Converting Between Numbering Systems with Windows Calculator

It is often necessary to convert between numbering systems when working with microprocessors and microcontrollers. Although manual methods do exist, Windows users may easily convert between common numbering system bases such as hexadecimal, decimal, octal and binary by using the Windows Calculator application.

Precise details depend on the software version, but the basic approach is to firstly switch to Programmer (or Scientific) view, select the 'initial' numbering base, enter the number and finally select the desired 'destination' numbering system. This will cause the number to be automatically converted.

The Windows Calculator offers four standard number sizes. These are Byte – 8 bits, Word – 2 bytes, Dword (Double word) – 4 bytes, and Qword (Quad word) – 4 bytes. Notice from this Windows 7 illustration that positive values are left-padded with zeros to fill the selected number size (bits 12–63 in this case).

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