Notebook Calculators Soulver and Calca

A notebook calculator isn’t something I knew I needed until I saw it. Writing math formulas and solving calculations using text is absolutely genius and has a slew of benefits.

First, a notepad calculator is way to mix text and numbers in the same document. Yes, this can be done in spreadsheet, but spreadsheet formulas are very hard to translate into documents. For example, pasting spreadsheet formulas into a Jira ticket won’t make any sense to someone reading it.

This is where notepad calculators like Soulver and Calca come in. You can create something like:

Revenue=$34000
Expenses=$10000
Total=Revenue-Expenses = $24,000

Or

Price=$100
Qty=10
Discount=5%
Total=(Price*Qty)-Discount = $950.00

This is a live formula. So as you change Revenue or Expenses, the Total will change, the same as you would see in a spreadsheet.

That is obviously a simple example, but the language is easier to follow. It’s also easier to follow $339-20% discount or 35% off 300k, without having to show cell references and decimal values.

As mentioned, these values are easily entered into a document for better comprehension. And, if needed, that same text can be read back out, entered into the calculator and the formula used again. You don’t have to recreate all the cells, cell references and set up the table exactly the same.

Since it’s a text editor, numbers and text can be mixed together so the formula has context and a full explanation.

Soulver and Calca use slightly different syntax to perform calculations, so which one you pick is a matter of style preference. They are both very good, are easy to work with and come in at under $10.

Should you spend $10 on another app when you already have a spreadsheet? If you are always building tables and ledgers, then yes. If you are doing simple calculations such as showing sums, discounts, quantity * price, then Soulver and Calca are perfect for the job. They are faster, more lightweight, and allow you to list the exact steps to reproduce a result.

Spreadsheets are awesome, but sometimes they are way more than what’s called for. Soulver and Calca can be just as powerful and easier to follow.

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