Contextures News

Hidden Calculator in Excel

June 28, 2016

How to use Excel's hidden calculator, and more, in this week's Excel news. If there are topics that you'd like to see covered in future newsletters, please let me know.

 -  Debra -  ddalgleish @
     Visit my Excel website for many more tutorials and videos.

Summer Schedule

During the summer months I'll publish this newsletter once every two weeks, so you will get the next issue on July 12th.

Hidden Calculator

Excel is built for calculations, and you can create amazing formulas and reports with it. But sometimes you just need a quick calculation, and you don't want build a spreadsheet! Fortunately, there is a well-hidden calculator that you can use, for situations like that.

  • To make the calculator available, click the arrow at the right end of the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), and click More Commands.
  • In the "Choose Commands From" drop down, choose All Commands.
  • In the list, scroll down, and click on Calculator, then click the Add button. It will appear at the end of the QAT list, on the right.
  • Then, click OK, to go back to Excel, and click the Calculator icon to open the Windows Calculator.

You can use it as a standard calculator, and enter numbers and operators with your computer keyboard, or click the buttons. Or, click the "hamburger" button (3 lines) at the top left, to select different types of calculators or converters. Your calculator might look different -- this screen shot is from Windows 10. Earlier versions have a View menu.

excel calculator

This Excel Project Is Odd

What strange projects have you done in Excel?

Most of the time, I use Excel for business projects, but it's perfect for personal projects too. Every weekend, I open up my meal planner, and figure out what we'll eat next week. Excel is also handy for event planning, or keeping track of your health. You can see lots more of my sample files here.

Last week though, I might have gone too far with my enthusiasm for making spreadsheets! My latest project was a garbage collection schedule, and it took a couple of hours to complete. I couldn't stop "improving" it! On the bright side, I used the ISODD function, which was a rare treat. Maybe I should have used MOD, but I'm not going to change it now!

excel calculator

Excel Articles

Here are a couple of Excel articles I read recently, that you might find useful.

Big Data -- What exactly is Big Data? It's mentioned everywhere, but rarely defined. Here's how the Excel team at Microsoft defines big data, and how they see Excel's role in working with it. (Level - All)

Dashboard Charts -- Stephanie Evergreen shows how to make Overlapping Bar Charts, which could useful on a dashboard, where space is limited. (Level - Intermediate/Advanced)

More Excel Articles -- Visit my Excel website for many more tutorials and videos. And for a bit of fun, read my weekly collection of entertaining Excel tweets.

Lovely Lilies

It was an exciting week in the garden -- the lilies have finally blossomed! I think they're Asiatic lilies, and we have this orange one and a yellow one. The stamens dance in the breeze, although it's hard to tell from this static picture. And yes, that red and white flower that I showed you a few weeks ago is still alive, so it can celebrate Canada Day with us on Friday. You can see both flowers on my website.

NOTE: If you have any problems with the links in the email, you can see this newsletter on my website -- copy this link and paste it into your browser:

Recommended Excel Products and Courses

  • Excel VBA: Take your VBA skills to the next level, by attending the Excel VBA Master Class to be held in Amsterdam, on October 26-27. Led by Excel experts Jan Karl Pieterse and Tony de Jonker, the class size is very limited. There is an Early Bird discount, if you register before July 31st. (On the "Select Ticket" page, click the button that shows the number remaining, then choose the Early Bird ticket.)
  • Excel Chart Tools: If you build complex charts, save time with Jon Peltier's Excel Charting add-in. Don't waste hours trying to format the chart yourself!


Choose Your Excel News: Get the full Contextures news package, or the basic one. To change, click a link below, and use the sign-up form on that page.

  • Full News Package: Weekly newsletter, plus occasional emails so you won't miss out on special Excel deals, free webinars, new products, and other Excel news.

Note: I am an affiliate for some of the products mentioned in this newsletter, and earn a commission on the sales.






Get weekly Excel tips from Debra


Excel Data Entry Popup List





Last updated: June 14, 2017 11:50 PM