There was a time when Windows apps, limited to bloatware contained in the background of Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 menus, were dumb as a sack full of bricks, functionally pathetic and simply replaced by a free one online version or a download were replaced. Not my buddy, the Windows Calculator app, though. It graduated from Bloatware High a long time ago.
Many years ago, before Windows 7, the calculator app was incredibly simple and not very different from the calculator you have in your smartphone today. It could run simple equations, but nothing to impressive.
Then, with Windows 7, the calculator had a major upgrade. For example, not just functionally changing the look and layout, but actually changing what the application was capable of. Some apps have undergone such overhauls, we know, but this was a huge functional overhaul.
With this update, the calculator built into Windows has become quite a useful utility! Especially for me, someone who often needs to convert times and currencies (currency conversions were added in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update). I didn’t know the app was that smart back then, but boy do I know now. Time skips to today, and so does the calculator, polite and in keeping with the minimalist aesthetic of Windows 10 and 11.
Here are some of the cool things Windows calculators can do (can’t believe I just said that about a calculator app):
- time conversions
- Graphic representation
- currency conversions
- length conversions
- energy conversions
- data conversions
Just click on the three horizontal lines in the corner of the app and you can switch to a conversion calculator.
And that’s really just part of it. Unfortunately, one of my favorite conversion features doesn’t seem to exist: time zones. I’ll just post this out here Microsoft if you read I’d love to be able to convert time zones via a built in app.
I didn’t really know about it until I started talking about it with my dad (he’s someone who has to use the windows calculator regularly when he’s not on the internet). Being able to do these conversions on the fly without an internet connection (aside from the currency conversion feature, which needs regular updates) is a pretty cool thing, especially for a built-in app.
Although of course there are alternatives that you can install or even use online. Simply Googling a value conversion will often give you a Google snippet result (one of those results that pops up immediately above without even opening the webpage), but there are also dedicated websites that let you convert specific values.
But I love the humble calculator app. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do, with no unnecessary frills. Long live the calculator.
Anyway, that’s the end of my calculator hyper fixation. As someone who often skips when an operating system has a cool built-in feature, I didn’t want people to miss it, so you’re welcome. If you spot a cool feature in an operating system that nobody really knows about, let me know. i love the stuff
These functions are available in the calculator apps for Windows 10 and Windows 11.