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Wouldn’t it be nice if the calculations you scribbled on scrap paper were interactive, or if spreadsheets were easy enough to use at the drop of a hat? Soulver is a calculator that aims to combine these tools into something that’s both easy to use and powerful enough to crunch data in useful ways. Soulver lets you enter problems from simple arithmetic to trigonometry in natural language—using words as well as numbers and symbols—and combine the answers in flexible “math-processor” documents.
Typing “15.3% of $29.95” will get you an answer, for example, but Soulver isn’t quite magic, or even Siri. You have to use the vocabulary it expects, which is usually varied enough to get the job done, but it still requires a trip to the built-in cheat sheet every now and then. Nevertheless, its text-friendly design is great for adding notes and context to your numbers, and it’s even better for unit and currency conversions. Soulver even recognizes stock ticker symbols, so you can quickly figure out how much your 50 shares of AAPL are worth in yen (lucky you).
Special characters let you format your work, and you can add specific answers just by selecting them.
Soulver offers more power than just a cool input gimmick, however. You can easily define custom variables and save them for use in multiple files. Answers are summed automatically, and you can view their average, variance, or standard deviation with a click. You can even save answers as keys to use throughout a document, so when the original answer changes, problems containing its key update instantly. When you’ve finished working, Soulver exports to multiple file types, including PDF and HTML, with various styling options.
The bottom line. While pricey as a simple replacement for Apple’s Calculator, Soulver is worth a look if you want something less cumbersome than a spreadsheet but much more powerful than the back of a napkin for working out complex calculations.
Mac OS 10.6.6 or later
Simple, flexible interface. Customizable keyboard shortcuts. Calculates decimal, hex, and binary numbers.
You’ve got to learn to speak Soulver’s language sometimes.