Microsoft

Discover the hidden gems found in the Windows 7 calculator

Check out some of the new features found hidden in the menu tree of the Microsoft Windows 7 calculator applet, you may be surprised.

Admittedly, the standard calculator application found in every version of the Microsoft Windows operating system since the beginning is not usually considered sexy, but the new version found in Windows 7 earns props for adding real value. Check out some of the new features found hidden in the menu tree of this often-taken-for-granted free applet.

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The Hidden

The Calculator app is located in its typical spot in the Start Menu -- under Accessories. Of course, the easiest way to get to the application is to type "calc" in the Start Menu search box, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Starting the calculator
Click on the Calculator application icon, and you will get the familiar standard view shown in Figure B.

Figure B

The standard calculator format
Click on the View menu item (Figure C), and one of the first things you should notice is that there are a plethora of new options available besides the Standard and Scientific modes of the past, including the new Programmer (Figure D) and Statistics (Figure E) modes.

Figure C

View menu

Figure D

Programmer mode

Figure E

Statistics mode
History is a feature I have wanted for a long time (Figure F). The ability to get what amounts to calculator tape appeals to the accountant in me.

Figure F

History
But where the real feature changes have taken place are in the lower levels of the View menu. Figure G reveals the conversion feature, where you can convert one kind of unit of measurement into another unit of measurement. The categories of units you can convert range from angle to weight/mass.

Figure G

Conversion
The Date calculation will tell you how many days separate two dates. Yes, that is a lot of days (Figure H).

Figure H

Date calculation
Under the Worksheets menu item (Figure I), you see four additional worksheets for calculating:
  • Mortgages
  • Vehicle leases
  • Fuel economy in miles
  • Fuel economy in kilometers

Figure I

Worksheets
I have been using Web sites to calculate the mortgages on my dream houses in the past, but now I can dream without involving the Internet (Figure J).

Figure J

Mortgage calculation

Take advantage

The unadvertised enhancements to the standard calculator applet that comes with Windows 7 have raised the usefulness of this ubiquitous program tenfold. Check out the new features, and you just might end up pinning it to your desktop.

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About

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

43 comments
SchultzyBeckett
SchultzyBeckett

Certainly a  good new introduction  by  Google. Some really  good features  there  that  are totally new  to a  calculatoer like History and the day difference  between  two dates  etc .Would  prove to  be  very  helpful app for  people specially in  accounting  and  it profession ..They will be  getting everything in  one Set-Up.Yet another shot in the  arm for Google.another feather  in their  cap.

Schultzy @ http://www.acalculator.com/

tgfj
tgfj

2+3*5=17 in scientific mode, 2+3*5=25 in standard mode, I'd like to know why this very old method of electronic calculating is still used, I thought it went years ago. Apart from that the calculator is quite handy, I've put a shortcut onto my desktop to save me rummaging in the draw for my calculator.

TuneUp Utilities
TuneUp Utilities

I?m sure these were hidden for many as most people I know use the calculators built into their cell phones instead since, as you say, not much has ever been really enticing about the Windows version, but this looks pretty cool! What?s your favorite new feature?

vinala
vinala

A calculator that looks like the mac version, how unique. I can count on Windows to eventually copy the Mac. It does take a while though......

rosenpeter5
rosenpeter5

If it had an HP40-CV mode then I'd be really excited.

Sahid59
Sahid59

It is too overhelming to use this fantastic calculator ....when I trun my PC in to a castle of windows 7 .... Thanks for your great tips...

pmoffett
pmoffett

All of that effort and still no RPN? I would even pay (a little) for an RPN option!

fiosdave
fiosdave

I was disappointed to find that the calendar only goes back to January 1,1601. I wanted to find how many days since Columbus landed here in the U.S! I guess the Brits are also upset that you can't do the same for the Magna Carta...

patbaldridge
patbaldridge

Waiting for the graphing calculator (like TI-84)

Oldmanmike
Oldmanmike

This is good to see. I have been a big fan of Moffsoft free calculator (www.moffsoft.com) because of the history option, similar to the paper tape option of old. I still prefer the Moffsoft version of history, as each entry is a separate line, making it easier to double-check a long list of additions. Where the Win7 calculator wins is in options like stats, conversions, etc.

elrico-fantastica
elrico-fantastica

would have been nice.. i always have a subnet calculator installed to save time when consulting. if they could add a subnet option to the win7 calc its another icon i could clear off the desktop...

twinjenz
twinjenz

I havent used this Calculator much but I think the one that Ubuntu has is of a decent size and easy to read.

hermankellerman
hermankellerman

WOW Great - never even look at it and it it is just great!!!!

dogknees
dogknees

Since when is the content of a menu considered hidden? Hidden things are those that you can't get to through the standard interface.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Like you probably, I have taken the Windows calculator for granted as quick and dirty way to do some math, but now that it has several more sophisticated functions, it may be time to reevaluate. Do you find yourself using the Windows 7 calculator more than you did with Vista and XP?

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