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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Instacalc: Free, Shareable Online Calculator

Instacalc is a very neat online calculator that's great for back-of-the-envelope calculations. Although sites like Zoho offer embeddable spreadsheets, sometimes you don't need the power of Excel to illustrate a simple calculation. The syntax is simple: regular symbols like +, *, and - means the same as in Excel, and you can name cells by entering something like hours=2. Then you can refer back to that cell in another calculation with distance=10*hours. Double-clicking on a cell allows you to change its value. If you're familiar with spreadsheets, using Instacalc will come easily.

You can also generate random numbers, convert numbers to hex, and generate charts (see population example here). Bloggers will find the embedding option useful to share their calculations. A popular example is this YouTube valuation analysis:

You can change the numbers around and see what effect it has on the final valuation.



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