Back In Time With Microsoft Excel

A very nice email, from someone who visited the Contextures website, made me think about how long I’ve been using Excel. My guess was that I’d started around 1987, so I fired up the old Mac laptop, and dug some old floppies out of the storage cupboard.

ExcelMac01

The laptop is a Mac PowerBook 170, from late 1991, and it’s running the Mac version of Excel 3.0. There’s a Mac 128K model in the back room too, but I didn’t have the strength to dig that out. (I hope the producers of the tv series, The Hoarders, don’t call me now.)

As you can see, the application files were much smaller in Excel 3.0. Of course, that still took a good chunk out of my 40MB hard drive.

ExcelMac02

Flashy Excel Charts

Even though the machine didn’t have colour, I was still able to make some pretty flashy 3-D charts in the old days. I have no idea what this was supposed to show, but maybe it was the results of an Olympic ski jumping event.

ExcelMac03

I’m sure that I never wasted any time playing TETRIS, when I was supposed to be working on Excel files.

ExcelMac04

Sorting a List

Way back then (and until Excel 2007), we were only able to sort by 3 levels, and we couldn’t sort by colour. That didn’t matter much to me, since I didn’t have colour!

ExcelMac05

My Oldest Excel File

There may be something older on a floppy disk at the back of the storage cupboard, but I finally found an Excel file that I’d worked on in April 1987. I was creating some Excel training files, to be used by Apple vendors.

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The Excel 3.0 File and Excel Toolbar

Here’s what the file looked like, and it’s interesting to see the minimalist toolbar too. Do you remember what all those icons were for?

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How Long Have You Used Excel?

There’s an Excel poll on my Debra D blog, so if you have a minute, please go and answer the question – How Long Have You Been Using Excel?

It’s About Time

When I was thinking of a title for this blog post, a really old (and really bad) tv series popped into my head – It’s About Time. The show was about two astronauts who accidentally break the time barrier, and go back to prehistoric days, where they live with a cave family. In a strange coincidence, Wikipedia says that one of the astronauts in It’s About Time was named Mac. By the way, they changed Imogene Coca’s character name to Shadd, after the pilot episode.

The series was by the creator of Gilligan’s Island, and used sets, props and music from that series. Here’s a clip from YouTube that shows the opening and closing credits and theme song. Please don’t blame me if the song gets stuck in your head.

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7 Responses

  1. Jon Peltier says:

    The MacExcel takes me back, but “It’s About Time” takes me back further. Haven’t thought about that show in decades.

  2. Gerald Strever says:

    Talking about Shag – have you seen the ad that imvu has posted on your blog website?

  3. @Jon — Me either. I don’t know what made me think of that show while writing this post.

    @Gerals — I just see Excel related ads, but I changed the post slightly, just in case. Thanks for the warning!

  4. Venus says:

    How funny, some time last week, the theme song suddenly came into my head. I was trying to remember what the show was about, so thank you for the reminder and the Youtube link.

  5. Doug Glancy says:

    I remember watching it. And I remember the modified theme song, very popular among my social set:

    It’s about time
    It’s about space
    It’s about time to slap your face

    There was one for “Branded” as well.

  6. @David, it’s nice that YouTube can help us pass along these cultural icons to the next generation.

    @Venus, that is funny! Obviously great minds thinking alike. ;-)

    @Doug, what kind of bad crowd were you spending time with?

  1. September 30, 2015

    […] I shared some of my earliest Excel memories on this blog, about 5 years ago – Back in Time with Microsoft Excel. […]

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