Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
January 25, 2023

Happy Birthday, Microsoft Excel!

Thirty-five years ago this week, Microsoft Excel was born. Which means if you were born prior to 1985 you lived in a world without Excel. Unless you were born much earlier than 1985 chances are you didn’t even notice.

Of the great inventions of our time — iPods, streaming TV, Internet porn — Excel is right up there with broadband Internet and perhaps Hot Pockets.

The first electronic spreadsheet was developed in 1978 by Dan Bricklin, then a Harvard Business School student. This ancient ancestor of Excel looks quite different from what you’re used to these days, but also oddly familiar.

via Wikipedia

You kids probably don’t remember this but back in the day our computers were in permanent night mode. Some of them, anyway.

Excel made its debut on Mac systems on September 30, 1985. Two years later, it launched for Windows.

Via WinWorld

You’ve come a long way, baby!

Latest Accounting Jobs--Apply Now:

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.


  1. I must have been one of the first to use Excel. At KPMG (Actually Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. at the time) we had these little bitty “portable” Macintosh computers we had to haul to the job site. They had a spreadsheet program called Multiplan that we later switched to Excel. When I left public accounting and got a real job I then had to learn how to use Supercalc because everybody outside of KPMG used all IBM machines and couldn’t run Excel. A little later they issued Excel for Windows and then we were able to trade up to Excel.

    It sure beats the old 16 column manual spreadsheets.

Comments are closed.

Related articles

Overcoming the Five Stages of Lease Accounting Grief

When Thomson Reuters reported late last year that the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) had proposed an eighth round of changes to lease accounting rules1, accounting and finance execs around the country channeled their inner Charlie Browns with a collective, “Good grief!” The grief is understandable, although we’re not sure how “good” it is. The […]

an unemployed dog watching TV

Local Accounting Firm Baffled That Desperate Laid Off People Don’t Want to Work There

When big layoffs began in tech last year, accountants everywhere justifiably celebrated for having chosen a career that may not be the most prestigious (or exciting or lucrative…) but will always be in demand. While their employees were quietly boasting about not losing their jobs, it seems EY leadership was waiting in the wings hoping […]