[ Retro Scan of the Week ] 30 Years of VisiCalc

November 2nd, 2009 by Benj Edwards

VisiCalc Ad - 1979Reminds me of a Superman comic book cover.

Thirty years ago this October, Personal Software unleashed VisiCalc, the world’s first spreadsheet software for personal computers, upon an unsuspecting computer populace. Invented and developed by Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston of Software Arts, VisiCalc has become legendary for its influence on the personal computer industry.

VisiCalc, with its almost magical ability to instantly and intelligently crunch multiple cascading figures, proved to be the Apple II’s killer app — the application that gave the Apple II a viable foothold in the business market and drove the machine’s sales.

Of course, other spreadsheet packages (Lotus 1-2-3 and Excel come to mind) soon imitated and then eclipsed VisiCalc in sales, but we should all raise a glass and toast the original on this fine 30th anniversary.

For more information, check out Dan Bricklin’s website. Dan also has a new book available that you might be interested in.

[ From BYTE Magazine, November 1979 ]

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

2 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] 30 Years of VisiCalc”

  1. Peter Hales Says:

    I am looking for a high-resolution image of this ad for a book I’m doing. Do you have access to one or an idea where I can find one?

    Art History Department
    The University of Illinois at Chicago

  2. Jochen Steinig Says:

    1980 I bought an Apple II (Euro Plus) with a german keyboard. I was aged 21 and had never used a computer before. I didn’t even know what to do with the machine. Unfortunately all manuals came in english. Therefore I had to learn english first and than I tried to learn BASIC. VisiCalc was the first application that did let me use my Apple II. Almost 37 years later (meanwhile computing did change life dramatic) I have suddenly remembered its programs name and I am glade to find some information about it in the world wide web. Thanks to those guys who preserve the stuff from personal computing beginnings! Yes, if a hires pic from the above ad is available I am interested too. Thank you very much. Jochen Steinig, Berlin Germany

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