Simple mathematical functions are adequately handled by the default calculator bundled with Windows. Numerical analysts and statisticians though, feel seriously handicapped with the barebones calculator provided by Windows.
Windows 7 has gone in for a renovation and the new Windows 7 Calculator leaps ahead of its predecessors. It has multiple modes (Scientific, Programmer, and Statistics), conversion features, worksheets to work out your fuel economy, lease payments, and mortgage payments, and a few more nice touches. There’s of course, the neat look too.
But it’s still not as advanced as a section of users would like.
Thankfully, other free calculators come in various flavors. From the dirt simple Google search bar to the gallery of browser add-ons. Then you can factor in these five free calculation tools (simple to advanced) that should stand up to the numbers you throw at it.
SFR Calculator has an MS Office-like interface. It also gives you a choice of three skins. Unlike other free calculators, its use is similar to the kind we do on paper. You can use it like a text editor and add comments or any other annotations to your calculations. The advantage of the tape style of calculations is that the calculations can be kept as records and even printed out. The calculator may not be suitable for power users but can be used to perform accounting operations.
SFR Calculator (ver.4.0.6) is an 8.6MB free calculator download. It is supported on Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, and Windows 7. Versions of SFR Calculator are available for Windows Mobile and the iPhone.
Moffsoft FreeCalc is also similar to the above application in the way it uses a printable and savable interface (“˜tape’). You can set the display to use different color schemes. Numbers to be calculated can be neatly arranges in groups on the tape. The calculator is very light on resources and can be quickly accessed from the system tray.
Moffsoft FreeCalc (ver.2.0) is a 764KB download. It is supported on older Windows OS, Vista, and Windows 7.
SpeedCrunch comes as an installer and also in a portable version. It has a clean user interface and a very intuitive response to your inputs. SpeedCrunch calculates even as you type and this auto-completion behavior is quite handy when it comes to result speed. Results are precise up to 50 decimal points. Syntax highlighting also minimizes errors as you type. You can feed in formulas, constants, and functions from the extensive library that’s available. SpeedCrunch supports unlimited range of alpha-numeric variables and it also lets you store your own for later use. If the stored variables are too many, there’s a handy search bar to help locate them.
SpeedCrunch records everything in history and you can easily recall and reuse a previous expression. You can also save a session for later use.
SpeedCrunch (ver. 0.10.1) is a 2.4MB download. It is supported on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
SpeQ is a mathematical software which uses a sheet (or tape) just like the two we have mentioned before. But unlike them, SpeQ offers a library of computational functions. You can define your own variables and use them in your functions. The software has 100 pre-loaded constants plus 130 built-in units. You can plot graphs and trace the plotted functions. The memory list helps to reuse all previously defined functions and variables. You can add in your comments in the sheet, save it, and also print it out.
SpeQ (ver.3.4) is a 520 KB portable download. Installer is also available. It is supported on Windows (all).
SpaceTime goes beyond the idea of just a free calculator and falls into the category of an advanced scientific application for power users. There are interactive tutorials which help you to start off with the app. SpaceTime has support for 2D and 3D graphing features. The scientific calculator has a large catalog of functions. The mathematical software covers algebra, computer algebra system (CAS), trigonometry, statistics (scatter plots, probability plots, histograms etc), and calculus among other capabilities. You can also enter your own scripts for solving loops, recursion and generating functions. Ultimately, you can capture screens, frames and results with a click.
SpaceTime (ver.4.0) is a 1MB download. It is supported on Windows (2000, XP, Vista, and 7) and Mac OS X. SpaceTime can also be downloaded for the iPhone and the iPad (not free). SpaceTime requires an obligatory free registration for use.
The five calculators cover the breadth from simplicity to complexity. The one you pick will depend on the level of calculations you need to perform. What’s your view on the above five? Which is your favorite calculator app?
If you’re in the market for something new and different in a calculator, check out these online calculators that aren’t all about math.
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