Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Electronic Spreadsheet and Database Management System

Electronic Spreadsheet vs Database Management System

Managing large amounts of information has become much easier with the use of computers. Rather than manually dealing with each piece of information, you have tools like electronic spreadsheets and database management systems. The main difference between electronic spreadsheets and database management systems is their complexity. The latter is way more complex than the former but adds features that are very useful, especially when you have a lot of data.

The first feature that database management systems have that electronic spreadsheets don’t have is the ability to create associations. These complex associations are very helpful when viewing data from two or more tables with context. You will no longer have to reenter data again and again since one entry in one table can reference an entry in another table. You cannot do the same with electronic spreadsheets, thus the possibility of having redundant entries.

Another advantage that database management systems have over electronic spreadsheets is the ability to create custom views. If only certain data is relevant for certain uses, you can program a database management system to only show those. This makes it a lot easier to look and evaluate data rather than browsing through the entire electronic spreadsheet to find the individual entries. You can also create any number of custom views to suit your needs in a database management system.

The downside to database management systems is the increased complexity in setting it up. With electronic spreadsheets, you just need to enter table values manually. But in database management systems, you need to create the individual databases and then establish the relationships of one to the other in order to maximize its features. You will also need to know a query language, a sort-of high level programming language that is used only with databases. But the complexity is only limited to setting it up. Once you, or someone capable of doing so, has set-up the database management system, just about anyone who knows how to use a computer can use it proficiently.


  1. Database Management System is way more complex than an electronic spreadsheet
  2. Database Management Systems can create associations that cannot be made with electronic spreadsheets
  3. Database Management Systems can create custom views while electronics spreadsheets can’t
  4. Database Management Systems are more difficult to set-up than electronic spreadsheets

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  1. The article must be written in 18th century. Have not you heard about Excel 2010 or even 2003? Today with a spreadsheet program you can create associations as well as custom views. But there are other differences which you don’t mention here.

  2. It’s true that database is more powerful while spreadsheet is very easy to use. BAU DB is a hybrid of database and spreadsheet that lets end users enjoy the database power and the ease of spreadsheet at the same time. It’s baudb.com.

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