Access the Scientific Calculator & Programmer Calculator in Mac OS X
The Mac Calculator app may appear somewhat limited at first glance, but there are actually two other calculator modes contained within the app; a full featured scientific calculator, and a programmer calculator too.
Accessing the alternate calculators in OS X is really easy, but like many of the other interesting Calculator app features, it’s pretty easy to overlook or just not imagine to be there.
Here’s all you need to do to switch calculator modes on the Mac:
- Open the Calculator app from /Applications/, Spotlight, or Launchpad
- Pull down the “View” menu and select either “Scientific” or “Programmer”
Calculator app will instantly transform into which alternate calculator you chose.
The programmer calculator works with hexadecimal, decimal, binary, ascii, unicode, and the scientific calculator supports scientific notation, logarithmic, exponential, constants, exponents, fractions, roots, and all else you’d expect.
This is what the programmer calculator in Mac OS X looks like:
And this is what the scientific calculator in Mac OS X looks like:
Calculator RPN Mode can be accessed by hitting Command+R or by enabling it from the View menu.
By the way, you can copy (and paste) anything from Calculator app in OS X too, both from the calculator and from the paper tape. For example, pi: 3.141592653589793
Keyboard Shortcuts for Switching Calculators in OS X
Once you’re in Calculator app, you can instantly switch between any of the three available calculators with simple keystrokes:
- Command + 1 for Regular Calculator
- Command + 2 for Scientific Calculator
- Command + 3 for Programmer Calculator
If for whatever reason you need to access two different calculator types at the same time, you’d need to run another instance of the same Calculator app and switch the calculator type in the new or old instance to reflect that.
Don’t forget that iPhone has a calculator as well, which, if you just rotate it sideways, converts to a scientific calculator as well. There is no built-in programmer calculator on iOS, however, so you’ll need to stay on the Mac for that.