wcalc: powerful scientific calculator

wcalc_compI had been using GUI based calculators SpeedCrunch and Galculator for long. Recently I got addicted to the drop-down terminal AltYo and tend to do everything from the terminal. I found the feature-rich wcalc, which can literally do anything you might expect from a scientific calculator. One of its powerful features is the support for variables which allows you to use it like a programming language. wcalc is a very old utility. The development started in early 2002.


  • Use natural expressions, no learning curve
  • Use decimal, hex, oct, binary, degree or radian
  • Unit conversions
  • Set to throw warning if result is rounded off
  • Variables for storing numerical values, pre-defined functions or literals (with descriptions)
  • Last result stored in variable a
  • Stores history through multiple invocations
  • Use functions like floor, sin, sqrt, fact, rand, round, abs, ceil, log and so on…
  • Constants for Pi, logarithmic constant, acceleration due to gravity, speed of light etc. It supports Universal, Electromagnetic, Atomic and Nuclear, Physio-Chemical and Random constants.
  • Several commands to control the behaviour and interpretation
  • Store settings in ~/.wcalcrc
  • Store persistent information between instances in ~/.wcalc_preload


To install wcalc on Ubuntu, run:

$ sudo apt-get install wcalc


  • Calculate expression as argument
    $ wcalc '(13+14)/(3-5)'
    = -13.5
  • Calculate (15+19)/(3+4) interactively
    $ wcalc
    Enter an expression to evaluate, q to quit, or ? for help:
    -> 15+19
    = 34
    -> a/(3+4)
    = 4.85714
    -> quit

    Note that the special variable a always stores the last result.

  • Using variables, functions and constants
    $ wcalc
    Enter an expression to evaluate, q to quit, or ? for help:
    -> foo=5
    foo = 5
    -> bar=foo+4
    bar = 9
    -> baz=(sin(bar)+foo)/pi
    baz = 1.64134
    -> quit
  • Single-line base conversion from decimal to hex
    $ echo 100 | wcalc -h
    = 0x64
  • Interactive base conversion
    $ wcalc
    Enter an expression to evaluate, q to quit, or ? for help:
    -> 10*34
    = 340
    -> \h
    Hexadecimal Formatted Output
    = 0x154
    -> \b
    Binary Formatted Output
    = 0b101010100

Webpage: wcalc

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