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University of VictoriaIntroduction to IT English
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Different Types of Software

Here are some common types of software. Click on More » to see more information about each type of software.

Type Operating systems
Examples Microsoft Windows. Linux. Macintosh OS X.
Purpose Control your computer.
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Type Word processors
Examples Word. Corel WordPerfect. AbiWord.
Purpose Write essays, novels, reports, or other types of text.
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Type Spreadsheets
Examples Excel. Lotus 1-2-3. VisiCalc.
Purpose Track budgets or investments, or make other calculations.
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Type Presentation software
Examples PowerPoint.
Purpose Create slideshows for meetings.
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Type Database management systems
Examples Access. Oracle. Sybase. 4th Dimension.
Purpose Organize and filter lists of data, such as addresses or inventories.
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Type Photo editors
Examples Photoshop. Fireworks. PhotoPaint. Gimp.
Purpose Change digital photos and other images.
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Type Games
Examples The Sims. PacMan. Minesweeper.
Purpose Have fun playing or experiencing challenges.
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Type Desktop publishing
Examples PageMaker. InDesign. QuarkXPress.
Purpose Make a magazine, a poster, or an advertisement.
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Type Computer-aided design (CAD) software
Examples AutoCAD. SolidWorks. MicroStation.
Purpose Create blueprints or designs.
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Type Web browsers
Examples Internet Explorer. Netscape. Mozilla Firefox. Opera. Safari.
Purpose View pages on the World Wide Web.
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Type E-mail clients
Examples Outlook. Eudora. Entourage.
Purpose Send letters and files to other people.
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And these categories are just the beginning.

Programmers have also created software to do the following tasks:

  • Organize employee schedules
  • Encode messages to protect bank transactions and other private information
  • Change speech into type
  • Format screenplays
  • Determine how to get the most lumber from a log
  • Count down seconds, like an egg timer
  • Create music CDs
  • Block unwanted advertisements on the World Wide Web or in e-mail
  • Keep track of airplane traffic
  • Design Web sites
  • Edit sound recordings
  • Help create more software

You have probably thought of examples not mentioned yet.

The same computer could be used for thousands of different tasks, depending on what software it runs.