Types of Software-Types of Application Software and Types of System Software

Computer software is set of instruction that direct the computer what to do and how to do. It turns the data into information that makes computer  a useful machine. 

Types of Software-Types of Application Software and Types of System Software

A computer needs instruction for doing job because it is a machine and cannot do anything on its own. The instructions given to the computer are done with the help of program which is written in a specific in a specific computer language and the set of such computer instructions are called software.


Types of Software

The computer software are broadly divided into two categories.


  1. System Software
  2. Application Software

System software

System software are set of program that operate and control the computer system. System software can do one or more of the following jobs:


  1. Support the development of other application software.
  2. Support the execution of other application software
  3. Monitors the efficient use of various hardware resources.
  4. Communicate with and controls the operation of peripheral devices.
Operating system, device drivers and language processor are some examples of system software.

Application Software

Application software is a type of software that can be used for a variety of tasks. It is not limited to one particular function. It helps to solve problems in the real world. 
Example include enterprise software, according software, graphics software, and media players.

Types of System Software

System software falls into following categories


  1. Operating System
  2. Device Driver
  3. Utility Software
  4. Language Processor

Operating System

Operating system is a set of programs that manages and coordinates the hardware of a computer and provides services to application software programmers and users of computer. Without operating system a computer cannot do anything useful.
Some common examples of operating systems include Windows, Macintosh Operating System, UNIX, Linux, OS/2, and DOS.

Device Driver

A device driver is a program that controls a particular type of device that is attached to the computer. Without driver, a hardware device would not be able to work with the computer. There are device drivers for printers, monitors, CD-ROM drivers, diskette drives etc.
When we buy an operating system, many device drivers are built into the product. However, if we later buy a new type of device that the operating system did not anticipate, we will have to install the new device driver.

Utility Software

Utility software is a kind of system software designed to analyze, configure, optimize and maintain the computer. A single piece of utility software is usually called a utility or tool. 
Utility software usually focuses on how the the computer infrastructure operates. Most of the operating systems come with several pre-installed utilities.
Example of utility software are Disk Defragmentation, Dis Cleaner, Backup, Antivirus etc.

Language Processor

Language processor or translator is a type of system software that translate a source program into the object program.
There are three types of language processors.


A language processor that translate  a high level language program line by line and carries out the specified actions in sequence is called interpreter. It translates and runs the program at the same time. It converts one program statement into machine language, executes it, and then proceeds to the next statement. Examples of languages that use interpreters include BASIC, LISP, Smalltalk, PHP and PERL. 


Compiler is a program that translate source code into a set of machine-language instructions that can be understood by a digital computers CPU.Compilers are very large programs, with error-checking and other abilities. Example of languages that use compilers include COBOL, FORTRAN, C/C++, JAVA, etc


An Assembler is a translator which is used to convert an assembly language program into a machine-language program for later execution. Assembly language is also called a Symbolic language.

Types of Application Software

Application Software includes a variety of programs that can be subdivided into general purpose and customized categories.

General purpose Application Software

General purpose application software are programs that perform common information processing jobs for end users. These are called packages or commercial software. A single software can be applied to a wide variety of tasks. By using such software a user can fulfill his or her general needs. These are divided into the following main categories.


  1. Productive Software
  2. Business Software
  3. Entertainment Software
  4. Education Software

Special Purpose or customized Application Software

The software that is designed to perform a specific task is know as special purpose application software. This is also called Custom software.
The software can perform only one task for which it has been designed. 
For examples, Software to process inventory control, software to maintain Bank Accounts etc.

Types of General Purpose Application Software


Productivity Software

The productivity software is a type of Application software that is used to produce documents, presentation, database, charts and graphs.
Some common types of productivity software are:
Database Software: This software allows creating a database and to retrieve, manipulate, and update the data that we store in the database. e.g. MYSQL, Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle.
Multimedia Software: They allow the users tot creates and play audio and video media. They are capable of playing media files. Examples of this type of software include Real Player and Media Player.
Word Processors: Word processing software is used to create, edit and format text documents. The most popular type of software are MS-Word, WordPad and Notepad.
Spreadsheet Software: Spreadsheet software are used to work with numbers and formulae. User enters numbers in the grid of rows and columns on the worksheet and computer performs the calculations. MS Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 and examples of spread sheet software.
Presentation Software: Presentation software is designed for creating on screen presentation, reports and slideshows. It allows to combine both text and graphics in single document. Microsoft PowerPoint is the best example of presentation software.

Business Software

Any software that helps business to increase or measure its productivity is called business software. The term covers a large variation of uses within the business environment, and can be categorized by using a small, medium and large matrix. 
Some common types of business software include Marketing software,  Payroll system, Inventory control system, Communication software and Accounting software etc. 

Entertainment Software

Entertainment software allows a computer system to be used as an entertainment tools. Some example of entertainment software are Media Player, Video Game, etc

Education Software

Education software allows a computer system to be used as teaching and learning tool Such as Computer Based Training, Encyclopedia, and Computer Aided Learning etc.