4 generic categories of application software with examples!

What we see in the real world is real. What we see digitally is all virtual. This is where the basics of software start. What is and what is seen in the digital display are all a type of software.

The virtual world is a set of pixels showing itself in a display like monitors, smart TVs, etc. The more these pixels, the sharper and better the display.

But where do we get the input for the display? You guessed it right. The software. Software is a program that uses the processes of the computer and gets executed for a virtual purpose. Let us explain this better in the coming section.

What is Software?

A set of instructions, in the form of algorithms used to operate computers to do specific tasks, is Software. The software combines with the hardware and strives to give the best experience to the user.

OMG! We revealed to you one more aspect of the software.

Yes, from the previous paragraph, if you carefully understand, you can notice this.

What are the types of Software?

The software that communicates with hardware, can be categorized as the system software, while the software that is built on the system software, and used for specific purposes, is application software.

What is system software?

Hardware is a component of the computer that helps in a specific function. Like printers printing content, scanners scanning hardcopy, hard disk storing data, monitors displaying pixels, etc.

There has to be a way to communicate with the above-listed hardware, to use them. To communicate with them is via system software.

All the software that can help us communicate with the provided hardware is via the operating system. As the name itself indicates that to operate the computer you need to have this as the first thing.

Once you have the operating system, to add particular hardware to the computer, you need drivers, that either come along with the hardware or operating system.

So, the operating system, and the driver are all a part of the system software.

What are the types of System Software?

System software can be broadly categorized into three types.

Operating System

A software using which the computers are operated, like running a program, processing files, etc.


The system software comes along with hardware. This system software communicates with the hardware providing assistance to use the hardware.


These are those types of system software that lie between an operating system and application software.


A shell is a command-line-based software that typically executes software applications using the best out of the operating system. You can get to know how it works using this link.

What is application software?

The software that helps a user in a particular task that runs on an operating system or a middleware is application software. Application software takes input from a user interface to help the user complete a set of tasks that otherwise is not so easy.

They are in modern times called “Apps”, after the advent of mobiles.

What are the types of Application Software?

We will have a list of the types of application software based on their nature. They are as follows:

  1. Text Processing
  2. Presentation
  3. Educational
  4. Data Storage
  5. Enterprise Infrastructure
  6. Entertainment
  7. Browsers
  8. Operating System
  9. Multimedia
  10. Simulation
  11. Product Engineering

If you want to read more about them, you can go through this article. We have covered them in detail there.

If you categorize them based on commercial aspects, you will get the following list.

  1. Proprietary
  2. Customized
  3. Shareware
  4. Freeware
  5. Open Source

Again, you can read more about this here…

The main functions of the application software

Application software helps the users directly in specific tasks, by developing them using a programming language like python and developing websites. Let us briefly understand here what are the main functions of an application. Though each software is different. in general terms, there are mainly two functions.

One thing to note before arriving at this answer is that application software is mainly developed to help its users. So this function comes into the picture considering the user’s perspective.

  1. The first and foremost function of any Application Software is to satisfy the customer. The User Acceptance Test of a freshly developed software should be done in such a way that the outcome of the software is the satisfaction of the customer who uses it. If the requirements match the delivery, it is in itself a great achievement.
  2. Software should do what it is supposed to. The developer should neither underdevelop, nor overdevelop. Nothing should come as a surprise for the user using the user interface.
  3. The next function is the speed and efficiency of the software. Though it is a part of UI, many times it so happens that the more load a software takes, the slower it becomes.

Let us now move on to look at the features of generic application software.

Features of Application Software

  1. Purpose Serving
  2. Efficiency
  3. Robustness
  4. Safety
  5. Indexed
  6. Minimalistic
  7. Customer Informing
  8. Customer Responsive
  9. Evolution

What are the four categories of application software?

Now that we know about software, its types, functions, and features, let us see what are the categories taking into consideration their characteristics in general. It is obvious that we have lot many categories based on applications.

1. Interactive

The applications that interact with the users are interactive applications. They accept commands from either the keyboard or mouse. Based on the input and the purpose of the application, the interactive applications help the users with the set of tasks that they are meant for.

E.g.: MS Office, Quickbooks, etc.

2. Batch

Interactive applications provide results then and there. What if you have a specific set of repetitive tasks that you don’t want to keep doing forever? In such cases, the applications provide the feature enabling using which you can perform those repetitive tasks right out of the box.

The process of performing a set of repetitive tasks using application software is called batch-processing. There are several such software that has both interactive and in addition the capability to perform batch-processing.

E.g.: Photoshop, Bulk Rename, etc.

3. Event-Driven

When a task has to be initiated after the trigger of an event, the application software is called as event-driven software. This mostly is required when there is a hardware intervention. The hardware sends a command as input when an event is triggered which in turn runs this set of codes that does another particular task.

E.g.: Tank Water Level Checker (Internet of Things)

4. Background

Unlike interactive software, there are instances when the software has to run in the background as opposed to the interactive one. In such cases, the Operating System will manage these processes without showing them to the users operating the system.

Once they finish they mostly notify the user that his particular task is completed.

E.g.: Data Exporting, Antivirus Scan, etc.

For different types of examples of application software, please have a look at this article.

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