An application is a packaged set of computer instructions (software) and data that are first installed and then later executed by the computer's processor for the purpose of allowing the user to interact with the computer to create or process data or perform a specific task.


Text Editors

Text editors allow the user to create text files. These files are primitive and contain only text, no formatting such as bold, underscores, italics.

Here are a few examples of text editors:

  • vi & vim
  • emacs
  • Helios Textpad
  • Microsoft Notepad


Word Processors

Word processors are more advanced text editors. They allow the user to choose fonts, set text to be bold, italic or underscore and to organize information into tables. The most advanced word processors assist in the mundane tasks of producing a table of contents, the indexes etc.

Here are a few examples of word processors:

  • OpenOffice Writer
  • AbiWord
  • WordPerfect
  • Microsoft Word


Spreadsheets allow a user to create tables and columns of numbers and figures and perform calculations on those numbers. They are used in accounting to produce simple balance sheets. They are also used to organize large tables of information containing mixed types of information such as text, numbers and symbols.

Here are a few examples of spreadsheet applications:

  • OpenOffice Calc
  • Lotus 123
  • Microsoft Excel

E-Mail Clients

E-mail, or electronic mail, is a service widely available across the Internet as a faster alternative to ground-based physical mail. An e-mail client can connect to an e-mail server to receive mail or to send mail and the client provides the user with an interface in which to compose, edit, send and receive e-mail. Most e-mail clients today are very sophisticated and contain spelling checkers and can send and receive e-mail messages with pictures and formatted text.

Here are a few examples of e-mail clients:

  • Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Eudora
  • Microsoft Outlook

Web Browsers

A web browser is an application that lets you retrieve information from a remote computer. The web browser has the capability to understand files stored on the web server containing HTML markup codes that produce formatting of the text and arrangement of the text, images and other items in a web page.

Here are some examples of web browsers:

  • Mozilla Fire fox
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Safari (mostly Mac OScomputers)
  • Opera
  • Konqueror (mostly Linux computers)
  • Netscape


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