In 1978, Harvard Business School student Dan Bricklin (the father of modern day spreadsheets) had to do some analysis task for his case study.  To do this he had two alternatives: do it by hand or use a clumsy mainframe program.  Bricklin throught there must be a better way.  He envisioned “an electronic blackboard and electronic chalk in a classroom.”  By the fall of 1978, Bricklin had programmed the first working prototype of his concept which he named VisiCalc.  The first version of VisiCalc could manipulate a matric of five columns and 20 rows.  It wasn’t even close to the modern day spreadsheets but still VisiCalc was an instant success.

The History Of Microsoft Excel

Source: Excel Trick