Calculator Help

Use Calculator to perform basic, advanced, or programmer calculations. If your Mac has a Touch Bar, you can easily do quick calculations—without even moving the pointer.

Open Calculator for me

Tip: To learn a key’s function, hold the pointer over the key to see its help tag.

Change the calculator

  • Choose a calculator from the View menu.

    • Basic: Perform simple arithmetic operations.

    • Scientific: Use memory functions and perform advanced calculations involving fractions, powers, roots, exponents, logarithms, trigonometry, and more.

    • Programmer: Perform binary, octal, decimal, and hexadecimal calculations, including bitwise operations. You can also view the ASCII and Unicode characters represented by the current value.

Convert values

  • To convert a value from one unit of measurement to another, enter the original value, choose Convert in the menu bar, then choose a category.

  • To convert currencies, choose Convert > Currency. You must be connected to the Internet to get the most recent conversion rate.

Round results

  • Choose View > Decimal Places, then choose the number of decimal places to display. Calculator stores the full value and displays the rounded value. If the displayed value shows fewer decimal places than you specified, the undisplayed decimal places are zeros.

Enter complex equations using Reverse Polish Notation (RPN)

  • Choose View > RPN Mode. The stack is shown in Calculator’s display, the Equal Sign key (=) becomes the Enter key, and four keys appear for manipulating numbers on the stack.

    • Swap the bottom two numbers on the stack: Click the Exchange Registers key .

    • Move the most recently entered number up or down on the stack: Click the Roll Up key or Roll Down key .

    • Remove the bottom number from the stack: Click the Drop key.

Correct unexpected results

  • If the result of the calculation is not as you expect, repeat the calculation, keeping in mind that Calculator uses the fundamental order of operations to evaluate expressions. For example, multiplication operations are completed before addition and subtraction.

  • If the programmer calculator displays numbers in an unexpected format, change to octal, decimal, or hexadecimal format: click the 8, 10, or 16 key, respectively, under the calculator’s display. Or use the basic or scientific calculator.

  • If the result contains no decimal points:

    • Choose View > Basic or View > Scientific, because the programmer calculator truncates all digits after the decimal point. For example, if you enter 99 / 10 =, the result is 9. Use the basic or scientific calculator to get more precise results.

    • Choose View > Decimal Places (in any calculator), because the number of decimal places may be set incorrectly and the calculator rounds the result. For example, if decimal places is set to zero and you enter 99 / 10 =, the result is 10.

  • If you’re not sure you entered the calculation correctly, use the Paper Tape (choose Window > Show Paper Tape) to review what you entered.

  • If you prefer to display a comma separator, choose View > Show Thousands Separators to display the comma in larger numbers.

Use keyboard shortcuts

  • Use keyboard shortcuts to quickly enter calculations; the shortcuts vary based on the type of calculator you’re using.

    All calculator types



    C key

    Clear All


    Negate the displayed value

    Option-Minus Sign (–)


    Percent Sign (%)


    Forward Slash (/)


    Asterisk (*)


    Minus Sign (–)


    Plus Sign (+)


    Equal Sign (=)

    Remove the most recently entered digit or letter

    Delete key

    Scientific calculator

    Raise the displayed value to the power of the next value entered

    Caret (^)

    Calculate the natural logarithm of the displayed value

    E key

    Calculate the factorial of the displayed value

    Exclamation Point (!)

    Exponential notation


    RPN Mode

    Swap the bottom two numbers on the stack


    Move the most recently entered number up on the stack

    Command-Up Arrow

    Move the most recently entered number down on the stack

    Command-Down Arrow

    Remove the bottom number from the stack


To show a running list of your calculations, choose Window > Show Paper Tape.

To perform advanced calculations involving equations and graphs, use the Grapher app.