With macOS Big Sur, you can no longer enjoy quick access to interactive widgets in the Notification Center. Sure, you can still see widgets for things like the weather and a world clock, but you can’t perform calculations in a few clicks like before.
You can use Spotlight search for simple equations in a hurry but if you need a little more, you have to open the Calculator app. Since a calculator is one of those utilities you don’t want to have to hunt for, we’ll show you some alternatives to replace your missing widget.
Here you’ll find calculator apps for your menu bar along with shortcuts to open your existing Mac Calculator app from the Dock and using your keyboard. Review the options and see which one is the best fit for your needs.
Mac calculator shortcut alternatives
Menu bar calculators
Calculator Pro (Free, in-app purchase) is the best free option for a menu bar calculator for quick equations. It gives you the basic operators and functions, and lets you use either the buttons on the calculator or number keys on your keyboard. You have a few settings you can adjust and a calculator tape that you can view and copy.
CalcBar (Free) is a great tool for expanded equations. In addition to the basics, you can work with absolute values, square roots, exponents, and more using the app’s function index. The app also offers a hand Copy button for your result. While CalcBar’s appearance isn’t that of a standard calculator with buttons, and you’ll use your keyboard number keys, it’s still an excellent option.
If you need a multi-function calculator or want one for the menu bar and don’t mind spending a bit, check out these additional apps.
- PCalc ($9.99): Extended operations available for engineers, scientists, and programmers
- Calculator on Menu ($0.99): Basic operations
- Quick Calc: Menubar Calculator ($0.99): Basic operations
Add the Calculator shortcut to the Dock
If you prefer to stick with your Mac’s built-in Calculator app, then keeping the icon in your Dock is a fast way to click and open it when you need it.
1) Open the Calculator from the Applications folder.
2) Right-click or hold Control and click the icon in the Dock.
3) Move your cursor to Options and select Keep in Dock.
Once the icon is in your Dock, you can move it wherever you please.
If you appreciate the features of the Mac Calculator like showing the paper tape and using it as a unit converter, then access it easily from your Dock. Also, check out keyboard shortcuts for the Calculator on Mac.
Create a keyboard shortcut to launch Calculator
If you’re not interested in a menu bar app and aren’t fond of another icon in your Dock, there’s one more way to use your Calculator quickly – with a keyboard shortcut.
Not long ago, we showed you how to launch an app on your Mac with a keyboard shortcut using an Automator setup. So you can walk through that how-to to set up a keyboard shortcut to open the Calculator app like we did.
Basically, you create a Quick Action in Automator to launch an application and select Calculator.
Then, you head to the Keyboard > Shortcuts in your System Preferences and give that Quick Action you create a key combination you want to use.
With this, you just use your keyboard shortcut to pop open the Calculator on Mac when you need it.
Wrapping it up
Until and unless Apple changes the revamped Notification Center on macOS to allow for interactive widgets like a calculator, hopefully one of these alternative solutions works for you. Do let us know!