Lesson 21: Calculator

Key Result Areas

In this module you will learn how to use the Calculator application that comes installed on your Mac computer. You will learn how to do basic calculations, how to save to the memory, and how to calculate conversions.


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Speaking

Before calculations are performed, it is important to choose how and what you want the Calculator to speak.

The items that the Calculator speaks can be set in the Menu Bar, under the Speech category. There are two choices under Speech:

  • speak button pressed
  • speak result

In order to hear every key pressed, including every digit, and every operation such as Plus, Minus, Multiply, Divide, and Equals, both of these selections should be chosen. In certain instances, a double voice will be heard, as the Calculator voice and the VoiceOver voice speak simultaneously. However, it is the best solution to hear every key pressed, if that is your choice. You can try selecting one choice or the other, or neither choice, to find out which way you prefer the Calculator to speak when you are performing calculations.

To select in the Speech Menu:

  1. Press VO-M to open the Menu Bar.
  2. Press the Right Arrow to the Speech menu.
  3. Press the Down Arrow to Speak Button Pressed.
  4. Press Return to select it.

The Menu Bar will close and focus will be back in the main Calculator display.

To instead select Speak Result:

  1. Go into the Menu Bar with VO-M.
  2. Press the right arrow to the Speech menu.
  3. Press Return on Speak Button Pressed. The Menu Bar will close.
  4. Press VO-M to go back into the Menu Bar.
  5. Press the right arrow to the Speech menu.
  6. Press the down arrow to Speak Results and press Return on it.

If you want to select both, you must select one, then go back into the Menu Bar, to Speech, and select the other choice as well.

Basic Calculations

When you open the Calculator app, the focus will be on the field where the calculations appear,, which is called the main display. The number in the display is spoken, and it is 0, as there have not been any calculations performed.

To perform Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, or Division, begin with the first number in the calculation. Then input the sign for the operation you want to perform, and follow it with the second number in the calculation. Press the Return Key to obtain the total, because the Return Key is the equals sign.

The symbols for the four operations are:

  • Addition: Shift-Equals, the key directly to the left of the Delete Key
  • Subtraction: Minus Key, one key to the left of the Equals Key
  • Multiplication: Shift—Star, Number Eight Key
  • Division: Slash Key, One Key to the left of the right-hand shift key

For example, if you want to divide 999 by 333, you would input the following:

  • 999 / 333 Return

If you prefer, the Equals Key can be pressed to reveal the answer. Remember, it is the key one position to the left of the Delete Key, and the one where the Plus Sign is located, input with the Shift Key.

Using The Calculator’s Memory

The Calculator comes equipped with a memory, so you can perform multiple calculations, and add or subtract the totals to the memory.

To add a total to the memory, do the following:

  1. Perform a calculation, or input a value into the main display.
  2. Press VO-Right Arrow to the Memory Plus Button.
  3. Press VO-Spacebar to add the number in the main display into the memory.

Once you do this, you can clear the main display and perform another calculation, or input a value into the main display. Then, you can repeat the steps above to add this value into the memory.

To subtract a number from the memory, do the following:

  1. Perform a calculation, or input a value into the main display.
  2. Press VO-Right Arrow to the Memory Minus button.
  3. Press VO-Spacebar to subtract the number in the main display from the number in the memory.

To find out the number in the memory, press VO-Right Arrow past the Memory Minus button, and you’ll find the Memory Recall button. Press VO-Spacebar to reveal the number in the memory.

As you press VO-Right Arrow from the main display, there will be the letter M. This indicates there is a number in the memory.

Continue to VO-Right Arrow, and the Memory Clear button is next. Press VO-Spacebar on this to clear the Memory.

Note: This will not clear the number in the main display, just the number in the memory.

Negating The Number In The Main Display

To negate a number means to make it the opposite of what it is, a positive or a negative number. In the Calculator, there are two ways to negate the number in the main display. Both ways toggle the number from one to the other, positive to negative or vice versa, and back and forth with each toggle.

One way to negate the number in the main display is to do the following:

  1. Press VO-Right Arrow until you reach the Negate Button.
  2. Press VO-Spacebar to negate the main display number.

The other way to negate the number is with a shortcut key combination. The keys to press are Option-Minus Key.

Divide And Multiply

Besides the key combinations given above for Multiplication and Division, there are two buttons in the Calculator for performing these functions.

To multiply, press VO-Right Arrow until you reach the Multiply button, then press VO-Spacebar. The shortcut key is given in the hint for the button. Recall the shortcut to Multiply is Shift-Eight, or the * key.

To divide, press VO-Right Arrow until you reach the Divide button, then press VO-Spacebar on it. The shortcut key is also given in the hint for this button. Recall that the shortcut key to divide is the Slash Key.

The Calculator

There is an alternative way to input numbers into the main display, and to add or subtract as well as find out what the calculation equals.

Press VO-Right Arrow past the Multiply button, and there is an actual Calculator. As you press VO-Right Arrow, you will find buttons for each of the numbers as well as Subtract, Add, and Equals. this is the order in which you will find the numbers and symbols buttons on the Calculator:

  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • subtract
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • add
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • equals default
  • 0
  • point

To input numbers into the main display, and perform a calculation, do the following:

  1. Press VO-Right or Left Arrow to the first digit of the first number you want to input into the main display.
  2. Press VO-Spacebar on the Digit’ that you would like to enter.
  3. Continue to find the digits you want for the first number and press VO-Spacebar to input each digit.
  4. Find the operation you want to perform, Add, Subtract, Multiply, or Divide, and press VO-Spacebar to perform that operation.

Note: The Multiply and Divide buttons are directly to the left of the number 7 button.

The Add and Subtract buttons, like the Multiply and Divide ones, provide the shortcut key or keys to perform the operation.

It is definitely easier to perform the straight calculations, add, subtract, multiply, and divide, by inputting the digits with the numbers on the keyboard, and using the shortcut key or keys to complete the operations.

To clear the main display, it is easiest to press the Escape key. There is a Clear button, which can be found by pressing VO-Right Arrow, from the main display. When you find it, press VO-Spacebar to clear the main display.

When you clear the display, the memory is not cleared. The Memory Clear button must be pressed to accomplish this.

When you clear the memory, the main display is not cleared. The Escape key must be pressed, or the Clear button must be found with VO-Right Arrow, then VO-Spacebar must be pressed to clear the main display.

Basic, Scientific, Or Programmer Calculator

The Calculator can be set up as a Basic, Scientific, or Programmer Calculator.

When the Calculator is opened, the default display is a basic Calculator. To set it up as a scientific Calculator, do the following:

  1. Press VO-M to open the Menu Bar.
  2. Press the right arrow to the View menu.
  3. Press the down arrow to Scientific, and press the Return key.

Note: There is a shortcut key combination to change to the scientific calculator, which is Command-2.

The Calculator will return to the main display, but will be set up as a scientific Calculator. This Calculator has buttons for many different scientific calculations. Each is a button, and can be reached by pressing VO-Right Arrow. Some of the choices of calculations that can be performed are:

  • percent
  • square root
  • sine
  • co-sine
  • tangent
  • pi
  • Random number

There is a Second Functions checkbox, which, when checked with VO-Spacebar, changes some buttons to their inverse functions.

The four memory buttons, Memory Clear, Memory Plus, Memory Minus, and Memory Recall, are all still available in the scientific Calculator.

For those who need a programmer Calculator, there is one available in the Calculator app. To turn the Calculator into a programmer Calculator, do the following:

  1. Press VO-M to open the Menu Bar.
  2. Press the right arrow to the View menu.
  3. Press the Down Arrow to Programmer, and press the Return Key.

Note: The shortcut key combination to bring up the Programmer Calculator is Command-3.

Setting The Decimal Places

There is a choice of how many decimal places you want to have the answer to a calculation show in the Calculator. To select the number of decimal places that will display when an answer has many digits to the right of the decimal point, do the following:

  1. Press VO-M to open the Menu Bar.
  2. Press the right arrow to the View menu.
  3. Press the down arrow to the Decimal Places submenu.
  4. Right arrow , then down arrow to go through the choices.
  5. Press VO-Spacebar on your selection. The choices go from 0 to 15.

Save Paper Tape

When physical Calculators were used, each calculation was printed on a thin piece of paper. This paper came on a roll, and would continue to feed as more calculations were made on the Calculator, until the tape was cut or torn off. Then the next paper tape was started, as calculations were performed on the Calculator. As you perform calculations, they are stored on what the Calculator refers to as Paper Tape.

This record of calculations can be saved at any point, and, just like the physical paper tape that was cut when the set of calculations was completed, it can be saved, and a new set of calculations begun on yet another so-called paper tape.

To save the paper tape at any point, do the following:

  1. Press VO-M to open the Menu Bar.
  2. Press the right arrow to the File menu.
  3. Press the down arrow to the Save Tape As ellipsis and press the Return Key.

  4. Note: the shortcut key combination of Command-Shift-S can be pressed to reveal the Save Tape As dialogue.

  5. Press VO-Right Arrow to the Save Edit field, and type in a name for the paper tape.
  6. Proceed through the dialogue as you would all other Save dialogues, filling in a tag if desired, choosing the location for the paper tape, and pressing the Save Button.

While in the Save dialogue, if you press Escape, you will exit out of the Save area. Focus will be on the Clear Button. If this is pressed, the paper tape you were going to save will be cleared. Press VO-Left Arrow, and the text of the paper tape will be in focus. VOiceOver will read the entire contents of the paper tape.

If you still want to save the tape, press Command-Shift-S, or go back into the Menu Bar to File, and down to the Save Tape As ellipsis.

Conversions

The Calculator is equipped to perform a variety of conversions. In order to select the type of conversion you want to do, and subsequently perform the desired conversion, do the following:

  1. Press VO-M to open the Menu Bar.
  2. Press the right arrow to the Convert menu.
  3. Press the down arrow.
  4. The first selection will be the Recent Conversions Submenu. Right Arrow into it, and you’ll find the most current conversions which were performed, such as inches to feet, for example. There is a Clear Menu selection. Press Return, and the Recent Conversions submenu will clear.

As you continue to down arrow, past the Recent Conversions submenu, you will find the choices of the following conversions:

  • Area
  • Currency
  • Energy or Work
  • Length
  • Power
  • Pressure
  • Speed
  • Temperature
  • Time
  • Volume
  • Weights and Masses

Each of the above is an ellipsis, so when pressed, a dialogue opens in which the conversion selection can be made.

To perform a conversion:

  1. Input into the main display the number you want to convert.
  2. Press VO-M to open the Menu Bar.
  3. Press the right arrow to the Convert menu.
  4. Press the down arrow to the ellipsis of the conversion you want to perform, and press Return.
  5. Note: In actuality, the ellipsis you select does not matter as there is a popup in the next dialogue to select the type of conversion you want to perform.

  6. Press VO-Right Arrow to the Convert popup and press the Spacebar.
  7. Press the up or down Arrow until you find the conversion you want to perform, and press the Spacebar or the Return key. This will select your choice and close the popup.
  8. Press VO-Right Arrow to the From Popup and press the Spacebar.
  9. Arrow up or down to find the measurement you want to convert the number in the main display From, then press the Spacebar or the Return key to select it and close the popup.
  10. Press VO-Right Arrow to the To popup, then press the Spacebar.
  11. Arrow up or down to find the measurement you want to convert the number in the main display to, then press the Spacebar or the Return key to select it and close the popup.
  12. Press VO-Right Arrow to the Convert Button and press VO-Spacebar to select it, and perform the conversion.

After the convert button is pressed, focus will fall on the Memory Clear Button. Press VO-left arrow to the main display, and the solution will be listed there.

Note: If you select Currency, the last date of update will be listed. If it is not today’s date, press the Update Button, located next to the To Popup, before the Cancel Button, with VO-Spacebar. It will immediately update, and with one press of VO-Left Arrow from the Update button, the current date should be now listed as the last update.

Whichever type of conversion you choose, the choices in both the From and To popups will be selections based on the type of conversion. For example, if Time is chosen, the selections in the popups will be related to time, such as seconds, minutes, and so forth.

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