What is Application Software: Types and Examples

Updated Oct 14, 2022.
application software

Software programs are an everyday necessity for meeting your personal and business needs. 

With so many application software programs available in the market, you need to know how to select the best options for your business. Failure to choose the right applications built for your needs can increase your costs and decrease your productivity. 

Choosing the right application program results in tremendous benefits in terms of efficiency and productivity.

This article will guide you in choosing the right application software for your business needs.

Let’s get started. 

What is Application Software? 

Application software is a computer program that performs specific functions that often range from personal and educational to business functions. 

By functioning as an end-user program, productivity application software is configured to assist users in undergoing specific processes to improve productivity, creativity, and communication of computer programs. 

Application software and system software differ. System software manages the system resources and includes the operating system, hypervisors, and drivers. Examples of system software include firmware, networking software, operating systems, and software utilities.

On the other hand, application software enables you to carry out specific functions and does not operate beyond its configured scope of operation. 

They effectively carry out the task they were programmed to do to the latter, be it either jotting down notes, carrying out extensive research on topics, or even playing games. 

Most popular web browsers are application software designed to assist in carrying out the task of surfing the internet. Another example is Microsoft PowerPoint which you can find in the Microsoft Office software suite. This software application is built to help in making presentations. 

A large majority of the application programs on smartphones are typical examples of custom application software. 

Different Types of Application Software Used By Businesses

There are different types of application software, each depending on its intended use. 

Although most application software can multi-task and serve more than one function, the final choice of what software to incorporate for your business depends on your business's specific needs.

Here are some common types of application software used by businesses.

1. Word Processing Software

Word processing software helps you create a document or letter with text. You can use it to add aesthetic value to your text. 

A word processor offers features such as thesaurus, synonyms, and antonyms, which help provide users clarity on words encountered during processing. This word processing software provides a means to check grammar and spelling and make corrections. 

The word art feature allows users to make changes to a text's font and font color, add special effects and tweak the style to the taste of its users. 

A few examples of word processors that double as word processing software include:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Google Docs
  • LibreOffice Writer
  • Corel WordPerfect
  • iWork Pages
Word Processing Software

2. Presentation Software

Presentation software is a category under application software that allows users to visualize their thoughts and ideas as visual information. 

This information is then broken down, distributed appropriately, and made visible as slides. These slides contain information in the form of texts, images, graphs, videos, or any graphical representation of information. 

Most typical presentation software offers a text editor that allows users to input and edit texts, a tool to insert text, graphs, images, and videos to the slides, and a visual slideshow to display all the relevant information added as slides. 

Examples of presentation software include:

  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Visme
  • Pitch
  • Prezi
  • Google Slides
  • Keynote
Presentation Software

3. Multimedia Software

Multimedia software allows users the necessary tools to store or create data in the form of multimedia files. These multimedia files can be in the form of videos, audio, or images. Recordings are also essential parts of multimedia software. 

Different multimedia applications include photo editors, audio editors, video editors, animation software, media player, and music production software.

You can use this software to create visual animations, edit videos, and create recordings, graphics, and images.

Examples of multimedia applications include:

  • VLC Player
  • MX Player
  • Windows Media Player
  • Apple Logic Pro X
Multimedia Software

4. Spreadsheet Software

Spreadsheet software is used majorly for the task of performing calculations. Data emanating from this software program is stored in a table format. 

The area of intersection of these tables is termed cells. These cells are separated into a defined data field to indicate time, date, text, and numbers. 

With the right knowledge, users can use spreadsheet software to perform basic calculations. There is also a provision for formulas and functions for specific calculations of the user's choosing. 

Examples of spreadsheet software programs include:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Google Sheets
  • Apple Numbers
  • Zoho Sheets
Spreadsheet Software

5. Web Browsers

Web browsers are applications that grant users unlimited access to the internet. By providing access to the internet, they help users locate and retrieve data of their choosing from the internet. As important as the internet is, it is useless if you cannot access it. 

This application acts as the bridge that stands in the gap between the internet and intending users. 

Some popular web browsers include:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Safari
  • Opera
Web Browsers

6. Graphics Software 

Graphics software allows users to make changes to the graphical outlook of their data. Changes in visual data, animation, and imagery are the bulk of what this application software offers. 

This software provides illustration and picture editing, allowing users to tweak their visual data to the highest resolution and attainable standard. It is the best for graphic design roles

The best graphics application software available includes:

  • PaintShop Pro
  • CorelDraw Graphics Suite
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Sketch
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Canva
Graphics Software

7. Educational Software

The programs under this type of application software are designed to assist in the learning process of its users to a reasonable extent. Learning can be in the form of a subject, online courses, or a topic as a whole. Another name for this software is tutorial software.

Academic software includes online course platforms and learning management systems that provide users with an educational experience. 

Online learning is gradually taking a giant leap in the educational system configuration of many countries. It has proven to be one of the fastest ways to reduce illiteracy. 

Several academic software has helped to ensure continuous learning from the comfort of your home.

Examples of the best educational software that offers the best learning experience include: 

  • Thinkific
  • LearnWorlds
  • Kajabi
  • Teachable
  • Podia
  • LearnDash
Educational Software

8. Simulation Software 

Simulation software allows users to perform observatory functions without being directly involved in carrying out these functions.

These functions often come out as hazardous and require the keenest attention to detail to carry out these functions. The world of engineering, robotics, flight navigation systems, weather forecasting, military engineering, and video gaming use this software.

Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies are utilized alongside this application software to create the best user experience. 

Examples of simulation software programs include:

  • MATLAB 
  • AnyLogic
  • SimScale
Simulation Software

9. Desktop Publishing Software 

Desktop publishing software falls under the system software category designed to assist users in creating and making sense of their visual communication data to be presented as brochures, business and greeting cards, web pages, and posters. 

This system software is handy for businesses in the graphics designing field, commercial printing, and small-scale business industries.

Examples of desktop publishing applications include:

  • Adobe InDesign
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Scribus
  • QuarkXPress
Desktop Publishing Software

10. Communication Software

The sole aim of communication software is to allow users to disseminate information effectively from one system to another. 

By providing remote access to systems, users can transmit files through their computer system to other computer systems. 

Some of the best communication system software include:

Business Application Software

Business application software is a category of application software that covers specific business processes. They are application programs designed for business processes and to improve a business's efficiency and overall function. 

This system software is crucial for certain business functions like improving customer relationships or resource planning. 

Implementing the right application software often goes a long way in saving cost, time, and valuable resources while improving the efficiency and productivity of multiple projects. 

Here are some of the commonly used business application software available in the business world:

1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

CRM software is a software program that manages the relationship between a business enterprise and its existing and potential customers by adequately analyzing and scrutinizing key customer data. 

CRM systems are very important to any business organization. The goal of any successful business is to build a lasting relationship with its customers. CRM software helps to bridge the gap between that statement and the actual realization of it. 

5 CRM Benefits
Source: Tech.co

The best CRM software for businesses includes:

  • Pipedrive
  • Keap
  • Freshworks CRM
  • Zoho CRM
  • Monday CRM

2. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is designed to manage the existing systems of a business organization. 

ERP and CRM systems aim to simplify the activities of a business further to benefit the organization. The differences between ERP and CRM systems span from investment costs to usage. 

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) performs the functions of accounting software by managing risks and compliance with the supply chain of projects associated with the business. 

Apart from functioning as accounting software, an ERP system handles other facets of your business, such as procurements, accounting, risk management compliance, project management, and supply chain operations.

Examples of ERP software systems include:

  • NetSuite
  • Odoo
  • Oracle
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Dynamics

3. Project Management Software

Project management software is a computer system that can perform various tasks, from efficiently planning a business project to appropriately scheduling tasks and allocating resources needed

You can utilize this software to help carry out all the functions required for a business project. 

Managing the project and cost, documenting progress made, and reporting key milestones attained are all important functions of a business that project management software helps implement. 

Most used project management software features
Source: Workamajig

Examples of the best project management software include:

  • Monday.com
  • ClickUp
  • Wrike
  • Teamwork
  • Asana
  • ProofHub

4. Database Software

The sole aim of database software, or database management system (DBMS), as it is fondly called, is to assist in properly managing an organization's database. 

Every organization carrying out its daily activities is confronted with a steady stream of business data, and a basic structure needs to be implemented to deal with these data as they arrive. 

For every computer software application you run, data is constantly retrieved from the database. This database management software creates a comprehensive database to store, search, manipulate and extract key business data of an organization when required. 

Some of the best database software systems include:

  • Knack
  • Improvado
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)
  • Oracle RDBMS

5. Business Process Management (BPM) Software

BPM software provides users with an automation tool for more productive business processes. It aims to define, report and automate a particular process of an organization's business where required. This, in turn, optimizes the organization's business. 

Some of the best BPM software solutions include:

  • Monday.com
  • Wrike
  • Process Bliss
  • Forecast.app
  • Kissflow

6. Resource Management Software

Resource management software assists businesses in managing their already limited resources better. 

Resources are usually not sufficient to see a business project to completion. Any slight deviation from this set path causes a strain on the business proceedings of the organization. 

Resource management software comes in handy for organizations that run simultaneous projects. It helps to ensure the most efficient distribution of resources across all projects. 

The best resource management software includes:

  • Monday.com
  • Mavenlink
  • Wrike
  • 10,000ft by Smartsheet
  • Forecast.app

Different Types of Application Software Based on Shareability and Availability

Apart from the educational, business, and personal functions they perform, application software can be further categorized based on its shareability and availability. 

1. Freeware Application Software

This software application is free and can be accessed from the internet, although it does not allow room for modification. 

Examples of this application software are web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. 

2. Shareware Application Software

Shareware software applications are usually distributed freely to users on a limited-time basis. Users are required to pay for a wider range of access. 

WinZip and Adobe Acrobat are popular examples of application software under this category. 

3. Open Source Application Software

This software application comes with its specific source code that allows users to modify and make changes to features of the software. 

Moodle and Apache Web Server are popular examples of open-source application software.

4. Closed Source Application Software

Closed source application software (also called commercial software) is a category where a large majority of software applications are housed. This custom application software has restricted access to its users. It often requires a fee for access and comes with intellectual property rights for the source code. 

Some applications in this category are Microsoft Windows, WinRAR, and Adobe Flash Player. 

Functions of Application Software

Application software is specifically designed to execute a wide variety of functions aimed at meeting specific user needs. The functions of application software are not limited to its application but depend solely on its intended use. 

Here are some common functions of application software.

1. Managing Data and Information

Application software programs help to manage and manipulate data when needed. Customer data forms the bulk of data required by most software programs to manage. This management is extended to important documents in document exchange systems. 

2. Visuals and Video Development

Application software effectively creates and manipulates images and videos to the desire of its users. Graphics software is a typical example.

3. Coordinating Resources

Application software helps users properly and efficiently use system resources. By accounting for these resources, such software can help you better manage your resources. 

4. Reports and Business Management

Application software is useful for automating many business processes such as writing reports, creating spreadsheets, keeping records, developing websites, project management, business process management, and risk management. 

5. Accounting

Businesses use application software, notably accounting software, to help perform calculations, accounting, finance payroll processes, hiring, and onboarding processes.

Examples of Application Software

A wide variety of application software exists, cutting across all key areas of industry. Popular examples of application software are our everyday computer software programs and mobile apps. 

Here are some common examples of application software:

  • All Microsoft Products: Microsoft is one of the leading application software developers using mostly visual data. Its products include Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, Office, Outlook, and various other computer software. 
  • Music Application Software: Pandora, Apple Music, and Spotify are the major industry players in the field of music application software. 
  • Communication Application Software: The global need for real-time online communication is increasing rapidly. Skype, Google Meet, and Zoom are the top software that enables online communication. 
  • Team Collaboration Software: Monday.com, ClickUp, Wrike, and Slack are online collaboration software to help you manage remote teams effectively.
  • Internet Browsers: They are key application software to our everyday life. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Mozilla Firefox are all notable examples. 
  • Multimedia Software: MX Player, Windows Media Player, and VLC Media Player all fall under multimedia software.
  • Productivity Software: Monday.com, ClickUp, Wrike, and Teamwork are the best productivity tools to help you get more things done in less time.

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Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.