For a few years my wife has used a simple calculator on the iPhone when doing the household budget. I found one that leaves a digital paper trail of calculators and she loves it. So, I looked around to see if something similar was available for the Mac.
As it turns out, there are at least two Mac calculator apps that run a digital paper trail (I stopped looking at the second one I found). The first is the Mac’s built-in Calculator. Yes, there’s a Paper Tape option which displays your calculations and can also be printed. The OS X Calculator has scientific and programmer modes, as well as unit conversions.
It’s free but it’s limited.
Not so limited is Soulver, a calculator that combines multiple modes, conversions, with an easy to use ‘back of the envelope’ mode and does calculations based on words entered in the keyboard.
Most digital calculators, including those with a digital paper trail (built-in OS X version included) simply display the numbers and you have to figure out what they mean.
Soulver is different and lets you enter text to match the numbers, calculations, and variables, and the whole shebang is displayed on the Mac’s screen.
It’s not just basic calculations that make Soulver so drool worthy. The text editor makes it easier to view and understand your calculations.
But Soulver also does percentages as text. For example, ‘$200 – 15%.’ Or, ’25 as a % of 250.’ That kind of thing. All the standard mathematical functions are included, as well as calculations in binary and hex. You can even create and hold variables to be inserted into your calculation.
If there’s a better, more useful, more usable calculator on the Mac than Soulver, I don’t know what it is. And, your calculations can be shared on the iPhone and iPad version.
Well done. A few dollars more expensive than most Mac calculators, but this is the one you’re likely to use for a long time.