What is up with the huge Calculator in Windows 10, Microsoft?

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 5, 2018
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft launched the October 2018 feature update for Windows 10 on October 2, 2018 but restricted it to manual upgrades to the new version.

Users and administrators who did upgrade to the new version already, read why you may want to wait with that, may have noticed a number of changes that Microsoft implemented.

Those who use the Calculator regularly may have been shocked by the giant size of the Calculator in the new version of Windows 10.

The calculator takes up most of the screen when launched initially. The screenshot below shows it right after launch on a 1920x1080 monitor on a PC running Windows 10 version 1809.

giant calculator windows 10

While the size may work in some situations, when you only open the calculator and nothing else or have a touch device and a small screen, it does not work well in most scenarios.

If you like to display the calculator next to another program, say an Excel spreadsheet, a shopping site, or a Word document, you will realize that this may not work with the default interface size.

Microsoft has not made the same mistake that it made when it released the Windows 8 operating system though. The operating system lacked options to resize application windows when it was launched which meant that you were stuck with a particular window size or even fullscreen apps.

Windows 10 users who dislike the giant size of the Calculator interface can resize it quite easily. Just move the mouse cursor over one of the window edges and use a drag motion to resize it.

If you resize the interface enough, you'll notice that the Memory and History sidebar is hidden from the interface and replaced with an icon that you may activate to display the history.

calculator standard size

The Calculator remembers the new window size, thankfully, so that it is loaded with the new dimensions whenever you start it on the system.

Closing Words

It is unclear why Microsoft made the decision to inflate the screen of the Calculator app in the new version of Windows 10. Other apps have not received the same treatment in the new version of Windows 10.

Now You: What is your take on this?

What is up with the huge Calculator in Windows 10, Microsoft?
Article Name
What is up with the huge Calculator in Windows 10, Microsoft?
Microsoft increased the default size of the Calculator app on Windows 10 version 1809 significantly so that it takes up most of the screen.
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  1. mr4nders0n said on May 20, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    I’m a nob, but only because I typed this line.
    It’s a personal attack to me by me! Is this allowed?
    Does anyone know how to edit/lengthen the history settings in w10 calculator, presumably this would be via a registry settings “hack” ?

  2. Wendy said on January 5, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    It’s a pain. It’s not as usable as the normal sized calculator. As a tool, I expect it to be dialog like and not require a second or third mouse adjustment to be usable for me.
    People who criticized this article stating that the author just needs to chill clearly either do not understand usability or use the calculator regularly as a tool.
    Anything that forces the user to go from one click to more than one has taken a step in the wrong direction.

  3. Rocco said on July 17, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    I’m certain the reason calc won’t remember its size and continues to open as oversized is a multi-monitor/Hi-DPI issue. My laptop screen is 4K but I have 2 1080p monitors connected; 1 via HDMI and the other via thunderbolt 2. I usually have my calculator on my right matter. No matter how I size it, it reopens LARGE. When I move it to my laptop monitor (recognized as Monitor 1) it will remember the size and placement. MS still has not taken care of its Hi-DPi issue for apps. Developers cna only do so much; the onus is on MS to fix the issues and they are just too large, sloppy and careless to do things competently.

  4. Rocco said on July 17, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    As a giant corporation, how incompetent, sloppy and careless do you have to be to let your simple OS calculator not remember its size? It ALWAYS goes back to oversized!

  5. E said on March 5, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    I’m wondering:
    What is driving these kinds of changes at MS? Was there some swell of discontent over the previous calculator? Of all the various issues and bugs we’ve all come across with Windows over the years – I find it hard to believe that this new calculator reflects some dire need for a complete (and weird) redesign. I really liked the compact calculator before… But once again, it sure looks like actual, human users are not at the foundation of design decisions – it seems to be some odd, esoteric, guru- or artistic-driven idea behind it. Just like the [non-adjustable] 1-pixel wide window borders – arrrggghhh…. Sure would like to see actual, human, users providing real feedback to MS BEFORE this junk comes out…

  6. CC said on February 3, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Resizing works great! Not sure why I didn’t try it long ago. I was immediately hitting the “Keep on top” button which sizes it down, but never retained the setting. I thought it was actually a “resize to smaller” button. But manually dragging a corner to resize seems to work well and retains the setting. I don’t do fancy work on it so I have no complaints otherwise.

  7. k n said on January 2, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Instructions listed above for resizing do not work. Why the hell do they feel the need to change this kind of stuff? Leave it alone and if I want to resize it, I will! Extremely annoying!

  8. Jarmo said on December 16, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    I think the guy at Microsoft responsible for the calculator had no more ideas on how to improve it, so he made it HUGE. I can see the numbers from a satellite photo.
    And when it’s scaled down, the “minimize to taskbar” icon is missing!
    I use my phone calculator now…

  9. Rick Stannard said on December 10, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    You can only shrink the HUGE calculator so much….it’s STILL WAY TOO BIG after shrinking it to the max Windows 10 allows! Useless for using along side Excel spreadsheets unlike the original calculator. Now write an article on how to get that back and it would be useful.

  10. Marc Ilius said on November 9, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for your helpful article!

  11. Jim Casey said on November 5, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    This article is exactly what I needed. Thank you.

  12. Anonymous said on August 5, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    The calculator in Win 10 is an utter disaster (like most of Win10). It’s huge with numbers 10 times bigger than normal screen fonts and an horrible history/memory pad. Reduce the window size and you first lose buttons (scientific mode) before the history/memory pad disappears or a normal font size is reached.

  13. james green said on June 29, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    Thanks for the help. Easy fix!

  14. Shob said on June 9, 2019 at 4:28 am

    Yes, the size of the Windows 10 Calculator is just too big. The calculator is supposed to be used alongside other apps and this one takes up too much space. The resize option doesn’t help much as the History gets hidden.

  15. owl said on February 23, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    “M-Calc” is recommended.

    Alternatives to Calculator in Windows 10,

  16. bob said on February 22, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Windows 10 just sucks. even when calc is resized it still looks garbage, there is no colour to it.

  17. Anders Lindén said on January 8, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Why is there no discussion when we can have the calculator fixed again? We can complain, but how do we make progress. The calculator just cannot look like this, it is awful.

  18. John in Mtl said on October 6, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    One thing I hate even more than an oversized calculator is the oversized audio mixer panel that has been supplied with the OS since windows 7. Drives me absolutely bonkers. XP had a few 3-rd party mixers or GUI’s that had the ability to shrink the mixer to a very neat and compact size

    Does anyone around here have an alternative to the windows 7 (and 8.1, 10) mixer or a way to shrink the damn thing??

  19. o_O said on October 6, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Tablets and notebooks used as touch devices with windows 10 is extremely niche product, maybe it is time to stop this madness and provide actual desktop interface back? (Hello to GNOME as well)

  20. Matthew Borcherding said on October 6, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Since the Windows 10 calculator’s UI is so awful, and now is getting actually worse, I figured out how to replace calc.exe with Moffset FreeCalc. (http://www.moffsoft.com/freecalc.htm – as mentioned by previous posters as well)

    Any calls to calc.exe after this open FreeCalc instead.

    My batch here is easily adjustable to open a different calculator (e.g. Calculator Plus, or whatever), just change the folder\file referenced.

    (You could also use this same technique to replace notepad.exe with Notepad++ or whatever other various replacements you might want.)

    Batch file posted here in Pastebin:

  21. kalmly said on October 6, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Everything about Windows 10 is ugly. Why should the calculator be any different?

  22. Anders said on October 6, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Calc off the market along with latest 1809 fail release. C u soon.

  23. Dan said on October 6, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Can’t imagine, folks, so much controversy for “the giant size” of a resizable app like Calculator. And for the urgent need to download a free software when yours has all you need: 4 calculating mods, including scientific, and a universal converter (click on the sandwich tab), and the possibility to copy/paste the results (right click on it).

  24. tasukun said on October 6, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Am I the only one who uses their phone instead for a calculator? but I guess the built in one is good for educational / work purposes though.

    1. John Fenderson said on October 9, 2018 at 7:07 pm


      I have three different calculator apps on my phone that I use for different things, so you’re not the only one. However, I also use a calculator app for nonspecialized calculations on my desktop because that’s a lot more convenient than pulling my phone out when I’m sitting at my computer.

  25. Peterc said on October 6, 2018 at 8:45 am

    When I need to do a quick-and-dirty calculation and/or conversion, it’s usually when I’m in my browser, so I just use Google search because it’s faster to get to. If I need to do something more elaborate, I tend to use LibreOffice Calc. I’ve only used Windows’ built-in calculator a handful of times in the past 10 or more years, so I don’t really know what it can do anymore.

    But this business about the Windows 10 Calculator loading too big by default reminds me of a little gripe I have. Since at least the Windows XP days, I’ve used a little utility called AutoSizer that you could program to automatically maximize or resize and reposition different classes of windows (or different windows with a given string of text in their titles) *exactly* the way you wanted every time you opened them. It was great while it worked, but for maybe a couple of years, it hasn’t been working very reliably (in Windows 7 SP1 x64). I don’t think it’s been actively developed for a while, so maybe a Windows 7 update broke it at some point. Another XP utility I miss is the feature in TweakUI that allowed you to control focus-stealing, but I guess that’s getting too far off topic…

    1. Warren said on October 7, 2018 at 12:00 am

      Why open up a browser tab to Google to do simple calculation? Bing’s calculator is available from the Start menu. No browser required. Just hit Start, type “5×4”, and “20” is shown.

      The same technique works for other things: “10 usd in gbp”, “distance from los angeles to boston”, “minneapolis weather”, and so on.

      1. John Fenderson said on October 8, 2018 at 10:37 pm


        A valid observation, but that doesn’t help those of us who have disabled Cortana and all the other forms of Windows integration with Microsoft’s online services that we can.

        If I type “5×4”, “minneapolis weather”, or any other such search at the start menu, I don’t get an answer. Just as I like it.

  26. owl said on October 6, 2018 at 4:26 am

    Bundled applications of Microsoft are all low function, Low quality, Only the garbage items.
    Among other things, the Calculator is just as a “child’s toy”.

    The following refers to specifications up to 1803:
    It’s huge in size, it’s also impossible to customize, only become a disturbing presence.
    Perhaps it may be one that takes into consideration the user circumstances of a very small screen size such as a tablet or a small notebook …
    However, the essential computing function only has “arithmetic operations” and it is inadequate.
    Can not be the calculation results also copy-and-paste.
    It is only in a frustrating existence, it is almost garbage, so I deleted it with Geek UnÑ–nstaller and replaced it with free software “M 電卓 (M – Calc)”.

    Microsoft’s bundled applications are annoying presence.
    Every one, there are excellent products in free software.

  27. Rick said on October 5, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    Winaero has a download for the old Windows 7 and earlier calculator, which I’ve been using on Windows 10 without a problem.


    Reading this article led me to take a moment to look again at the new calculator app in Win10 (1803). It’s better than I remembered it when I looked at it in 1703, but I notice it doesn’t have a key for natural logarithm. Funny how not having a key for just that one operation renders it useless for me, but it does. A scientific calculator without a natural log function …

    1. chesscanoe said on October 8, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      Euler likes Calculator in Windows 10 1809 because if you go to its scientific mode you will see the “ln” and “e^x” keys.

  28. stefann said on October 5, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    I use this one, in everything from XP, XP x64 to Windows 7 x64:


    Sometimes You have to add this to the registry in other Windows versions than XP and XP x64 if it doesn’t work as supposed to (very seldom though) :

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags]

    1. Steve said on June 28, 2019 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks Sefann! Looks just like the Win7 calc in Classic view mode!

  29. Librarian Scott said on October 5, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    I use the calculator daily and hate, hate, hate the size. This, despite having Excel readily available.

  30. SCBright said on October 5, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    This is not new thing, at least for me, in every feature update I have to resize the calculator.

  31. DVDRambo said on October 5, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    It’s unlikely that anyone made the decision to have calculator open in an excessively large window. More than likely it’s just another bug left by a coder. No one double checks Windows anymore. We do MS’s QA work for them.

  32. MB said on October 5, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    This must be the most useless article ever.

    “Gosh, the calculator is too big ! Let’s resize it !”
    “Now let’s make an article to show the world how evil Micro$oft is !”


    1. Hari said on June 20, 2019 at 1:58 pm

      yeah, chill out. I found this article extremely useful as it didn’t occur to me that I could just resize it and have been fuming about the app resize after the last update. Problem solved! Sure, I probably should’ve thought of it myself but I didn’t and so articles like this are useful for idiots like us. :-)

    2. Juan said on December 27, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      Not pointless at all. I do CADD and require seven or more windows open at one time do to the research and multiple data sources I need. (You probably and immediately thought, “No one needs that many window open.” But that isn’t your decision.) I see just fine and have no need for a calculator with a font that is ten times the size of every other application on the screen. If for no other reason than that I fine it aesthetically uncomfortable, there is no good reason that this particular app should be forced to a size that I am not comfortable with. And no, I cannot simply download and install a third party app. I do not have admin privileges.

      Or is it your contention that the Windows interface with it’s ability to open two or more applications simultaneously, place them where the user finds most useful, and size them according, is just a stupid idea. Sure. I remember when when the first windows operating interface came out. Prior to that, we used DOS. An engineer expressed the opinion that it was ridiculous. “Why would anyone need to work with two programs at the same time”, he said. I get it. Why would anyone need to do something that he didn’t see a need for? How ridiculous!

      I found the article necessarily useful because the resizing restriction was disconcerting and I immediately went about figuring out what was going on. The article let me know not to waste my time trying to figure it out.

      1. Marinus Tahu said on November 19, 2019 at 8:54 pm

        I get the ‘Why do you have so many Windows open at once?’ , all the time question. Right up there with the ‘They will need only two computers in the world!’ statement.
        That’s why we get the 3x the normal person tasks done in the 2x time segment; and that’s why they say – it’s not fair.

      2. NonJuan said on July 17, 2019 at 3:03 pm

        Well said Juan. The “in your face” occupation of screen real estate is disturbing, bothersome & obnoxious. Subtle may not be what we want but it doesn’t get a programmer noticed in the corporate world. The calculator is “Madison Ave” style. (Termination of support of Win7 forced me to accept the Win10 “upgrade” at work and home.)

        Agreed, the article was quite useful, knowing there is nothing that can be done about it does prevents me from wasting time trying to “solve” the problem. Unless. . . stefann ‘s recommendation is correct. Maybe there is a way around it.

      3. Anonymous said on June 19, 2019 at 3:50 pm

        dude. chill.

      4. Jette said on April 15, 2020 at 12:24 am

        Chill? I think it is quite contrary for someone to criticize another’s point of view, a view with many valid points. I personally find it amazing that a staff of developers have nothing better to do than make a really big calculator. If there is any chilling to be done it should be on the R&D floor!

    3. Obama said on October 7, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      Yea, I agree, that article is pretty pointless…

  33. chesscanoe said on October 5, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Calculator looks OK in dark mode, and can be pretty powerful. However for 18 years I have been using http://www.moffsoft.com/freecalc.htm and it still works well for my needs. Around tax time I find its printable tape useful as a visual paper check for typos and a nice old fashioned record that works well for me. I just use Google for conversions and simple math results.

  34. SCBright said on October 5, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    This always occurred with each update, at least for me, I always had to adjust the size of the calculator after each feature update.

  35. Anonymous said on October 5, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    “Those who use the Calculator regularly may have been shocked by the giant size of the Calculator in the new version of Windows 10.”

    From the first time I used Windows 10, I never got that giant Calculator. Maybe yours was broken?

    1. DVDRambo said on October 5, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      Martin’s was not broken. Version 1809 opens Calculator in an oversized window. It’s almost like someone quit at the end of the day and never finished setting the correct default interface.

  36. Anonymous said on October 5, 2018 at 10:51 am

    “The Calculator remembers the new window size”.

    Yes, and “The Windows” remembers everything else.

  37. Anonymous said on October 5, 2018 at 10:16 am

    As someone who never uses the Windows calculator and always struggles to find screen space, I find that massive calculator screenshot hilarious yet charming.

  38. Ron said on October 5, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Win 10 is really still a huge beta (Win 7 user here)

    1. Shogo said on November 11, 2018 at 8:18 am

      More like an on-going-development. Windows 7 on other hand is deprecated.

    2. Chronius said on October 5, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      More like alpha.

    3. Weilan said on October 5, 2018 at 10:33 am


  39. Dave said on October 5, 2018 at 9:31 am

    I’m more concerned with why it needs internet access.

    1. Mark said on October 7, 2018 at 3:05 am

      Don’t know if you recall but you used to be able to use the calculator to access the web on systems that the admins had disabled IE & installation of 3rd party browsers etc.. Heh…used to use it on school computers to view the web. It worked in XP but not sure if that option is still around.

    2. Dan said on October 6, 2018 at 10:58 am

      It probably uses AI to deliver better result, personalized to you!

    3. Foobar said on October 5, 2018 at 10:00 am

      It can make currency conversion and needs internet to get the exchange rates.

      1. Anonymous said on February 16, 2021 at 10:04 am

        Just go to a currency conversion webpage. It’s more accurate.

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