Types of Programs Found in Office Productivity Suites

Word processors, spreadsheets, notes, presentations, email, and more

Whether you are just starting out with an office software suite or just want to get more out of it, knowing which types of programs are included is the first step to boosting your productivity.

Applications Included in Popular Office Software Suites

Every office software suite is different, so don't assume every suite will feature all programs you may have had in a previous suite. That said, most often, the following programs are included in a given software suite. In other cases, they must be purchased or downloaded separately.

This quick list will give you an understanding of what to look for, as well as tips or tricks for getting more out of each program.

Word Processor

Word Processing Image by Carol Brusch

Carol Brusch

This popular program type is the power horse of most office software suites. Word processors allow users to write, edit, structure, or otherwise manipulate information, which can then be printed or shared electronTically with others.


Spreadsheet Image by Carol Brusch

Carol Brusch

This type of program organizes numerical and textual data, and functions like a calculator. Additional formulas can be programmed into the spreadsheet for various mathematical and financial computations. The spreadsheet also charts and graphs that data.

Presentation / Slide Show

Slide Show Presentation Program Image by Carol Brusch

Carol Brusch

These applications provide a series of document spaces which can be displayed in a sequence. Using a slide show tool aids in communicating an idea, whether it is projected on a screen or packaged for a web browser.

Email Client, Contact Management and Calendars

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Carol Brusch

These programs access and manage a user's email, which often includes a scheduling calendar and task-monitoring system. Integration with the rest of the suite allows documents to be sent right to email, for example.

Database Management

Relational Database Image by Carol Brusch

Carol Brusch

This software stores data very precisely and categorically, so that each of the parts can be constantly rearranged or reported. It can be thought of as providing customized reporting of data parts. For this reason, office suite database management systems are often called relational databases.

Desktop Publisher

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This application goes beyond a word processor in editing and document production, by offering greater graphical and layout possibilities.

Drawing and Graphics Software

Graphics Software Image by Carol Brusch

Carol Brusch

Creatives use this kind of program to create visual representations, using its tools in conjunction with the mouse, keyboard, or stylus pad. One note: a "Raster Image Editor" manipulates images according to a digital or pixelated approach, while a "Vector Image Editor" manipulates images according to a mathematical, coordinate-based approach.

Math, Formula Editor and Equation Editor

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Carol Brusch

These programs are usually small add-ins within a program such as Word or OneNote, allowing users to writes out mathematical formulas as text, with an emphasis on communicating mathematical logic but newer versions are also capable of calculations.

Personal Organizer and Note Program

Personal Organization Software Image, Carol Brusch

Carol Brusch

Particularly customized for mobile use, this program allows the user to create lists, turn them into trackable tasks, and otherwise communicate in an organized way. This application is usually synced, or aligned, with the user's email client application.

Project Management

Project Management Program by Carol Brusch

Carol Brusch

As opposed to personal management, personal scheduling, or contact management, this program provides tools for organizing large-scale projects involving many people.

Diagramming and Brainstorming

Diagramming Software Image by Carol Brusch

Carol Brusch

As a kind of drawing tool, this program allows a user to create lines and shapes in order to convey architectural diagrams, organizational charts, flowcharts, and other visual communications

PDF (PostScript Printer Description Language)

PDF File Computer Cartoon Image by Carol Brusch

Carol Brusch

This application converts a page of text into a picture, such that it is not easily edited or manipulated by readers. Another function has been to offer users of different computer programs to be able to read a given document.

Each software company packages their office productivity suites to contain different programs. Microsoft Office is, of course, the industry leader for productivity suites, but please check out this complete index of productivity suites for alternatives that may be suited for your tasks.

For entrepreneurs, I suggest looking to your business plan as a way to assess what kinds of programs you will want to have on board.

Likewise, please investigate how office suite add-ons, non-suite application software, and enterprise software augment your chosen productivity software.