What's the difference between 'C' and 'CE' functions on Windows calculator?

  • Diogo

    I have always seen these buttons on physical calculators just as they are displayed on the Windows Calculator, but I never really understood what the abreviations mean and what exactly is the difference between them:

    Windows Calculator Picture

    So, what do the abreviations on these buttons stands for? I have never noticed any difference with using both on simple and routine calculations

  • Answers
  • Oliver Salzburg

    According to Vintage Technology, both buttons are a way to clear or cancel an entry. The C button will clear all input to the calculator. The CE button clears the most recent entry, so if you make a mistake in a long computation, you don't need to start all over again.



    enter image description here

    If I now press the CE button, only the 5 is erased. The rest of my computation is still stored.

    enter image description here

    If I press the C button, my whole computation will be cleared:

    enter image description here


    One might ask why we have these specific keys on our Windows calculator? Why are they not labeled differently?

    Luckily, the guys over at Vintage Calculators have an amazing collection of information on the subject.

    According to their site, the first electronic calculator was released by Bell Punch Co., Uxbridge, England in 1961. This were the Anita Mk VII and the Anita Mk 8.

    Anita Mk VII

    Anita Mk VII

    Anita Mk 8

    Anita Mk 8

    For the Mk 8 we get an additional schema:
    Schema of the Anita Mk8

    We can see it has a Clear Register and Clear Keyboard button. Please keep in mind, to my knowledge, this is one of the first electronic calculators that was ever designed.

    The terminology was also used in later models, like the Sanyo ICC-0081, which seemed to have a CK (Clear Keyboard) and CA (Clear All) button.

    Sanyo ICC-0081

    Later models just continue the pattern. For example, the

    Canon Pocketronic

    Canon Pocketronic

    We can see a C (Clear) and CI (Cancel Input) button.

  • Ajay Prasad

    CE means "Clear entry" it just clears the last number typed into the display

    C means "Clear" (more) It clears the display and any partial calculation.

    Example: you enter 25 + 3 If you hit CE, it erases the 3, but remembers you were adding something to 25. You can now enter 8 and =, and you'll see 33.

    If you hit C, it forgets the whole thing, and if you now enter 8 and =, you will see 8 still there.

    MC clears the separate value stored in memory, which is not affected by C or CE.

  • Related Question

    focus - Why does Windows Calculator always start minimised?
  • wows

    I often start Calculator by pressing the little Calculator button on my MS keyboard - but for some stupid reason it always starts minimized - meaning I have to restore it first before I can use it. Any idea why it would do this?

    It appears to start fine if I start it any other way.

    Update: I've just realized this only happens when Visual Studio 2008 is in focus - which is a lot of the time on my machine. Weird! Still annoying though.

    Update 2: OK, so it's not just Visual Studio - but Calculator starts without focus in all programs. Some programs it starts under, and some programs it starts over the top, but still not focused - so you have to click on the program itself or on the taskbar.

  • Related Answers
  • hyperslug

    One was this could happen is if that key is mapped to a shortcut with Run set to Minimized. What kind of MS keyboard?

  • jcsharp

    I had the same problem with Windows 7 x64. I fixed it by creating a command file calc.cmd with the following lines:

    start C:\Windows\System32\calc.exe 

    Then I assigned the key to run the command file, and calc now starts in the foreground.

  • John T

    You can use an AutoHotkey fix:

    WinWait, Calculator

    or compile the following script, drop it into system32 and rename calc.exe to calcX.exe and name this compiled script calc.exe.

    Run, calcX.exe
    WinWait, Calculator
  • Synetech

    It looks like there is not going to be a straightforward answer for this. It is going to require investigation and debugging of your system. Fortunately most of us here love doing exactly that, so let’s start. :)

    Try mapping it to something else, say Notepad for example. What happens? Try mapping a different extended button to the Calculator. What happens then? The goal of this step is to see if it is the calculator that is the problem or the specific button.

  • Diogo
    1. Windows start menu;
    2. All Programs;
    3. Accessories;
    4. Calculator;
    5. Right-Click Calculator and select Properties.
    6. Under the Shortcut tab half way down is the Run attribute; change its property to “Maximized”.

    Run your normal shortcut key to open the calculator in maximized state.