Types of Application Software: A Detailed Guide for 2022

Exploring the different types of application software that businesses need today!




Application software or simply application (app) has become our everyday companion. From the Microsoft Office suite of products to Gmail and Facebook Messenger, all of us use different types of application software to meet various personal and professional purposes.

We have all come a long way from the old-generation of computers that had just one application software, which was installed onto individual machines using floppy disks and CD ROMs. Today, we have multiple types of application software to suit every need and purpose. While that is exciting, it also places before us an array of choices. You may be wondering which of these application software fulfills the needs of your business. To help you with this, here is a detailed guide to the types of application software.

Read more: Fingent Ranked as India’s Top Software Developer for 2022  

What is Application Software?

Application software is a computer program that performs a specific function, be it educational, personal, or business. It is also known as an end-user program or a productivity program. You can think of your PC as a cake and the application software as the frosting on top of it. It is the application software (frosting) that you, the user, gets to see upfront when you are working with the computer.

Application software is developed to assist you with a particular process that may be related to creativity, productivity, or better communication. It helps you in completing your tasks, be it jotting down notes, completing your online research, setting an alarm, keeping an account log, or even playing games.

Application software programs are specific in their functionality and do the job that they are designed to do. For instance, a browser is an application used specifically for browsing the Internet. Similarly, MS PowerPoint is an application designed specifically for making presentations. All the apps that we see on our smartphones are examples of types of application software.

Read more: Mobile Application Development: Your Ultimate Guide for 2022

Different Types of Application Software Used by Businesses

Picking up the right application software for personal or business use can improve function and efficiency. Understanding the different types of application software will help you save cost, time, and resources, enhance productivity, and improve decision-making.

Some of the commonly used application software are:

  • Word processors
  • Graphics software
  • Database software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Presentation software
  • Web browsers
  • Enterprise software
  • Information worker software
  • Multimedia software
  • Education and reference software
  • Content access software

While the list of application software is more exhaustive than this, we have tried to detail a few of the important types of application software below.

1. Presentation software 

Presentation is a type of application software that enables you to represent your thoughts and ideas with ease and clarity by using visual information. It lets you display the information in the form of slides. You can make your slide more informative and engrossing by adding text, images, graphs, and videos. It has three components:

  • Text editor to input and format text
  • Insert graphics, text, video, and multimedia files
  • Slideshow to display the information

2. Web browsers 

Web browsers are application software used to browse the internet for locating and retrieving data across the web. The most popular web browsers are Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. Other examples of browsers include Firefox, MS Edge, Safari, etc.

3. Multimedia software 

Multimedia application software lets you create or record images, and create audio or video files. This software is extensively used in animation, graphics, image, and video editing. Popular examples are VLC media player and Windows media player.

4. Education and reference software

This application software, also termed as academic software, is specifically designed to facilitate learning of a particular subject. Various kinds of tutorial software are included in this category. Some of these are JumpStart, MindPlay, Moodle, and Kid Pix.

5. Graphics software

Graphics application software allows you to edit or make changes in visual data or images. It comprises illustration and picture editor software. Adobe Photoshop and PaintShop Pro are a few examples of graphics software.

6. Spreadsheet software

Spreadsheet application software is used to perform calculations. In this software, data is stored in a table format. The intersecting area, called cells, are separated to define fields such as text, date, time, and number. It allows the users to provide formulas and functions to perform calculations. Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are examples of spreadsheet software.

7. Database software

Database application software is used to create and manage a database. Also known as a DBMS (Database Management System), it helps you organize your data. So, when you run an application, data is fetched from the database, modified, and is stored back in the database. Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and IBM Db2 are some of the popular databases.

8. Word processing software

Word processing application software is used to format and manipulate text, thus, creating memos, letters, faxes, and documents. Word processing software is also used to format and beautify the text. It provides you a whole lot of features, including thesaurus, synonyms and antonyms. Along with Word Art features, the font option lets you change font color, effect, and style as per your choice. Grammar and spell check options are also available to check for errors. Leading examples include G Doc and Microsoft Word Doc.

9. Simulation software 

Simulation application software is used in the fields of military engineering, practical education in certain industries, machinery testing, industrial training, video games, etc. It is used where work on the actual system or physical environment can be hazardous. It is a program that lets you study or observe an operation, or phenomenon through simulation without actually doing that operation. The best examples of simulation are in the field of robotics, flight systems, and weather forecast, etc. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies are also used to develop application software that support simulations.

Read more: How Virtual Reality Improves The Standard of Medical Education and Training 

Types of Application Software Based on Shareability and Availability

Application software can also be classified based on their shareability and availability. Some such categories are:

1. Freeware

As the very name indicates, it is available free of cost. You can download freeware application software from the Internet and use it without any fee. However, this software does not allow you to modify it or charge a fee for distributing it. Adobe PDF, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome are good examples of this type of application software.

2. Shareware

This is distributed freely to the users on a trial basis, usually with a limited time offer. The users are expected to pay if they want to continue to use this application software. Some examples of shareware are WinZip, SnapTouch, and Adobe Acrobat.

3. Open source

This type of application software is available along with the source code that allows you to modify the software, and even add features to the software. These could either be free or paid. Moodle and Apache Web Server are examples of open-source application software.

4. Closed source

Most of the application software packages that you use belong to this category. These are usually chargeable and have intellectual property rights or patents over the source code. It usually comes with restricted use. Examples include Microsoft Windows, Adobe Flash Player, WinRAR, mac OS, etc.

Read more: Top 6 Stacks That Reign Software Development in 2020  

Functions of Application Software

Application software programs are designed to facilitate a large number of functions. Some of these include:

  • Data and information management
  • Document management (document exchange systems)
  • Visuals and video development
  • Emails, text messengers, audio and video chats, and collaboration
  • Accounting, finance, and payroll management
  • Resource management (ERP and CRM systems)
  • HR management such as hiring, on-boarding, and separation
  • Project management
  • Business process management
  • Educational software (LMS and e-learning systems)
  • Healthcare application software


Case Study: Customized web application connects low-income individuals to the right legal aid services. Download Now!


Business Benefits of Application Software

1. Improve customer service and satisfaction

With custom application software, you can integrate your CRM with other critical business systems. It gives you more reliable and up-to-date customer information so that your customer service agents can answer queries and respond to calls more quickly and efficiently. Improved customer service leads to increased customer satisfaction.

2. Robust data security

When you develop custom application software with a reputed partner like Fingent, we help you integrate the newly developed software with your existing systems in the most secure way. It helps you have complete control over the third-party systems integrated into your software. The application software resides within your firewall and is upgraded and maintained throughout.

3. More flexibility

When you need crucial business performance reports from different departments or teams, you don’t have to run around checking different applications. Custom application software development and integration will help you gather data from multiple sources and prepare reports the way you need.

4. Improve productivity 

Application software helps automate routine tasks which help employees save time for strategic business functions. For example, OCR applications that recognize text from scanned images or PDF files are highly useful in industries such as insurance, banking, and law. Similarly, RPA applications can reduce repetitive functions, such as replying to emails, verifying claims against a given checklist, or validating payroll data against a given set of rules.

5. More power to decision-making

As you get more reliable and updated business information through custom application software, your decision-making process will be backed by data. You can keep track of past performances and decisions, forecast future trends, plan your budgets, improve hiring and retention, and define contingency plans. Hence, a well-designed custom application software is a CEO’s companion in every sense.

Read more: Custom Software Development is The Ideal Way to Build Business Apps in 2022

The Cost of Application Software Development

As many factors collectively influence the development of application software, it is difficult to quote a precise figure. However, our experts can get back to you with a ballpark estimate for your application software depending on the following details:

  • Functionality, scope, features, and purpose of the application software
  • Platforms and devices supported
  • Third-party integrations required
  • Type of application: web, native, cross-platform, hybrid, etc.
  • Back-end development
  • Hardware components and compatibility
  • Complexity of the application
  • Maintenance and support requirements

Read more: How much does it cost to build an app in 2020

Develop Your Application Software with Fingent

As online transactions soar up and digital workplaces emerge, different types of application software will continue to evolve. Custom application software development is a great financial option for the users as well as the creators. The demand for custom software development, tailored to the requirements of a business is increasing now more than ever before. From simple customizations to full-cycle software development, Fingent helps address all your specific business requirements, leveraging our application software development capabilities.

If you have further questions, or want to get started on choosing and implementing the right application software for your business, give us a call and we will help you get there.

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    About the Author


    I have been programming since 2000, and professionally since 2007. I currently lead the Open Source team at Fingent as we work on different technology stacks, ranging from the "boring"(read tried and trusted) to the bleeding edge. I like building, tinkering with and breaking things, not necessarily in that order.

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