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A Complete Guide to Different Software Types (with Examples)

If you are looking to make the best of different software types for your business or work, you’ll need to understand their classification, function, and purpose of use.

So, you turn on a computer system and input specific instructions. Viola! In a few seconds, you get your desired result.

Have you ever wondered how the computer or mobile device could understand and execute your task in the shortest possible time?

Maybe yes! Or not really!

It is possible through computer software. Different software types available in the technology space perform generic or specific functions.

Chances are that you have used many for your school, business, job, or personal use, as they are essential in every aspect of life.

However, do you know that they are classified into various types based on their function, availability, and shareability?

We’ve provided a complete beginner guide to understanding the different types of software with examples and how you can make the most of them in your business.

What Is Software?

Software is a program or an application that collects programs, data, procedures, and routines and instructs an electronic device (computer) to process and execute specific user tasks.

These instructions are written codes in computer language.

Software differs from hardware that performs a task with physical systems and components.

However, they both work together to help a user, using the principle of input >> process >> output (result).

For example, you use the software when you take pictures or type a document.

Types of Software

While there are various software types available, the primary two are

  • System software and
  • Application software

After giving details on the two software types above, you’ll see other classifications of software based on shareability and availability.

System Software

System software coordinates the smooth running of the computer/mobile device with applications, providing basic functionalities used by a user.

In other words, it is an intermediator between a computer or mobile hardware and a user.

System software is crucial as it enables a computer system to run and build a platform in which apps and software dwell.

For instance, when you turn on your phone or computer, the system software will need to initialize and load in the system memory.

Furthermore, end-users cannot use the system software, which often runs in the background.

Some system software examples include Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Android, Linux, USB Drivers, BIOS, etc.

System Software Types

Below briefly explain the system software types you are probably familiar with, including examples.

  • Operating System

An operating system is the primary computer system that allows a computerized device to function.

The operating system allows the device to boot up and includes protocols for installing and operating applications to provide functionality.

Operating System examples include Unix, Linux, MS WindowsMac OS, Ubuntu, iOS, Android, etc.

  • Firmware System Software

It is another system software embedded into read-only memory and works with device drivers. The firmware system also runs a hardware device by passing a set of instructions.

These system software examples are computer peripheralsBIOS, hard drives, etc.

  • Programming Language Translators

These intermediary programs allow the software to transform high-level language code into basic machine-level code.

It translates programs in source code (a high-level language used by programmers such as Java or C++) into machine code (a low-level language that the computer can understand).

The translator also assigns data storage and identifies and corrects any problems that may occur during the conversion.

Examples are interpreters, compilers, and assemblers.

  • Device Drivers

It is a software type that controls specific hardware connected to the system. Displays, printers, sound cards, hard disks, and mice are hardware devices that require a driver to connect to a computer.

Moreover, device drivers are classified into Kernel Device Drivers and User Device Drivers.

Examples: BIOS Drivers, Motherboard Drivers, Printer Drivers, USB Drivers, Virtual Device Drivers, etc.

  • Utility

Utility software supports computer infrastructure by analyzing, optimizing, configuring, and maintaining systems.

Utilities assist the operating system in executing tasks like data security.

Utility software is mostly a third-party tool, including Avast Antivirus, Windows File Explorer, WinRAR, and WinZip.

Application Software

Application Software, end-user or productivity programs are a significant type of software that aids users in completing specific tasks like graphics design, calculations, playing games, note jotting, and online research.

Some application software examples include Google Docs, Chrome, MS Word, Facebook, MySQL, Grammarly, etc.

Application Software Types

  • Word Processors

Word processing software is a program that creates text-based documents. This application software has many features that allow users to write, edit and format text.

E.g., MS Word, Google Docs, Apple iWork- Pages.

  • Web Browsers

These are other application software that users can access to search for information on the internet.

When you use a web browser to visit a website, the browser retrieves the data from a web server, translates the web code into a visual representation, and displays it on your device.

Examples are Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, etc.

  • Multimedia Software Types

Multimedia application software allows users to create or modify multimedia, including images, audio, and video.

It includes Adobe Photoshop, Media Monkey, Canva, Inkscape, etc.

  • Graphics Software

Graphics Software is programmed to work with graphics by helping users to edit or modify illustrations or images, such as flyers, logos, business cards, or web graphics.

These application software examples are Adobe Photoshop, CorelDRAW, PaintShop Pro, GIMP, etc.

  • Database Software Type

Database Software or Database Management Systems (DBMS) help to organize data organization.

Users can create and manage a set of data called a “database.” MySQL, FoxPro, dBase, and MS Access are database application software examples.

The Application software category includes all other software that performs specific functions.

Other Software Types with Examples

Asides from System and Application Software types, others are categorized according to availability and shareability.


This software is offered for free as users can access it via the internet without any cost.

However, freeware does not allow you to modify, duplicate, create copyrighted copies, reverse engineer, or sell the software.

Audacity, ImgBurn, Adobe Reader, Gimp, Skype, Recuva, and Yahoo Messenger, among other apps, are examples.


This software allows you to evaluate its features at no cost for a limited period. After the free time limit expires, users may pay for continued services if they wish to continue using them.

Shareware is classified as Adware, Donationware, Nagware, Freemium, and Demoware.

All or some features are available for a free trial before you purchase. Shareware software examples include Adobe Acrobat, Winzip, PHP Debugger, and Getright.

Subscription-Based Software

Subscription-based software type is licensed on a monthly or annual basis, with users paying a per-user cost.

Consumers often pay an initial subscription fee, allowing them to use the software during the subscription term. Examples are Butcher Box, Netflix, and Spotify.

Cloud-Based Software Type

Cloud-based programs are services stored, managed, and accessible remotely. They are hosted on shared computing resources such as cloud servers.

Therefore, users can only access these software services through an internet connection. Application examples include Google, Amazon, Microsoft, DropBox, etc.

Open-Source Software Types

Open-source software has its source code available for anyone to inspect, tweak, improve, or distribute.

While some open-source programs are entirely free, you might have to pay to access certain services for some.

Some open-source software examples include WordPress, Gimp, LibreOffice, Firefox, GNU Image Manipulation Program, VLC media player, etc.

Types of Software Summary

Even though you must have used most of the above-listed software programs, it is essential to understand their classifications and how they work.

With the fast pace of technology and the Internet of Things, it is important to consult the services of IT experts who can provide professional help to your software concerns.

iTexxia offers timely IT support to attend to your business needs and maximize profits while you save time and money.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help!

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