Excel is perhaps the most revolutionary tool for looking at numbers since the invention of the digital calculator. It has dramatically changed the way we analyze data and has improved productivity for everyone. Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the Microsoft Excel franchise, and though I have only been the Excel product manager for the past two years, I have a clear memory of the early days of Excel and how it changed the way people work in 1985.
Let me share a fond memory of Excel with you. Back in 1985, I vividly remember visiting my sister while she was busy at work for a luxury car dealer as an accountant. Prior to them using computers, all accounting-related functions were done manually using pen, calculator, and large sheets of ledger paper. As I approached her office, I could see several rows of accounts clerks heads down, writing and punching away on their oversized calculators. Fast forward one year, and when I visited my sister they had several shared computers loaded with some program called Excel. Both she and I were amazed at how easy analyzing data had become with a simple piece of software.
In my many years of using the application, I’ve come to liken Excel to a Swiss Army knife: It’s a useful program to have whether you are at work, home or school. While most people use it for keeping simple lists, balancing budgets, or completing their statistics homework, there are some very creative individuals who have used Excel in extraordinary ways. As part of the 25-year celebration, we’ve worked with some of these inventive folks and pulled together this montage video that showcases their work. Here’s a video that gives you a taste of the crafty ways people have used Excel.
This is just one of the reasons why I love my job as the Excel product manager. Another key reason is the rich history that comes with one of the first software apps that Microsoft brought to market. Although Excel may not be in any fancy museum (outside of Redmond), it has as rich a history as any other software ever created. To give you a glimpse of where it all began and how it evolved, we’ve created a two-part documentary video series. Watch the videos and take a trip down memory lane with us.
The 25th annniversary celebration would not be complete without some great heart-warming stories from the loyal fans and customers. I personally would like to invite you to submit your own memories of Excel and ways it has helped you over the years. On the Excel Facebook page, we’re running a little contest, and all you have to do is share your favorite memory of Excel, get your friends to vote for your submission, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win an Xbox & Kinect package.
It’s been an awesome ride for Excel for the last 25 years, and I hope you’ll join us for the next 25. If you haven’t already, become a fan of Excel on Facebook where you can get tips and tricks, learn from our growing community, and contribute to the discussion. We’d love to hear from you.
To you loyal Excel fans, I thank you for all your support over the years.
Albert Chew has been product manager for Excel for the past two years.