by Paul Llowans, Lowans IT Service

From almost the first release of Windows, Microsoft has included a calculator in the Accessories menu. At first it was just a Standard four function calculator but later they added a Scientific version. With Windows 7, Microsoft expanded the calculator to include Programmer and Statistics. But they didn’t stop there; they added Unit Conversion, Date Calculation and Worksheets. Answers can be Copied/Pasted into or from any document using the Edit menu or keyboard shortcuts.

**Standard Calculator**

The Standard calculator provides the usual add, subtract, multiply and divide functions but also includes percentage, square root and reciprocal functions. The calculator responds to the numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard. This includes the plus, minus, estrous key for multiplication and the forward slash key for division. The Enter key acts as the equal key on the Calculator. To sum 5 and 3 you can use the numeric key pad by pressing 5 + 3 Enter will give you 8 for the answer. If you want to calculate the sales tax of an item, you press 49.95 * 8 % (shift 5 on the regular keyboard) and you get 3.996.

Display control keys are C to Clear the calculator, CE for Clear Entry and the is Backspace. Clear is straight forward, it clears all math operations in the calculator. Clear Entry only clears the present entry i.e. if you enter 5 + 3, CE will clear the 3 but leave the 5 + operation. The Backspace edits the present entry. If you entered 56789 but meant to enter 56709, press backspace twice to get 567 and then enter 09.

There are also memory keys. They are listed below along with their function.

- MC – Memory Clear – clears what is stored in the calculator’s memory.
- MR – Memory Recall – recalls what is stored in the calculator’s memory.
- MS – Memory Store – stores the displayed number into the calculator’s memory.
- M+ – Memory Add – adds the displayed number to the number already in the calculator’s memory.
- M- – Memory Subtract – subtracts the displayed number from the number already in the calculator’s memory.

**Scientific Calculator**

Besides the normal four functions of the Standard calculator, the Scientific calculator provides trigonometric calculations in degrees, radians or grads.

You can also calculate roots, cube roots, cube numbers, X to the Y power and logs. It will display pi to more places than you need.

**Programmer**

Software programmers will find this feature invaluable in doing logic math. It’ll convert decimal to hexadecimal to octal to binary in any format from byte to qword.

**Statistics Calculator**

Statistics is not my field of expertise so all I can say is I would think this calculator would be of help to statisticians.

**Unit Conversion**

As you can see, this will convert a wide array of units to useful values. Select the type of unit such as length, enter the value like 1000 Feet and convert it to Meters you get 304.8. You can convert 50 Gallons (US) to 189.2705892 Liters or 10,000 Square Feet into 0.22956841… Acres.

**Date Calculation**

You can calculate the months, days or years from one day to the next. For instance you can calculate that there are 299 days from March 1st till December 25th (Christmas 2011) or 90 years till March 1, 2101.

**Worksheets**

We can all use quick calculations of certain information and the Worksheet functions are handy. You can calculate Mortgage, Vehicle Lease or Fuel Economy.

**Mortgage Calculator**

For Mortgage, just enter the Purchase price (169000), Down payment (20000), Term in years (30) and Interest rate (5.25) and select Calculate to get your monthly payment ($822.78).

**Fuel Economy Calculator**

For Fuel economy, enter the Distance in miles (240) and the Fuel used in gallons (10.05) and select Calculate to get your miles per gallon (23.880).

The Windows 7 Calculator is a lot more functional then previous versions and always ready whenever your computer is running.