One of the built-in Windows apps I find myself using the most frequently is Calculator. As handy as it is, however, plenty of other calculator apps are available. These apps, many of which are freeware, often provide functionality that doesn’t exist in the built-in Windows tool. Here are five choices that are worth a look.

Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.

1: Moffsoft FreeCalc

Moffsoft FreeCalc (Figure A) is a free calculator that’s designed to act as an alternative to the built-in Windows Calculator. Although this app can’t really do anything beyond basic arithmetic, it does have one feature I really like. The interface includes a side panel that the utility refers to as a tape. All calculations are written to the tape, and the tape can be saved to a text file for future reference.

Figure A

2: Calc98

Calc98 (Figure B) is another free calculator. Although its interface feels a bit cluttered, the application is lightweight and works well. It supports basic arithmetic as well as a few scientific functions, such as sin, cos, and tan.

Figure B

This calculator’s best feature is the integration of copy and paste buttons.

3: Biromsoft Calculator

Biromsoft Calculator (Figure C) is a basic calculator for performing arithmetic, square roots, and percentages, but not a lot more. The good thing about this app is that it’s designed to be accessible on demand. You can launch it from the system tray and once it’s running, it occupies a minimal amount of desktop real estate. The interface fades and blends in with the desktop until you need it. With a simple click, the calculator becomes fully visible and ready to go.

Figure C

Biromsoft Calculator sells for $14.95, but a free trial version is available for download.

4: Graphing Calculator 3D

Graphing Calculator 3D (Figure D) is a great tool for anyone who has to graph functions. It can graph a wide variety of functions in either 2D or 3D. The graphs are colorful and can be rotated, customized, and even exported.

Figure D

It’s worth noting that you must have Java installed on your computer to use Graphing Calculator 3D.

5: AllerCalc

The thing that sets AllerCalc (Figure E) apart from other calculators is its sheer number of built-in functions. There are more than 100.

Figure E

This awesome (and free) calculator also has a huge number of built-in constant values and a built-in conversion engine that can assist with common measurements.

What’s your favorite?

If you have a preferred calculator app, share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.

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