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 everything you need to know to get the most out of this app, including features inspired by your feedback as Windows Insiders.

So how has the Calculator app gotten to where it’s at now, and how are Windows Insiders helping us determine what’s next? Let’s take a look!

The calculator goes modern

The Calculator app has actually been around since Windows 1.0. Back then, it was a simple calculator with basic functions. 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 even more 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 make the most of 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 has multiple modes and functionality.

Insiders ask, Insiders get

Even with all these new changes, you pushed us to go a few steps further and make things even better—starting with a currency converter, which we delivered with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Drawing data directly from Bing, this handy tool provides the latest currency conversion rates for nearly 100 different currencies. We’ve also created an offline mode, making the tool even more useful if you’re traveling internationally without a data connection.

 

Screenshot of Windows Calculator converting currency.
The new currency converter brings you currency conversion rates in real time.

For the recent 20H1 release, we also delivered on two other Insider requests. First, we added a keep-on-top mode. Simply select 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 multitasking.

 

The 'keep on top' icon.
Select this icon showing an arrow on a screen 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 on Windows 10, letting them plot and analyze multiple equations and adjust equation variables. This feature will soon be available first 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 from the classroom.

Open-sourcing Windows Calculator

Earlier this year, we made another exciting announcement that we think will take the Calculator even further. We made the Windows Calculator open source 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 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 so far. 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!

Calculator tips & troubleshooting

  • Opening the app – You can find the app in your Start menu or by searching from your Taskbar.
  • Calculator modes – Select the icon at the top left of the app to choose from 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, like 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 – Select the clock icon to see calculations saved from your current session.
  • Keep on top – Select the icon next to the Calculator mode to keep the app above other Windows open on your desktop.
  • Keyboard shortcuts – Most functions on the Calculator can be accessed using keyboard shortcuts, like Alt+1 to switch to Standard Mode. See the full list of keyboard shortcuts in apps.