Application Software

Application Software

Application Software

Application Software, also called a software application or an application, consists of programs that perform specific tasks for users. Application software has been used for a variety of reasons:

As a productivity/Business tool

To assist with graphics and multimedia projects

To maintain household actions, for personal business, or for education

To facilitate communications

Application Software

 The table below categorizes popular types of application software by their general use. You likely will find yourself using software from more than one of these categories.

Categories of application software

Productivity/Business Graphic Design/Multimedia Home/Personal/ Educational Communication
Word Processing Computer-Aided Design Integrated Software E-Mail
Spread Sheet Desktop Publishing (Professional) Legal Web Browser
Presentation Graphics Paint/Image Editing (Professional) Tax Preparation Chat r\Rooms
Database Video And Audio Editing Desktop Publishing (Personal) Newsgroups
Personal Information Management Multimedia Authoring Paint/Image Editing (Personal) Instant Messaging
Software Suite Web page Authoring Home Designing/Landscaping Groupware
Project Management   Education Videoconferencing
Accounting   Reference  
Categories of Application Software

These four categories are not mutually exclusive. For example, an E-Mail program is a communications tool and a productivity tool. A software suite is a productivity tool that also can include web page authoring software. Both home users and business users have legal software.

Application Software

A variety of application software is available as packaged software that you can purchase from software vendors in retail stores or on the web. A software package is a specific software product, such as Microsoft word, many software packages also are available as shareware, freeware, and public Domain Software. These packages, however, usually have less capability than retail software packages.

Common Features of Application Software

                Although application software packages are different in their use of particular commands and functions, most of them have some features familiar:

Insertion point

The insertion point (left) is the movable symbol on the display screen that shows you where you may enter data next. You can move the insertion point around using either the keyboard’s directional arrow keys or by clicking with the mouse.


                Scrolling (right) is the activity of moving quickly upward or downward through the text or other screen display.  A standard computer screen displays only 20-22 lines of standard–size text. Of course, the majority of documents are longer than that. Using the directional arrow keys or a mouse, you can move (scroll) through the display screen and into the text above and below it.


                Windows is a rectangular section of the display screen with a title bar on top. Each window may show a different display, such as a word processing document in one and a spreadsheet in another.

Menu Bar

A menu bar is a row of menu options displayed across the top or the bottom of the screen.

 Pull-Down menu

                A pull-down menu (left) is a list of command options or choices that is “Pulled-Down” out of the menu bar. Pull-Down menus can be opened by keystroke commands or by “clicking” (Pressing) the mouse button while pointing to the title in the menu bar and then dragging the mouse pointer down. Some menus “pop up” from the menu bar and so are called pop-up menus.

Help menu and screens

  A help menu (right) offers a choice of help screens, and specific displayed explanations of how to perform various tasks, such as printing out a document. Having a set of help screens like having a built-in electronic instruction manual. Help features also include searchable topic indexes and online glossaries. Help may also be available in the form of an assistant. In this case, the applications program leads you through a series of questions to determine exactly what you need help with. Then it leads you through a series of questions to determine exactly what you need help with. Then it leads you through the steps to accomplish your objective. The assistant appears as an icon or cartoon character you click on (left).


In a graphical user interface, buttons (Right) are used to represent file names and popular features and functions. Buttons are usually identified by a small graphic, called an icon (left). Most applications use toolbars to group related buttons.


A toolbar is a row of on-screen buttons, usually appearing immediately below the menus bar, used to activate a variety of functions of the application program.  The toolbar can often be customized and moved around n the screen.

Dialog box

A dialog box (right) is a box that appears on the screen. It is used to collect information from the user and to display helpful messages.

Default values

Default values are the standard setting employed by the computer when a user does not specify an alternative. For example, unless you specify particular margin width in your page setup, the word processing program will use the manufacturer’s default values.


A macro is a feature that allows you to use a single keystroke, command, or a toolbar button to automatically issue a pre-determined series of commands.  Thus you can consolidate several keystrokes or Manu selections into only one or two keystrokes. Although many people have no need for macros, you will find them unique and useful if you need to continue to repeat complicated patterns of keystrokes.


Many software applications have the ability to integrate applications using OLE (object linking and embedding). This feature enables you to embed an object created using one application (such as graphics) into another application (such as word processing). Changes made to the embedded object affect only the documents that contain it. Objects can also blink. In this case, thus OLE facilitates the sharing and manipulating of information. An object may be a document, worksheet, chart, picture, or even a sound recording.


Many application software programs allow you to copy an item from one document and paste it into another document or application. Or copy an item and place the copy in another part of the same document. The clipboard is an area where the copy is held before it is pasted.

Tutorials and documentation

How are you going to learn a given software program? Most commercial packages come with tutorials. A tutorial is an interaction book or program that takes you through a prescribed series of steps to help you to learn the product. The tutorial must be contrasted with documentation.

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