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Windows Calculator gaining Always-on-Top mode

What you need to know

  • The Windows Calculator will soon gain an Always-on-Top mode.
  • The feature showcases a unique use of the Compact Overlay mode.
  • Microsoft open sourced the Windows Calculator earlier this year.

The Windows Calculator will soon have an Always-on-Top feature. The new feature will allow users to pop the calculator into a mini-mode that can stay on top of all apps and windows. The feature addition is thanks to several contributors helping improve the concept and implementation of the feature on GitHub.

Microsoft open sourced the Windows Calculator earlier this year. At the time, Microsoft stated that the calculator was open sourced to "[encourage] your fresh perspectives and increased participation to help define the future of Calculator." This new feature certainly qualifies as a fresh perspective, as it relies on the Compact Overlay mode which is usually reserved for playing videos.

The feature was teased on Twitter by Dave Grochocki, a Senior Project Manager at Microsoft who works on the Windows Calculator.

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Grochocki did not include a release date of the feature, but the GitHub log shows that the feature was moved to "Completed" earlier today. The feature will probably roll out in the near future.

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Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

12 Comments
  • OMG!! I've been asking for this for years! What took them so long? Damnn, MS. Get your Shiit together🙄🙄
  • It happened because they open sourced it and some people contributed. It also need to have a hotkey assigned to bring it in focus to start calculating without doing ALT-TAB or clicking it with the mouse. Or have the numeric keypad auto assigned to it or something.
  • Someone replied to the tweet and said he needs physical keyboards with a calculator button to use that button to bring calculator in focus instead of oppening a new instance of the app. They confirmed they are looking into this.
  • Martin, I just assign it a hotkey combination (Ctrl-Alt-C in my case). That's a feature built into Windows you can do with any app. You do have to put an icon for it on the desktop, then in the Shortcut properties, you can assign a hotkey. To Yahia's point, if Calculator is already open, pressing Ctrl-Alt-C again will open a new instance each time, instead of just brining the current window to the foreground.
  • Thats what you get with UWP. Takes months to get simple features.
  • This is great, and it only took several years. In my mind, an always on top mode should be toggleable for any window, as it is in KDE.
  • I agree. I'd also like to see Compact Overlay support taller windows. It could functionally be like floating apps on iPad as well.
  • Can we have this calculator as an app for phones on Google play store please. All the other Microsoft apps work very well on android, but I miss the calculator I had on my old Windows 10 phone.
  • I saw a couple of days ago on this site that a dev put the Microsoft calculator app in the google store. I forget what it was called. Apparently it's the same calculator as the one in the Microsoft store.
  • It's Uno Calculator.
  • I'd also like to see a 'Default to Standard' option so the next time I open it after using one of the conversion calculators, I don't have to manually switch it back.
  • I see one issue with it though, only one app can use the compact overlay mode at a time.