Application software

Application software is a subclass of computer software that employs the capabilities of a computer directly to a task that the user wishes to perform. This should be contrasted with system software which is involved in integrating a computer's various capabilities, but does not directly apply them in the performance of tasks that benefit the user. The term application refers to both the application software and its implementation.

A simple, if imperfect, analogy in the world of hardware would be the relationship of an electric light—an application—to an electric power generation plant—the system. The power plant merely generates electricity, itself not really of any use until harnessed to an application like the electric light which performs a service that the user desires.

Typical examples of software applications are word processors, spreadsheets and media players.

Multiple applications bundled together as a package are sometimes referred to as an application suite. Microsoft Office, which bundles together a word processor, a spreadsheet, and several other discrete applications, is a typical example. The separate applications in a suite usually have a user interface that has some commonality making it easier for the user to learn and use each application. And often they may have some capability to interact with each other in ways beneficial to the user. For example a spreadsheet might be able to be embedded in a word processor document even though it had been created in the separate spreadsheet application.

User software tailors systems to meet the users specific needs. User software include spreadsheet templates, word processor macros, scientific simulations, graphics and animation scripts. Even email filters are a kind of user software. Users create this software themselves and often overlook how important it is.

In some types of embedded systems, the application software and the operating system software may be indistinguishable to the user, as in the case of software used to control a VCR, DVD player or Microwave oven.


Application software classification

See also: List of software applications

Office suites

Computer-mediated communication


Analytical software

Collaborative software

Business software



External links

da:Applikation (datalogi) de:Anwendungsprogramm es:Aplicacin fr:Noms et utilisation de logiciels nl:Applicatie hu:Alkalmazs (szmtstechnika) ja:アプリケーションソフトウェア ru:Прикладное программное обеспечение simple:Application su:Aplikasi sv:Tillmpningsprogram zh:应用软件


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