrated spreadsheet, word processor and database. I used to prepare clients accounts and tax comp's on it. The great thing was you could use the spreadsheet in the middle of a word processor document but, unlike embedding Excel into Word, it was totally seamless and then you could mail merge names/addresses etc from the database.

One of the first novel uses I put it to was when I was working for a professional footbal club and I had the league set up so that as results came in you could see how it affected the positions in the table. This was great mid match and towards the end of the season as you could keep on updating it during play. Very basic now of course but in those days it would be quite some time before the league tables were worked out at the end of the day and available on the TV (all the matches were played on Saturday, or mid-week, at  the same time).

In many ways we haven't come very far in those almost 30yrs.

Andrew Searle

-- - Business Support from accounts to strategic planning

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