SOFTWARE–MEANING AND TYPES

Software is the umbrella term used to refer to all programs that run on the computer.

Software can also be defined as sets of programs that the computer used to operate, execute, and implement its operation. 

In other words, software are set of programs that enable the hardware device of computers to function properly. 

So for a computer to function properly, the use of the software is not optional. 

Indeed, the Computer would be useless without software.

Types of System Software

Generally, software is classified into two types, namely; System software and Application software.

System software

The system software is designed to operate and control the processing capability of the computer system.

System software allows the computer to perform its basic operation. The system software is required to run the hardware part of the computer

They are mostly designed by computer manufacturers. System software provides the platform for other software like the application software to function efficiently.

System software generally serves as an interface between hardware, user and application software. They include:

A. Operating software: This is a computer-oriented software that performs the internal operation of the computer, save files to computer storage, retrieves files from storage devices, and organizes all hardware connected to the computer

Operating software is the first software to be loaded when the system is turned on. 

It is the software that directly manage the hardware of a computer

The operating system consists of suites of programs. They serve as an interface between users and hardware. 

Operating software is arguably the most important software. 

Examples include desktop operating software like Windows, Linux, and mobile operating systems like android, IOS (iPhone operating system).

Windows logo
Windows logo

The functions of an operating system are:

  1. By allocating requested memory to the program, It helps manage the computer memory effectively.
  2. OS manages the resources of a computer system.
  3. Operating software allows for efficient file sharing among users and programs.
  4. With the help of a password, operating software prevents unauthorized access to programs and files.
  5. Another function of operating software is that it coordinates other software of the computer.

B. Utility software: Although utility software are usually included in operating systems, utility software has its own distinct purposes.

A utility software can be defined as any software that is used to analyze, configure, optimize the computer system. 

Utility softwares are mainly used to perform maintenance-type tasks such as managing a computer, its devices or Its program

Utility software are also good at managing the performance of application software and hardware and ensure that they work optimally and efficiently.

They are mostly used for specialized operations. File compressor, virus scanner, data backup software are some of the best-known utility software.

C. Software development tools - These are software used by programmers to create, test, modify the programs. 

They are mostly used by programmers.

Examples are assembler, interpreter, compiler. You will know more about these three software here

Application software

These are software created for specific needs. There are developed for performing the specific task of the end-user. 

Application software is user-oriented. Most computer users spent more time on application software than system software. 

Among the better-known application software are ms-word, ms-excel, Corel draw, Adobe photoshop.

Types of application software

A.  Word processing packages: Word processing is the creating, editing, modification, formating, and saving of documents.

Word processing is usually done in word processing packages.

Thus, we can defined word processing packages as the software used to create, compose, transcript, edit and save text-based documents. 

Word processing package converts text into typewritten documents. This document can also be stored in storing devices like hard disks, floppy drives, flash drives, CD-ROM. 

Word processing packages are arguably the most-used application software.

Common examples of Word processing packages are Microsoft Word, Windows Wordperfect, notepad, Google docs.


B.  Spreadsheet packages: This is a multipurpose package that is used for planning, modeling, and forecasting purposes. 

Spreadsheet software is mostly utilized in budgeting, payroll, sales estimation, and calculations.

In a spreadsheet, a large matrix of cells with data items or formulas is held. To inspect cells, the page is scrolled down, up, right, or left.

The vertical cells are called columns while the horizontal cells are called rows. 

Among the better-known spreadsheet programs are Microsoft Excel, Supercalc and Lotus Works, Google sheet, libre office.


C. Database management system: A database is an anthology of data supporting the operations of the organization or groups of individuals.  

In simple terms, databases are the structured collection of data. 

To store, modify and manipulate databases, a special software called database management package, is used.

Database management package is software that organizes the repository of data in a way that facilitates its retrieval for many different applications.

The characteristics of this database are determined by the user’s need for flexibility in the data processing

Among the best-known Database management packages are Foxpro, Microsoft Access, Oracle.

D. Graphics packages: A graphics package is an application that can be used to create and manipulate images, calendars, brochures, etc. 

It makes use of lines and other shapes. With a graphic package, an individual can perform paintings on any object, create graphic images. Plus, a Graphic package can be used for artwork. 

Among the best-known graphics package is CorelDraw, Ms paint, Adobe photoshop, instant artist, and computer Aided Design(CAD).

E.  Presentation packages: These contain a text editor and other features that allow you to display information in the form of a slide show. 

Presentation packages allow you to insert and format text, images, and videos to a slide to make them more informative and comprehensive.

Ms. PowerPoint, Apple keynote, Google slide, slideBean, CustomShow are common examples of this kind of software.

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F. Desktop publishing packages: Desktop publishing(DTP) is the creation of printed content using desktop publishing packages. 

Desktop publishing packages are mostly used for creating greeting cards, posters, layout, and self-publishing.

Desktop publishing package-generated text and images are of high quality compared to traditional typeset printing. 


Among the better-known DTP packages are MS. publisher, QuarkXpress, Adobe Pagemaker, Adobe framework, Adobe Indesign.

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