Introduction to Computer Information Systems/Application Software

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Application Software Basics[edit]

Google Drive Logo

Application software allows you to do anything on the computer, such as playing games, or watching TV. Anyone and everyone using a computer should be familiar with the different applications available to them and how to properly utilize said programs. For instance one of the most widely used application software is Microsoft Word[1]. Microsoft Word allows you to create, edit, save and print digital documents on your computer. While it is not the only word processor out there, it is the most popular. Others would include WordPerfect[2], Google drive[3], and iWork[4]. You could also create spreadsheets through Excel[5], create a presentation through Keynote[6], and even edit music though Audacity[7]. All of these will be discussed in greater detail as we move on in this section.

Word Processing[edit]

Explanation of Word Processing[edit]

A word processor is a software program that is used to create a document, store it electronically, display it on a screen, modify it using commands and characters, and print it on a printer. It also processes paragraph indentation, margin size, font type, font size, font color, and spacing within the document being created. Word processors have replaced typewriters since they allow the user to make a change anywhere in the document without having to retype the entire page. Word processors also come equipped with "spell-check" functions eliminating the need for multiple editors and provide an immediate tool for grammatical correction. Some common word processors include Microsoft Word, AbiWord, Word Perfect, and Open Office.[8]

Constructing a Word Processing Script[edit]

When constructing a word document there are a few things to keep in mind; character formatting, paragraph formatting, and page formatting. These three basic functions lay the foundation for most of the customization that is needed to create many word documents. Character formatting changes the appearance of individual characters and relates to the size, font, color, and overall style of the letters or numbers being used. Character formatting also involves underlining, italicizing, and making bold those characters being used. This is great for making a word stand out or for underlining book titles. Paragraph formatting adjusts the spacing, alignment, and indentation of the paragraphs being formed. Spacing refers to the amount of lines left blank in between the lines being processed. A good example of this is double-spacing which is commonly used in an educational setting where a student has to write a paper for a specific instructor. Commonly double-spacing is used so that the instructor can make corrections to the document without having to mark over the actual words on the paper. Alignment refers to the way the paragraph is positioned in regards to the left and right margins. A left alignment is most commonly used when creating a word document and this setting aligns the words being formed to be flush with the left margin. A center alignment is usually used for titling a paper. Page formatting refers to the width of the margins, the size of the paper being used, and the orientation of the page. The standard margin is 1.25 inches on both the left and right but these can be customized to suit need and preference. The paper size options reflect what can be used in the printer, and the orientation indicates whether the document will use the traditional or landscape positioning on that paper. Traditional orientation is 8.5 inches wide by 11 inches tall whereas landscape is the exact opposite at 11 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall.[9]

Word Processing Tools[edit]

Some of the basic tools that are employed in word processing programs that help to make the application more user friendly are tables, graphics, and templates. These tools allow for minimal effort and excellent results when adding features like these to a word document. Tables are used for organizing information and are composed of rows and columns in which data is placed. This is great for comparing and contrasting information as it's condensed and presented in a straight forward fashion. Tables can also be used for laying out entire documents, such as a resume, where information is sectioned off from one another. In this example, the entire report is formulated to a table instead of a small section as mentioned earlier. Graphics are pictures, drawings, clip art, or other images that can be inserted into a document from other programs or from stored data on a computer. This makes for easy illustrations where a picture, or pictures, would suffice better than words or tables to highlight a point. Graphics tools also allow the user to manipulate the images that have been imported by changing the color, contrast, brightness, and size of the image, among other things. The customization process of these images in a word processor provide for an easy and quick avenue of explanation concerning the topics at hand. Another useful tool are Templates. These are preprogrammed arrangements of ideas and/or illustrations that are known to serve a purpose and are already organized for the user to interact with. Most often this means "filling in the blanks" and some common templates that should be recognized are resumes, business cards, identification cards, fax cover sheets, memos, invoices, and newsletters to name a few.[10]


What is a Spreadsheet[edit]

Poppit Spreadsheet

"A spreadsheet is a group of values and other data organized into rows and columns similar to the ruled paper worksheets traditionally used by bookkeepers and accountants." The spreadsheet software is mandatory to create computerized spreadsheets. Microsoft Excel is a form of a spreadsheet. There are many terms one must have to know to create a spreadsheet. A worksheet is the single spreadsheet document. A workbook allows multiple worksheets to be saved together in a single spreadsheet file. Worksheets are divided into rows and columns. The intersection of a row is called a cell. One must enter content into the active cell, or current cell; it has a border around it to make it be easily identified. Data is entered directly into worksheet cells by clicking a cell to make it the active cell. Labels, constant values, formulas, and functions are the data that is entered into a cell. Before one enters a formula or function into a cell, one must begin with some type of mathematical symbol, usually the equal sign (=).[11] Spreadsheets are greatly used in businesses. They are used to organize finances, projects, statistics, etc. [12] It is essential to know how to use spreadsheets for school and one's job.

How to use a Spreadsheet[edit]

When using a spreadsheet application, the user can use various concepts to compute the data entered into the cells in the spreadhseet. These different concepts are provided within the program. Some very common concepts that are utilized are charts, functions, formulas, and cell referencing.


A chart can be created as its own object or embedded within the sheet itself.[13] This is helpful when a user needs to analyze data or represent changing data.


A function is a pre-programmed mathematical formula to allow the user to make calcuations based on the data input. If the user wishes to create his own formula, Visual Basic can be used to write a formula and then the spreadsheet program can input the values into the newly written formula, reporting the data back into the sheet.


A formula identifies the calculation needed to place the result in the cell it is contained within. This means a cell has two display components; the formula itself and the resulting value.[14] Typically, a formula consists of five expressions: value, references, arithmetic operations, relation operations, and functions.

Cell Referencing[edit]

Cell referencing refers to the ability to call on other cells. There are two ways of doing this: relative and absolute cell referencing. A relative cell reference will adjust as the formula is copied from another cell white an absolute will not adjust. It is also important to note that a user can reference both the same sheet and other sheets in a book using this concept.


Database Concepts: A database is an organized list of facts and information. They typically contain text and numbers and they can hold still images, sounds and videos. A database organizes the information in a way that makes it easy to retrieve the information. A database is kind of like an electronic filing system. It makes it much easier to keep the files on the computer rather than have a file cabinet. [15] Most databases are organized by fields, records, and files. A field (also called a column) is a single type of data, for example, last name, that is stored in a database. A record (also called a row) is a collection of related fields. Lastly, a table is a collection of related rows. One or more tables that contain similar information can be stored in a database. Another thing to look at in databases is Hypertext database where any object can be linked to another object; this is useful for organizing a lot of information. [16] In order to access information from a database you need DBMS, which is database management software. A common database management software is Microsoft Access.


Queries and Reports:

Queries and reports are used to retrieve information from databases. [17] A query is almost like a search tool for the user of the database to find specific information like an item, number, name, etc. Like other documents made, a query has to be made and saved as well, for users to be able to come back and search it again. A query contains criteria that must be met for a record or row to be shown in the ending results of the specific query. Queries can also be made to show multiple columns or rows at a single time, instead of just one row or column. For example, a customer insists to buy a set of glasses for under $20 at Crate and Barrel. [18] The employee can then inquire “glasses under $20” and be able to tell the customer which kind to specifically look at. A report is used when acquiring a formal output. This can be a company logo or graphic with a page column heading. These can be created with the “Report Wizard button” on the “Create tab” from the Ribbon. Reports are mostly used with database tables or queries. Databases can be used more efficiently for customers shopping via the Internet. Today, online shopping is the newest sensation. For example, a specific dress can be found on Lord and Taylor’s [19] website for women, prior to going to the store by typing in the search bar. Examples of popular databases used are Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Oracle, MySQL, and IBM DB2. [20]

Presentation Graphics[edit]

Intro to Presentation Software[edit]

Just because the phrasing is corny doesn't make the message any less true!

Everyone has different styles of learning. There are some students who retain information better when they can be hands-on, while others can hear a lecture from their teacher one time and remember all the important points without having to open their school book once. No matter your learning style, there is one type of software that has been proven, time and again, to be a great method of sharing lots of key information in an organized and relatively entertaining fashion. The successful software in question is presentation software.[21] Presentation software allows the user to create multiple slides which they can piece together into a slide-show. It is a great way to organize and refine large amounts of information into only the most important parts because each slide has limited space and you typically are limited in time when responsible for a presentation. Whether you're presenting information to a classroom or a business meeting, the method of organizing information in a fluid manner remains the same. To add entertainment value, there are many variables within each example of software that can be manipulated, from text size and color to slide transitions. The expert presentation software users can even dare to add photos and music to their presentations. Two of the most widely used examples of presentation software today are: Microsoft Powerpoint and Prezi.


US Navy 040605-N-6633C-002 Commander Naval Reserve Force, Vice Adm. John G. Cotton, is silhouetted in front of a Powerpoint slide mapping out the Naval Reserve Force's future

Powerpoint is a Microsoft Office software used to present information and work as a visual aide. Certain options make it easy to organize and present information in a visually appealing way. Charts, pictures, tables, video clips, and sounds can all be added to the presentation. Designs and color themes come ready to use so the presenter just has to add the information and it is ready to go! The slides themselves come with several options of pre-loaded layouts, using features such as bullet points, pictures, captions, and titles. They are easy to drag and drop to make rearranging very easy. [22]The whole idea of a digital visual is, in concept, more beneficial to the presenters and the audience to avoid copies of handouts. One feature that comes in handy, however, is the ability to print the slides so either the presenter or audience can be informed ahead of time of what to expect. Slides can change with a simple click of a button. However, presenters can often lose eye contact from the audience and begin reading straight from the slides, instead of using it as a guide. Teachers, employers, and computer users all over the world have now become accustomed to using PowerPoint as their “go-to” visual aide. The image on the right shows a presenter using a powerpoint as a visual aide.

Inside Scoop on New Presentation Software[edit]

Sample Prezi

There are hundreds of ways we present information on a daily basis. Whether it be through verbal speech, body language, pamphlets, posters, commercials, flyers, power points, etc. we are constantly presenting information and being presented to. Technologically, there are still many ways to present information to an audience. The cool thing is, you do not just have to use things like PowerPoint and Microsoft Word. You do not even have to use products that cost money. There are several new and innovative free ways to present that will surely grab the attention of your audience.

Prezi is one of those free presentation methods. It is Internet based, and similar to PowerPoint. However, it is much more user friendly, as well as interactive. PowerPoint seems to have a set order you have to follow. It goes slide to slide in a single order. With Prezi, if you decide you want to go in a different order or go back to something 6 slides back you simply zoom out a little and click the slide you wanted to return to. Prezi slides are set in a "path" and as you present, the presentation will zoom in and out of each slide which are all present on one master screen. This is much different from PowerPoint's single slide screens. Prezi has the ability to integrate many different forms of information into your presentation. You can upload YouTube videos, PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, photos, music, and voice overs. You can also time your slides and have them move to the next one automatically like in PowerPoint. However, these things are input through a much simpler process. Instead of all the clicks you have to do in PowerPoint to insert things such as a YouTube video, Prezi has a button labeled "Insert YouTube video" and once you click it, it asks for the video URL. After you enter that, it automatically uploads it to your presentation. There you can resize it and place it wherever you would like. The ability to see where one idea came from and how it is physically moving to the next idea makes Prezi a much more innovative presentation method. It can be used for entertainment, educational work, teaching, and even in the business world. It comes with many templates as well at the ability to create your own presentation from scratch.

Prezi also offers many interesting things PowerPoint does not: it has the ability to share the presentation via email, collaborate on a presentation with multiple people, give several people access to the editing of a single presentation, and a free mobile app. The app is free and allows you to present, create, and edit presentations on the go with or without Internet. It is a very useful program and definitely something to check out! [23]

Graphics and Multimedia[edit]


Graphic Software[edit]

Graphic software has a variety of application programs and has a wide range of different uses. To further explain, there are programs like presentation programs that can create power points and graphics software uses photo editing programs that are used to manipulate pixels from images from pictures. A useful program would be Adobe Paint Shop, which can be used to edit, change and alter pictures however you would like them to be. Another category for creating images would be vector based images. This is where a bit-mapped image created by a digital camera is able to be altered and the images are able to re-scale to any size with no loss of detail. As well as the programs, the graphics side of them is able to create images in 3-D modeling, as well as create animations which can be made through Photoshop. In able to add video or audio there is programs with multimedia content which the software is able to play and editing audio and video along with any editing. Overall, graphic software is really useful for personal, business and education purposes, whether it’s for creating a college or providing information with addition affect for the audience.[24]

PROTIP: Headphones are useful when listening to sound.

Audio Capture and Editing Software[edit]

Audio capture and audio editing software is used to create and edit audio files. There are many different programs associated with these two types of programs. Some programs are designed to extract audio from CDs (ripping software) while others capture sound through input devices like a microphone (sound recording software). Some programs are able to record sound and also edit that sound, or it can open a certain type of sound file, which enables the user to edit any piece in various ways. The extent to which the user can edit the sound depends on the complexity of the software. One program can only allow very basic functions like cutting and pasting while another can add effects and modify every bit of the wavelength. This is an example of the distinction found between free programs and others deemed professional. However that is not to say that just because a program is free it must be of a lower quality. Audacity is a free, and very popular, program that includes both audio capturing and editing elements.[25]

Video Editing and DVD Authoring Software[edit]

The widespread availability of digital cameras and now phones with built-in camera devices combined with the massive popularity of sites like YouTube has led many to use video editing programs. These programs enable the user to modify their clips extensively, and like audio capture and editing software there are both consumer and professional offerings. DVD authoring is a process that many video editing programs include. More specifically it oversees the layout of the DVD: what clips will be used and how they will be played along with customization of the menu. After authoring the DVD via the program the user must burn it to an actual DVD for playback. This can be done using utilities included by Windows or Mac or by dedicated software.

A Media Player

Media Players[edit]

Living in the technologically advanced country that we do now, it is relatively understandable to say that, at some point or another in our life, we have all heard some form of music or audio played off of an electronic device. Today, for most of us, these devises are things such as CDs, radios, iPods, phones, DVDs, and many more. These are all things that would be considered media players. They were designed with the purpose of playing audio or videos in mind. Today, many of these players are free and are programs that most of us have probably used at some point or another (such as iTunes or Windows Media Player). One thing it is important to keep in mind when using these is that although illegally downloading things may be easy, it definitely does not make it right. It is essential that we all keep the copyright laws in mind when downloading any type of audio or video.[26]

Graphics on a Webpage

Graphics, Multimedia, and the Web[edit]

Today, it is rare to find a company that does not use some form of multimedia or graphics on their businesses web page. This is just one example of how important multimedia and graphics have become to the World Wide Web. Open up you browser and instantaneously you’ll see some from of graphics spread across that front page. Whether it’s a banner, GIF, logo, demonstration, or picture, I can pretty much guarantee you that it’s there. These graphics are nice because they easily add color and animation to the page, and make being there just a little bit more interesting for the user.[27]


Key Terms[edit]

Application Software
Software designed to carry out specific tasks [28]
Copyrighted software that is distributed on the honor system; consumers should either pay for it or uninstall it after the trial period for ethicality [29]
Copyrighted software that may be used free of charge [30]
Public Domain Software
Software that is not copyrighted and may be used without restriction [31]
Open Source Software
Software programs made up of source code which is made available to the public. i.e. Wikibook [32]
Web-Based Software
Software that is delivered on demand via the Web; also referred to as Software as Service (SaaS) or cloudware.
Word Processing
Using a computer and word processing software to create, edit, save, and print written documents, such as letters, contracts, and manuscripts [33]
A document containing a group of values and other data organized into rows and columns; also called a worksheet in a spreadsheet program [34]
A collection of related data that is stored in a manner enabling information to be retrieved as needed; a collection of related tables [35]
Presentation graphics
An image, such as a graph or drawn object, designed to visually enhance a presentation
Graphics Software
Application software used to create or modify images
One of the features found in the recent Microsoft Office applications that uses tabs to organize groups of related commands [36]

Review Questions[edit]

1. A _____ is a collection of worksheets saved in a single spreadsheet file.

2. A _____ is a collection of related data that is stored in a manner enabling information to be retrieved as needed.

3. With a(n) _____ program, the source code for the program is made available to the public and so can be modified by others.

4. True or False. Changing the font size in a document is an example of a formatting operation.

5. A _____ is a collection of related fields in a database. Also called a row.

6. Software that is not copyrighted and may be used without restriction is _____.

7. True or False. Software can be installed on both personal computers and servers.

8. The location at the intersection of a row and column on a worksheet into which data can be typed is a _____.

9. True or False. Microsoft Office is one example of a software suite.

10. Copyrighted software that is distributed on the honor system; consumer should either pay for it or uninstall it after the trial period is _____.


1. Workbook 2. Database 3. Open Source 4. True 5. Record 6. Public Domain Software 7. True 8. Cell 9. True 10. Shareware