Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 1: Excel 2010: Where It Came From
it did not have a graphical user interface (GUI). More trivia: Quattro Pro was based on an obscure
product called Surpass, which Borland acquired.
Released in late 1990, Quattro Pro Version 2.0 added 3-D graphs and a link to Borland’s Paradox
database. A mere six months later — much to the chagrin of Quattro Pro book authors — Version
3.0 appeared, featuring an optional graphical user interface and a slide show feature. In the
spring of 1992, Version 4 appeared with customizable SpeedBars and an innovative analytical
graphics feature. Version 5, which came out in 1994, had only one significant new feature:
worksheet notebooks (that is, 3-D worksheets).
Like Lotus, Borland was slow to jump on the Windows bandwagon. When Quattro Pro for
Windows finally shipped in the fall of 1992, however, it provided some tough competition for the
other two Windows spreadsheets, Excel 4.0 and 1-2-3 Release 1.1 for Windows. Importantly,
Quattro Pro for Windows had an innovative feature, known as the UI Builder, that let developers
and advanced users easily create custom user interfaces.
Also worth noting was a lawsuit between Lotus and Borland. Lotus won the suit, forcing Borland
to remove the 1-2-3 macro compatibility and 1-2-3 menu option from Quattro Pro. This ruling was
eventually overturned in late 1994, however, and Quattro Pro can now include 1-2-3 compatibility
features (as if anyone really cares). Both sides spent millions of dollars on this lengthy legal fight,
and when the dust cleared, no real winner emerged.
Borland followed up the original Quattro Pro for Windows with Version 5. In 1994, Novell
purchased WordPerfect International and Borland’s entire spreadsheet business, and Version 6 was
In 1996, WordPerfect and Quattro Pro were both purchased by Corel Corporation. As I write, the
current version of Quattro Pro is Version 14, which is part of WordPerfect Office X4.
There was a time when Quattro Pro seemed the ultimate solution for spreadsheet developers.
But then Excel 5 arrived.
And now on to the good stuff.
Most people don’t realize that Microsoft’s experience with spreadsheets extends back to the early
’80s. Over the years, Microsoft’s spreadsheet offerings have come a long way, from the barely
adequate MultiPlan to the powerful Excel 2010.
It started with MultiPlan
In 1982, Microsoft released its first spreadsheet, MultiPlan. Designed for computers running the
CP/M operating system, the product was subsequently ported to several other platforms,
including Apple II, Apple III, XENIX, and MS-DOS.
MultiPlan essentially ignored existing software user-interface standards. Difficult to learn and use,
it never earned much of a following in the United States. Not surprisingly, Lotus 1-2-3 pretty
much left MultiPlan in the dust.