Windows Calculator Will Soon Have a Graphing Mode

Posted on March 22, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Windows, Windows 10 with 20 Comments

Microsoft is working to add a graphing calculator functionality to the Windows Calculator app in Windows 10. The company open-sourced the app earlier this month, and it’s already been the most popular project on GitHub this month.

And one of the features Microsoft will be building for Windows Calculator out in the open is a Graphing Mode, as first spotted by ZDNet. The new graphing mode is being built for use in schools and for students, so they can quickly graph equations using the built-in calculator on Windows. The feature will work much like how you can turn equations into graphs within OneNote.

The feature actually has been in development for a long while. “We have been doing various forms of prototyping and then initial ground work on this for about a year now,” a Microsoft engineer noted on GitHub. The company also shared a list of features the new Graphing Mode will provide, including the ability to enter multiple equations and compare different plots, as well as advanced exporting abilities:

  • Users can enter an equation so that it can be viewed on the graph.
  • Users can enter multiple equations so that they can compare plots against each other and see the interactions between the lines.
  • Users can edit equations so that they can see how changes affect the plot and correct mistakes.
  • Users can change the graph viewing window so that they can see different parts of the plot at different levels of detail.
  • Users can change line visual options so that they can clearly differentiate between multiple plots.
  • Users can export graphs so that they can share it with others or incorporate into Office/Teams.
  • Users can easily manipulate secondary variables in equations so that they can quickly understand how changes to equations affect the graph.
  • Users can see traceable key graph features (KGF) as nodes/dots on the equations, and summon other KGFs in a list so that they can better understand the important features of a given function.
  • Users can trace plots so that they can better understand the relationship between variables in the equation on the graph.

Of course, building such an advanced feature into what’s meant to be a simple calculator could significantly affect the code base for the app. But it seems like Microsoft won’t be building the graphing engine for the new Graphing Mode themselves — and instead, it will use a graphing engine built by an unknown third-party to power the feature. “We are not developing the graphing engine ourselves. We will be using one developed elsewhere, and it unfortunately has restrictive licensing,” the engineer explained.

Graphing Mode in Windows Calculator will probably take months before actually shipping in Windows 10, so you will have to wait quite a while for this. We will make sure to let you know when the feature is actually useable, however.

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