Performing Simple Calculations Using the Calculator

Written by Barry Dysert (last updated December 4, 2017)

There are several calculators that come with Windows. Their capabilities range from performing simple calculations (like add, subtract, multiply, and divide) to more complicated calculations (like trigonometric functions, logarithms, and exponentiation). You can even perform certain conversions with the calculators, perform mortgage analyses, and work with dates.

To start the calculator (even though there are several calculators, they are technically different views of one "super" calculator), click Start | All Programs | Accessories | Calculator if you are using Windows 7. Since many people use the numeric keypad with Calculator (instead of the mouse), you may find it easier to just press the Windows key on your keyboard, type "calc" (without the quotes), and press Enter.

If you are using Windows 8 or Windows 10, finding the calculator can be a bit more vexing. The easiest way is to simply use Windows' search capabilities to search for "calculator." The app that is located will be the calculator you want to run.

The type of calculator that appears depends on the type of calculator that was used last. This tip is specific to the Standard calculator, so the calculator you see should look similar to this if you are using Windows 8 or Windows 10. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Standard calculator in Windows 10.

If you are using Windows 7, then the Standard calculator looks a bit different. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Standard calculator in Windows 7.

If another type of calculator appears, click the three lines near the upper-left corner to get to the proper calculator (in Windows 8 or Windows 10) or, in Windows 7, click View | Standard.

As you can see, the Standard calculator provides the following features:

• decimal digits 0 through 9, and the decimal point
• operations: add, subtract, multiply, divide, percentage, reciprocal, square root, change sign, equals
• clear, clear last entry, backspace
• memory functions

You can use the mouse to click the on-screen keys or you can use the keyboard to cause the corresponding button to be pressed. (For buttons not on the keyboard you must use the mouse.) The Standard calculator does not use operator precedence like what you learned in school (i.e., how multiplication and division are performed before addition and subtraction). Rather, operations are performed in the order entered. So, for example, if you enter 3 + 2 * 4 = you'll get the answer 20 instead of 11.

The calculator has an internal memory where you can temporarily store a value. Let's say that you perform a calculation whose value you want to use in another calculation. Instead of trying to remember it or write it down, just click MS (Memory Store) to store the value in memory. Then whenever you want to use what's in memory, click the MR (Memory Recall) button. For example, say that you calculate 22 / 7 = and get the number 3.142857142857143. Click MS to store this in memory. Now if you want to take this number times several other numbers you can just click MR each time you want to use it instead of having to type it in every time.

You can also add and subtract to/from memory. For example, if you store the number 5 in memory, you can then press 10 M+ and you'll discover (by clicking MR) that the number 15 is now in memory—the calculator added 10 to the 5 that was already there. You click the MC (Memory Clear) button to clear what's in memory.

This tip (12145) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Refreshing the Explorer Window

It's possible that the Windows Explorer window may occasionally get out of sync with the data it's displaying. You can ...

Discover More

Using the Event Viewer to Examine Remote Event Logs

Assuming you have proper access to remote computers, you can examine their event logs from your system without much ...

Discover More

Changing Control Panel Views

The Control Panel is an important "dashboard" that leads you to various system-related applications. There are a few ways ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Setting Signatures within Mail

A staple for many people's emails is the inclusion of a signature. Signatures, if enabled, are added automatically to any ...

Discover More

Using the Voice Recorder

Windows 10 includes the new Voice Recorder app. Ideal for recording lectures, cute things your kids say, musical ...

Discover More

Getting Started with the Mail App

The Mail app is a great way to access your e-mail. This tip shows you how to get started quickly and easily.

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. Youâ€™ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 8?

2021-07-19 16:53:58

steve

Once I open the calculator I would like to ONLY use the numeric keypad but the + and - and * and division buttons don't work. I figured out how to program that in Windows 7 but can't figure it out in Windows 10. There must be a way where I can use these symbols with the numeric keyboard so I don't have to use the mouse.

2017-12-04 09:13:02

Henry Noble

When display of the app list is enabled on the Win 10 Start Menu, Calculator is easily available from that list.
To enable/disable the app list display, go to Settings > Personalization > Start, then click the toggle.

2017-12-04 09:12:25

Ted Duke

In Windows 10, click on Windows icon at left end of task bar. Type 4x5 and press Enter key. Calculator pops up with the answer and ability to do other calculations. That also works with / (divide), + (add), - (subtratct) etc.