Why I became obsessed with the Windows Calculator

There was a time when Windows apps, limited to bloatware running in the background of Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 menus, were dumb as a bag of bricks, functionally pathetic, and easy to replace with a free online version or download. . But not my friend, the Windows calculator app. It graduated from bloatware high a long time ago.

Years and years ago, before Windows 7, the calculator app was incredibly simple, not substantially different from the calculator you have in your smartphone today. It could make simple comparisons, sure, but nothing at impressive.

Then, with Windows 7, the calculator had a major upgrade. Such as functionally changing not only the appearance and layout, but actually changing what the application was capable of. Some apps have gone through such revisions, we know, but this was a massive functional rework.

With this update, Windows’ built-in calculator became a pretty handy utility! Especially for me, someone who often needs to convert times and currencies (currency conversions were added in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update). I didn’t know then that the app was so smart, but I know now. The time jumps to today, and the calculator also looks good, soft and in line with the minimalist aesthetic of Windows 10 and 11.

Here are some cool things Windows Calculator can do (I can’t believe I just said this about a calculator app):

  • Time conversions
  • Graphs
  • Currency conversions
  • length conversions
  • Energy conversions
  • Data conversions

Just press the three horizontal lines in the corner of the app and you can switch to a conversion calculator.

And actually that’s only part of it. Unfortunately, though, there doesn’t seem to be one of my favorite conversion features: time zones. I’m just going to bring this out, Microsoft, if you’re reading, I’d love to be able to convert time zones through a built-in app.

I didn’t really know about this until I started talking to my father about it (he is someone who regularly has to use the Windows calculator while not on the internet). Being able to do these conversions on the fly without an internet connection (except for the currency conversion feature, which needs to be updated regularly) is pretty cool, especially for a built-in app.

Although there are of course alternatives that you can install or even use online. Often Googling a value conversion will give you a Google Snippet result (one of those results that appears immediately at the top without opening the web page), but there are also special websites that allow you to convert certain values.

But, for example, I love the simple calculator app. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do with no unnecessary extras. Long live the calculator.

Anyway, that’s the end of my calculator hyperfixation. 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 discover a cool feature in an operating system that no one really knows about, please let me know. I like that stuff.

These features are available in the Windows 10 and Windows 11 calculator apps.