[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Microsoft Multiplan

April 13th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Microsoft Multiplan Apple II advertisement  - Personal Computing - 1983Leeloo Dallas Multiplan

[ From Personal Computing, October 1983, p.160 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first electronic spreadsheet program you ever used?

15 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Microsoft Multiplan”

  1. Stan Says:

    AppleWorks! My friends and I used to have these goofy little sports leagues and I used the AppleWorks spreadsheet to keep track of the standings. And I think I used the the database track the results of each game.

  2. TBFL Says:

    VisiCalc on the Atari 800XL…

    I still have the original case and discs on a shelf in the other room…

  3. Moondog Says:

    it was either Exel or Lotus 123

  4. TNLongFellow Says:

    I have to go with Lotus 123. It came with an old Packard Bell 286 on 5 1/2 inch disc. I used it to keep up with hockey stats 🙂

  5. Jistuce Says:

    Microsoft Excel, like a POSER.

    I do have a copy of the 99/4a version of Multiplan, though. Maybe I should fire it up for street cred.

  6. John Says:

    I think it was BusiCalc for me. I didn’t use spreadsheets that often back then – usually for tracking D&D and Car Wars stuff just for fun.

  7. SirFatty Says:


    as a side note, I just purchased a few reconditioned laptops that came with Wordperfect suite that features Quatro Pro.

    I had no idea any of that still exists… and why does it exist?

  8. Chester Says:

    Not sure if it was CP/M SuperCalc or Apple II VisiCalc – “alternative” copies of both were available on the Apple II with Z80 SoftCard that my dad got second-hand when I was a kid. But the first “serious” uses were on AppleWorks.

    Later in the game, I also used a Double Hi-Res WYSIWYG spreadsheet software that was command-compatible with Lotus 1-2-3, but can’t remember its name. It claimed to read/write 1-2-3-compatible files, but given that no one I knew had a disk drive capable of reading/writing MS-DOS disks, the ability was kind of moot. I always awed people with that one and MultiScribe when they asked why I insisted on the Apple II when everyone migrated to “more powerful” DOS PCs. Anyone remembers the name for that?

  9. DNA Says:

    The first computer I ever owned, just a teenager at the time, was a TRS-80 (Tandy Color Computer) 3. I recall having a spreadsheet program, though can’t remember if it came bundled or whether I did anything other than tinker about with the UI.

    I do remember playing Tetris on that machine and pretty much thinking it was the coolest thing ever… until the Game Boy came around.

  10. Mattel Aquarius Says:

    Deskmate 3 on the COCO III. I was never able to get FinForm for my Aquarius bitd, but eventually got it around 1999. By then, it was horribly out of date, and included a fatal bug that prevented accurate subtraction, of all things.

    We also used a DOS based one in high school. The amber screen is burned in my retina, but I can’t remember the software brand. Those amber screens were quite pleasing to the eyes.

  11. Alexander Says:

    Excel, for sure. At least that’s my best guess.

  12. Benj Edwards Says:

    It’s funny that you guys mentioned non-business uses of spreadsheets. My brother and his friends used AppleWorks running on an Apple IIc in the 1980s to keep track of their Pursue the Pennant fantasy sports teams. They also kept stats on their favorite Bard’s Tale characters.

    Oh, and the first spreadsheet program I ever seriously used (aside from trying something once or twice, as I did with many before) was Excel 2000, part of the Microsoft Office 2000 suite. Heck, I still use it, but don’t tell anybody.

  13. Galactus Says:

    Lotus 1-2-3, the best! 🙂

    MS Multiplan was crappy and clunky.

  14. Daniel Says:

    First spreadsheet I ever used was Lotus 1-2-3 for MS-DOS back in high school. Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect 5.1 and QBASIC were taught in our high school back in the late 80s.

  15. Alexandre MONTARON Says:

    Hi !

    Just hacked an enhanced (colored – 4 colors) version of this Multiplan I used in the 90’s under CP/M Plus (or 2.2) snapshoot here : http://canal.chez.com/CPM/mp4color.gif

    on a 4MHz Z80: was pretty slow however …
    Alex. – http://canal.chez.com/CPM/mp-vt100.htm

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