Review of spreadsheet user interfaces
You can find these images with a quick image search, but I wanted examples of each in one place so I can see the general UI patterns. What are the common elements that a user sees? What do they have in common beyond the grid?
I should mention that a good number of these screenshots came from WinWorldPC.com, which is a great archive of all sorts of old software.
Here we go, roughly in in chronological order.
Table of object glasses from 1665
Let’s start off not entirely at the beginning, but pretty far back. What strikes me is that we have been struggling with vertical layouts for a long time. Source: Wikipedia
1700’s German ledger
Lotus 1-2-3 for MS DOS
I like the simplicity of Lotus-1-2-3 and other MS-DOS sheets. Nothing is hidden. Menus and interactions are clear. The surface area - literally and figuratively - is small. Source: Twitter - Anatoly Shashkin - @dosnostalgic
Multiplan for MS DOS
I’ve never used Multiplan, but as far as I can tell, grids have column numbers instead of letters, and you can have multiple grid listed sequentially, each capped at a certain number of rows. I can imagine this would be convenient when it came to adding a section for aggregation calculations. Source: winworldpc.com
Better Working Eight-in-One for MS-DOS
Better Working Eight-in-One, from Spinnaker Software is an integrated office suite for DOS. It contains a word processor, a spelling checker, a data base, a spreadsheet, an outliner, a graphics program, a communications program and a set of desktop utilities - all in one single, consistent application.
Boeing Calc 300E
Did you know that Boeing made a spreadsheet product back in the 1980’s? Source: winworldpc.com
Javelin Plus 1.0
This one is billed as an “analysis and reporting tool” but it looks a lot like a spreadsheet. The key difference is that columns are named by what they represent rather than a sequential index. Source: winworldpc.com
Borland Office 2.0 For Windows 3.1
CA Compete! 4.2
It looks like a spreadsheet that is cell based, but it’s actually based on objects, meaning you have to reference data by name of the object/model. This seems like it would limit the free-form intention of a spreadsheet, but also keep you from making mistakes. Source: winworldpc.com
Corel Office 7 / Correl Quattro Pro 7
Essentially the same version of the same spreadsheet product, but sold with different software packages. Source: shoplack.com
Google Sheets 2019
Scheme In A Grid - 2019