Windows 7 - Using Fractions in Windows 7 Calculator

Asked By Nathan Sokalski on 09-Feb-10 12:49 PM
When using the Windows 7 Calculator in Scientific mode, how can I make it
display the answer as a fraction? If I remember correctly, the calculator in
previous versions of Windows allowed you to view the answer as a fraction,
and I have never in my life seen a scientific calculator that does not let
you use fractions. Am I missing something, or are fractions just not yet a
feature of the Windows 7 Calculator? Thanks.
Nathan Sokalski

Robert Aldwinckle replied to Nathan Sokalski on 10-Feb-10 12:21 AM
Are you sure you are not in the Programmer mode instead?  (Alt-3).
In  Scientific mode (Alt-2))  I just typed 3 and clicked on the  1/x  button
to get  0.33333333333333333333333333333333
Looks like a third to me.   ; )
Nathan Sokalski replied to Robert Aldwinckle on 10-Feb-10 12:48 AM
Do you know the difference between a fraction and decimal? Your value,
0.33333333333333333333333333333333, is equal to
33333333333333333333333333333333/100000000000000000000000000000000, NOT 1/3.
I am looking to get a value equal to 1/3. These two values may be
approximately the same, but there are two main reasons to need or want to
have answers displayed as fractions. First, there is precision. For example,
if a fraction has a large numerator and/or denominator or when doing actual
calculations with the fractions, keeping it in fraction form may be
necessary to get the correct answer. Second, there is convenience and
preference. For example, when working with certain units (such as inches),
you normally write the value as 5/32 rather than 0.15625. Yes, you are
correct that if I saw the value 0.33333333333333333333333333333333
displayed, I would ASSUME that the answer was 1/3, but that is simply an
assumption, I do not actually KNOW that that was what the answer really
should have been. Fractions are usually one of the most frequently used
features of scientific calculators, and like I said in my original post, I
have never in my life seen a scientific calculator that does not support
them (until now!).
Nathan Sokalski
Steve Foster replied to Nathan Sokalski on 10-Feb-10 10:30 AM
I think you are mistaken in your belief that the Windows Calculator has
ever shown fractions.

I do not see anything in it in XP, Vista or W7 that would enable fractions.

I do not regard Calculator programs as "scientific calculators" (those are
small devices commonly purchased by students).

Steve Foster
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Nathan Sokalski replied to Steve Foster on 10-Feb-10 06:00 PM
You may be right that XP and Vista did not have fractions (I do not always
remember correctly), but the Windows 7 Calculator is definitely SUPPOSED to
be regarded as a scientific calculator. If you look at the options under the
View menu, one of the choices is "Scientific". As far as I can tell, it has
all the basic features of a scientific calculator other than fractions,
which in my mind is the most important feature of scientific calculators.
You would think that if they are willing to add all the features and modes
that they did, they would think to add fractions.
Nathan Sokalski
Antares 531 replied to Nathan Sokalski on 10-Feb-10 06:09 PM
MS Word, Excel and some of the other applications will let you type in
fractions, and will do the calculations accordingly. Maybe this is
what you were thinking about.  Gordon
Carlos replied to Nathan Sokalski on 10-Feb-10 06:21 PM
Why is it that you need the Calculator to display numbers in a quotient
I have been an engineer for over 30 years and never had a need for it.
Maybe I have missed something.
P.S.: not trying to argue, uh?
Nathan Sokalski replied to Carlos on 11-Feb-10 12:20 AM
I do not actually have a specific "need" for it, I just find it very
surprising that it is not there. And I figure that if somebody wants to use
their computer do stuff where they need some of the other functions on the
Scientific mode, they would probably want to be able to do fractions, too.
In fact, I think that the average person would be more likely to use
fractions than some of the other functions. That may be different for
engineers like you or people in other specific fields, but I think if you
asked the average person which one they would rather have (for those people
that even care about the Calculator at all), more people would say fractions
than anything else. But I have not done a study or gathered statistics, so I
guess I cannot say anything for a fact except that it does not have fractions
now, that I wish it did, and that I think it should.
Nathan Sokalski
David Kerber replied to Nathan Sokalski on 11-Feb-10 08:49 AM says...

What scientific calculators have you seen fractions in?  I have never seen
one; I have only seen them in student calculators and ones that can work

David Kerber replied to Nathan Sokalski on 11-Feb-10 08:51 AM says...

That's why you do not see it in real scientific calculators.  Scientists
and engineers, who actually use the scientific functions, do not normally
work in fractions unless they are working symbolically.

Robert Aldwinckle replied to David Kerber on 11-Feb-10 10:17 AM
Ironically the next thread that my newsreader lists is
Subject: Install Equation Editor on Toolbar
which might have had an answer for this one but has been deemed

Bobby Johnson replied to Robert Aldwinckle on 11-Feb-10 10:35 AM
Probably because it was strictly a question related to MS Word and is
not an operating system related subject.