Prior to electronic worksheets, accountants had several pads of paper with a varying number of columns (and rows) preprinted on them. The pads of paper were labeled as columnar pads. The preprinted paper in these pads allowed accountants and bookkeepers to easily prepare manual spreadsheets.

With the introduction of VisiCalc (the original electronic spreadsheet) followed by other electronic spreadsheets or worksheets (e.g., Lotus 1-2-3, Excel), the use of columnar pads of paper declined significantly.