What Is a Software Program? Definition, Types and Benefits

Updated September 30, 2022

Software programs have significant benefits to the user, especially within a professional setting. They can create the assets and documents a company may need, allow for communication between a group and create an easy method of organization and security. Understanding these software programs can help you become more familiar with their use and better understand their benefits to individuals and organizations.

In this article, we define what a software program is while listing different types and the benefits of its use.

What is a software program?

A software program is a set of code and instructions that tells a computer how to run and execute specific tasks. A single computer can complete multiple functions simultaneously, depending on the installed software programs. There are four key types of software programs to consider, including:

  • Application: Application software carries out one specific task on a computer. This software has common usage even among those with a basic understanding of computers.

  • System: A system software design allows software applications to run on a computer's hardware. This software can include operating systems like Windows, macOS and Linux.

  • Programming: Programming software can allow the user to create an application. These programs provide individuals with the tools to develop, write, test and debug programming code.

  • Driver: Driver software is a software program that enables the communication between the operating system and a hardware device. Some hardware requires a driver installation before its usage, like printers, scanners and modems.

Types of software programs

Here are some specific categories of software programs, along with more specific examples:

Computer-aided design

Computer-aided design (CAD) software allows engineering professionals to design the blueprints for physical products. These types of software can provide direct visualization of the intricacies of a product and offer methods of understanding its interactions with the real world. It can also offer an easy transition to machinery that reads this software's exported files, allowing for automated manufacturing.

Read more: What Is CAD and How Do Designers and Engineers Use It?


Communication software programs allow users to collaborate and share messages with others, including internal staff, customers and clients. There are many communication programs with different features depending on need and can allow for the easy transfer of written, audio and video messages and files. This software typically includes email, text messaging, social media and online conferencing programs.

Word processor

Word processing is a data entry method that takes written communication and changes several factors, including word paragraph spacing and font style, size and color, to create preferred formatting. It can be the basis of creating the documents an organization requires, like forms and reports. Examples of word processor programs include Microsoft Word.

Database management system

A database management system is a software program designed to create and manage large amounts of repeating information. It can allow a user to define, manipulate, retrieve and manage the entries of a database. This type of program allows a user to keep the information consistently organized and easily accessible.

Related: What Is a Database Management System? (With 12 Benefits)


Presentation software programs are tools that allow individuals or groups to display their information in a slideshow format. These types of software can enable an editor to insert images and text based on their personalized needs. It can allow a user to create a visual experience to keep an audience continually engaged during an entire presentation.

Related: 20 Tips for Making a Good PowerPoint Presentation


Multimedia software programs allow users to create and modify images, audio and video. It can also include tools to allow for the direct viewing of images or the playback of already created audio and video. Depending on the type of multimedia, its features can include applying effects like contrast changes or noise reduction or the ability to convert between different file times to allow for compatibility with other software programs.


Education software programs provide instructions on a specific topic. It can take advantage of different multimedia such as audio, images and video to create an engaging learning experience for the user. Many schools and educational institutions use education software programs as a learning tool for students. Some education software can also collect and organize data about their students, such as their progression through the software.


Spreadsheet software programs can organize, store and analyze data in a table format. It can allow users to maintain and access massive amounts of information with additional features, such as formulas for automatic calculations and data sorting. Examples of spreadsheet programs include Microsoft Excel and LibreOffice.

Related: 11 of the Best Excel Alternative Tools for Data Analysis


Utility software programs include the tools a user needs to maintain the functionality of a computer system. It can allow an individual to optimize, maintain, organize and manage all the separate functions of a computer's infrastructure. Some types of utility software include file management, backup utility and registry cleaning.

Read more: What Is Utility Software? Definition, Types and Benefits


Cybersecurity software programs allow users to protect a computer, network or internet-connected device from malicious software programs such as spyware, malware and viruses. These software programs can also enable direct protection from humans that seek to infiltrate your computer systems. There are even professionals who specialize in ensuring a company's cybersecurity through using these programs, such as cybersecurity consultants.

Benefits of software programs

Here are some benefits of using these different software programs:

Increases accessibility

Software programs can create an easy method of allowing companies to increase the number of employees that can complete their tasks efficiently without a focused level of knowledge. It can also lower the entry barrier in a company that takes advantage of remote work, allowing multiple employees who live in different locations to work on and accomplish the same projects and tasks. These programs create a cooperative organization among employees, increasing efficiency and productivity.

Unifies communication

Software programs allow companies and groups to create a unified method of communication among employees. Some communication programs create private spaces that can take advantage of channels and other organizational tools to divide the communication into focused areas. This means you can provide an easy method for any employee to communicate with another directly and provide spaces for teams and managers to continue communication separately from other employees.

Related: 13 Small Business Communication Tools and How To Choose One

Increases organization

There are software program suites that organizations can use to increase the organization within the workforce. This can include database and data aggregation programs that allow accessible collection and organization of metric data. These programs even provide groups with the tools to easily manage projects, including scheduling, task delegation and goal lists.

Prepares for scalability

The term scalability refers to the ability of an organization to adapt to changes successfully. It can also include the ability for an organization to grow in population as its needs change. There are software programs that can scale as part of their programming, which means you can easily add more files, data and users.

Increases engagement

There are software programs that use various methods of engagement. They can use multimedia like images, audio and video or direct interactivity to gamify aspects of business, increasing employee engagement. You can even take advantage of word processing and slideshow programs and some creativity to create engaging presentations for meetings.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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