Inspired by Insiders—Unleashing the power of the Windows 10 Calculator

Calculator app showing scientific notation.

It’s one of our most popular Windows 10 apps—and with good reason. Not only is the Calculator app built right into Windows, but it’s able to perform a surprisingly wide range of operations—from simple calculations to complex scientific equations and unit conversions. In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about getting the most out of this app, including features inspired by feedback from Windows Insiders.

The calculator goes modern

The Calculator app has actually been around since Windows 1.0. Back then, it was a simple arithmetic calculator with basic functionality. A scientific mode was introduced a few releases later, with support for trigonometry, statistical functions and other operations. With Windows 7, we started to build in additional functionality like unit conversion for volume, length, weight, temperature, and more.

Fast forward to Windows 10 when we replaced the classic calculator with a modern, Universal Windows Platform app. This new app included a completely updated design. In fact, the Calculator app was one of the first apps to incorporate Fluent Design elements, giving it a cleaner user interface that also works well on touch devices.

 

Screenshot of the Windows Calculator.
The modern calculator in Windows 10 packs multiple modes and functionality.

Insiders ask, Insiders get

With all these new changes, our Insiders pushed us to go a few steps further—starting with a currency converter—something we delivered with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Drawing data directly from Bing, this handy tool provides the latest currency conversion rates for almost 100 different currencies. We’ve also created an offline mode, making the tool even more useful if you’re roaming internationally and don’t have a data connection.

 

Screenshot of Windows Calculator converting currency.
A new currency converter provides real time currency conversion rates.

For the recent 20H1 release, we delivered on two other Insider requests: First, we added a keep-on-top mode. Simply click on the icon next to the calculator mode. This keeps the calculator above all the windows on your desktop, making it more accessible, especially when you’re multi-tasking.

 

The 'keep on top' icon.
Click the “keep on top” icon to keep your calculator above other windows as you work.

We’re also about to introduce a graphing calculator mode. With this feature, teachers and students will get a great baseline graphing calculator experience out-of-the-box on Windows 10, enabling them to plot and analyze multiple equations and manipulate equation variables. This feature will soon be available exclusively to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring—and we can’t wait to hear your feedback.

 

 Screenshot of Windows Calculator in graphing mode.
The new graphing mode helps teach graphing concepts in the classroom.

#BuildTogether—Windows Calculator goes open source

Earlier this year, we made another exciting announcement that we think will take the Calculator even further: We open sourced the Windows Calculator on GitHub. Our goal is to build an even better user experience in partnership with both users and developers. By making it even easier to contribute new ideas, we hope to bring even more fresh perspectives to the table.

Already, the project is generating some fantastic results. Over 500 contributors from more than 45 countries have participated in the project. During this time, we’ve seen more than 50 amazing feature ideas come in from the global community, including feedback which has helped identify and fix gaps. For example: you gave us a heads up that Pyeong, a common area unit in Korean locales, was missing from our unit converter. Your feedback also helped us improve how math expressions are displayed in the output display.

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing feedback. And keep it coming, whether you’re contributing in GitHub or submitting feedback in the Feedback Hub. Happy calculating!

Windows 10 Calculator Primer

Open calculator: Access from Start menu or type “ca” in the Search bar.

Calculator Modes: Tap the icon at the top left of the app to select one of four modes:

  • Standard: basic math functionality useful for everyday needs
  • Scientific: adds more functionality like sin, log, cos plus trigonometric degrees
  • Programmer: adds the ability to switch between different number systems (hexadecimal, decimal, octal and binary) and allows QWORD, bitwise operations and Basic calculations
  • Date Calculator: calculates the difference between different dates (e.g. the number of days from today until the last day of the year)

Converters: great for moving between metric and imperial units plus other measurements for data, pressure, power, etc. Also includes currency conversion.

Memory: store frequently used numbers. Use the “M” functions to save (MS), recall (MR), add (M+), subtract (M-), and clear (MC) numbers.

History: Tap clock icon to access calculations saved from your current session.

Keep on top: Tap icon next to Calculator Mode to keep app above other Windows open on the desktop.

Keyboard shorts: Most functions on the Calculator can be accessed using keyboard shortcuts (e.g. Alt+1 to switch to Standard Mode). For the full list, see Keyboard shortcuts in apps.

For more information see Calculator in Windows 10.

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