How to Unlock Microsoft’s Free Graphing Calculator in Windows 10
While your math teacher might not let you carry a laptop into their calculus class, we still think it’s awesome that Microsoft is finally providing the good Windows Calculator a boost of geekiness. If you thought “Scientific” mode was more useful, you haven’t seen anything yet—coming soon, to Windows 10, is a full-fledged graphing calculator.
As it’ll be great to finally have a graphing calculator made into the operating system. You won’t have to turn to third-party apps to emulate one anymore, not unless you crave that Texas Instruments feel.
If you’re not willing to wait, you can even start playing with this new graphing calculator today. You’ll have to trade away a little potential stability to calculate sine curves, as you can only access said calculator at the moment via one of Microsoft’s preview builds of Windows 10.
If that doesn’t divert you—and you can always drop out of the Windows Insider program once you’ve had your fun, or in case you encounter issues with its Windows 10 previews—here’s how to get started.
Were you, start by making a System Restore point just in case, via Control Panel > System > System protection. After that, hit up the Settings app > Update & Security, scroll down to the “Windows Insider Program,” and begin the process of signing up. Make sure you’ve enrolled yourself in the Fast track. Once your computer restarts, visit that same section again and stick with the “Windows Update” screen instead of clicking on “Windows Insider Program.” Check for updates and install anything that’s offered, which will undoubtedly require another PC restart.
- After that, you should have a fresh, beta
build of Windows 10 to play with—and should see something like this in the
lower-right corner of your desktop, to confirm that.
- You can pull up the Calculator now, but you might not see anything new. To fix that, go visit Windows Calculator’s listing in the Microsoft Store. Click on “Get” to reinstall it, and you should see a little notification that Windows Calculator has been updated. Now, when you pull up Calculator on your desktop, you’ll see the fancy new “Graphic” option via the upper-left “hamburger icon” menu.
- Are you ready? Click on it,
and then type in your favorite equation. Hit Enter, and you’ll see the results
graphed to your left. Yes, you can enter multiple equations at
once—color-coded!—and you can use the tracing feature to see the exact x and y
coordinates of any point. Ah, it’s like I’m back in AP Calculus again.
- And if you enter two
equations that relate to one another—for example, using “x” in one and defining
“x” in another—you get a little adjustment bar that shows you how different
values impact the primary equation.
- You can also hover over your equation and, if supported, Calculator will even give you a quick analysis that shows you key information: the domain and range, the x-intercept, the y-intercept, inflection points, et cetera.
While Calculator will not do your Calculus homework for you, it is a lot easier to navigate than your easy to access graphing calculator—prettier and a lot cheaper.