Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Computer Software
Figure 31
Worksheet data displayed as a graph
One of the most common types of application software is database management soft-
ware, which lets you collect and manage data. A database is a collection of information
stored on one or more computers. The explosion of information in our society is primarily
organized and managed in databases. A structured database is organized in a uniform for-
mat of records and fields. A record is a collection of data items in a database. A field is
one piece of information in the record. Data is the actual information in a field. A familiar
example of a structured database is the online catalog of books at a library. This database
contains one record for each book in the library, and within each record, several fields
that identify the title, the author, and the subjects that the book can be classified under.
The information in each field is the data for that record.
Structured databases typically store data that describes a collection of similar entities.
Some other examples are student academic records, medical records, a warehouse inven-
tory, or an address book.
A free-form database is a loosely structured collection of information, usually stored as
documents rather than as records. The collection of word processing documents you have
created and stored on your computer is an example of a free-form database. Another example
is an encyclopedia stored on a CD-ROM containing documents, photographs, and even
video clips. The most familiar example of a free-form database in our society is the World
Wide Web with its millions of documents stored worldwide.
Graphics and presentation software allow you to create illustrations, diagrams, graphs, and
charts that can be projected before a group, printed out for quick reference, or transmitted to
remote computers. Most application software allows you to include graphics that you can cre-
ate yourself using graphics software, such as Microsoft Paint or Adobe PhotoShop. You can also
use clip art , simple drawings that are included as collections with many software packages.
Figure 32 shows a slide from a presentation created in Microsoft PowerPoint—a popular pre-
sentation software program that allows you to create colorful presentations and transparencies.
 
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