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Open calc.exe in a specific mode via menu or arg



Not for Windows 10. Windows 10 has replaced the old calc.exe with a new one which doesn't work in the same way, so this script will just launch the new calculator on Windows 10 without changing modes.


This scripts adds a new command to Opus: LaunchCalc

The LaunchCalc command opens the Windows Calculator (calc.exe) directly into one of its four modes:
Standard, Scientific, Programmer, and Statistics.

(The script does this by modifying the registry setting calc.exe uses to store the last-used mode.)


[ul][li]For the script to work, the account you're using must have launched calc.exe and changed its mode at least once. The script works by modifying a registry setting and will only modify it if exists already (which happens the first time you change modes). The script won't create the registry setting if it's not already there, in case calc.exe changes where it stores the setting in the future.

[li]The script may fail and do nothing on Windows XP because old versions of calc.exe stored the mode in win.ini instead of the registry.

[li]Not very useful on Windows 10 due to the new Calc.exe.[/li][/ul]


Open Preferences / Toolbars / Scripts, then download LaunchCalc.osp (below) and drag it to the list.

LaunchCalc.osp (1.67 KB)

(If you want to edit it, the .osp file is really a zip file containing the script, with the .zip extension changed to .osp. Change the extension back and you can extract the .vbs file inside and open it in any text editor. You can drop .vbs scripts into the Opus script list directly, without creating an .osp file; the only reason .osp was used here is to make it easier for you to download, since .vbs files are typically blocked.)


Once installed, a new LaunchCalc command will be available in the Button Editor, Hotkey Editor, and so on.

If you run LaunchCalc without any arguments, it will show a pop-up menu where you can select the mode you want calc.exe to use:

You can also tell the command which mode you want to bypass the menu and launch calc.exe directly into a specific mode:

LaunchCalc MODE=standard
LaunchCalc MODE=scientific
LaunchCalc MODE=programmer
LaunchCalc MODE=statistics

For example, if you often find yourself needing the scientific and programmer modes, you might want to set up a pair of system-wide hotkeys so that you can push one key from any app to open a scientific calc.exe, and another key to open a programmer calc.exe. (Alternatively, don't specify a mode and use just one hotkey, so that when you push the hotkey a menu appears and you can choose from that.)

[li]The script itself:

If you just want to use the script, the LaunchScript.osp download above is probably easier.

The script code is reproduced here so that people looking for scripting techniques on the forum can browse the script code without having to download and extract the .osp file.

[code]Option Explicit

' Calculator Launcher
' (c) 2014 Leo Davidson
' This is a script for Directory Opus.
' See for development information.
' This script adds a LaunchCalc command to Opus.
' The LaunchCalc command can open the Windows Calculator (calc.exe) directly into one of its four modes
' (Standard, Scientific, Programmer and Statistics). You can tell the command to open in a particular mode,
' using a command-line argument, or you can let it display a pop-up menu.

' Called by Directory Opus to initialize the script
Function OnInit(initData)
' Provide basic information about the Script = "Calculator Launcher"
initData.desc = "Open calc.exe in a specified mode."
initData.copyright = "(c) 2014 Leo Davidson"
initData.default_enable = true

' Initialise the command that this script adds
Dim cmd
Set cmd = initData.AddCommand() = "LaunchCalc"
cmd.method = "OnLaunchCalc"
cmd.desc = initData.desc
cmd.label = "Launch Calculator"
cmd.template = "MODE/O[<ask>,standard,scientific,programmer,statistics]"

End Function

' Helper function
Function AddMenuFlags(vecFlags, val, test)
If (val = test) Then
vecFlags.push_back 1
vecFlags.push_back 0
End If
End Function

' Implements the LaunchCalc command
Function OnLaunchCalc(scriptCmdData)

Const REG_VALUE_PATH_CALC_LAYOUT = "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Calc\layout"

Dim objShell
Dim layoutValue
Dim layoutNewValue
Dim dlgChoice
Dim objDlg
Dim vecChoices
Dim vecCValues
Dim vecMenu
Dim numValues
Dim i

Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

' Always read the current layout value, so that if the registry settings aren't there the script will fail.
' (They were not in the registry at all on Windows XP, and could be moved again in the future.)
layoutValue = objShell.RegRead(REG_VALUE_PATH_CALC_LAYOUT)

layoutNewValue = -1

' See if a mode was specified via the MODE argument.
If ( scriptCmdData.func.args.got_arg.mode ) Then
	If (scriptCmdData.func.args.mode = "standard") Then
	ElseIf (scriptCmdData.func.args.mode = "scientific") Then
	ElseIf (scriptCmdData.func.args.mode = "programmer") Then
	ElseIf (scriptCmdData.func.args.mode = "statistics") Then
	End If
End If

' If we don't now which mode we want, use a pop-up menu to ask the user.
If (layoutNewValue < 0) Then

	Set vecChoices = DOpus.NewVector
	Set vecCValues = DOpus.NewVector
	Set vecMenu    = DOpus.NewVector
	vecChoices.push_back "&Standard"
	vecCValues.push_back CALC_LAYOUT_STANDARD
	vecChoices.push_back "S&cientific"
	vecCValues.push_back CALC_LAYOUT_SCIENTIFIC
	vecChoices.push_back "&Programmer"
	vecCValues.push_back CALC_LAYOUT_PROGRAMMER
	vecChoices.push_back "S&tatistics"
	vecCValues.push_back CALC_LAYOUT_STATISTICS
	vecChoices.push_back "-"
	vecChoices.push_back "Cancel"
	' Make the item for the last used mode bold.
	For i = 0 To vecCValues.size - 1
		AddMenuFlags vecMenu, layoutValue, vecCValues(i)

	Set objDlg = scriptCmdData.func.Dlg
	objDlg.choices = vecChoices = vecMenu
	dlgChoice = objDlg.Show()

	dlgChoice = dlgChoice - 1 ' Convert to 0-based index, -1 meaning nothing was selected.

	If (dlgChoice < 0 Or dlgChoice >= vecCValues.size) Then
		layoutNewValue = -1
		layoutNewValue = vecCValues(dlgChoice)
	End If

End If

' If we now know the mode to use, launch calc.exe, changing the registry value first if needed.
If (layoutNewValue > -1) Then
	If (layoutValue <> layoutNewValue) Then
		objShell.RegWrite REG_VALUE_PATH_CALC_LAYOUT, layoutNewValue, "REG_DWORD"
	End If
	objShell.Run "%windir%\system32\calc.exe", 1, False
End If

End Function[/code][/li][/ul]

How to get the GUI popuout list like the Undo List item in the toolbar


[ul][li]The script may fail and do nothing if the account you're using has never launched calc.exe before. It makes sure the registry setting it wants to modify already exists before changing it, to avoid creating a mess in the registry should the setting ever move in the future.[/li][/ul][/li][/ul][/quote]
It definitely fails in Windows 7 unless HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Calc contains a DWORD entry named layout. Once this has been created manually, it works perfectly.

Regards, AB


It should contain that once you launch and exit calc once, so I think that's the same as what I said.


Nope. Launching and exiting calc.exe did not create a layout registry entry, at least not on my work W7 system or the W7 VM I just tried it in.

Regards, AB


Maybe you have to change modes once as well or something. It definitely works here.


Yes, changing modes seems to be the trigger. Just opening and closing is not sufficient.

Regards, AB


can't get this to work with 11.13 on Windows 10 preview, any clues?



In what way doesn't it work?


jon, if backup/restore from win7 settings then Calc icon shows but doesn't do anything, if install from scratch then no icon shows at all.


Did you see this post? If you've never launched calc.exe before on that machine that could explain it. Check that registry setting exists.


yes saw that and switched calc types then made the mistake of presuming it was in the registry. It's different w win10, looks like it stores stuff here: C:\Users\c\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.WindowsCalculator_8wekyb3d8bbwe\Settings\settings.dat

oh well...


Windows 10 has a completely new, Metro calculator for some unknown reason. At least that's how current builds are. I am not wasting time on it until the final builds, because it could change again.

Update: It's still there in the final Windows 10, and I have run into so many issues with the Windows 10 calculator (particularly with its broken keyboard support, not taking keyboard focus sometimes even when clicked on, and slow startup) that I'm going to look for a replacement calculator app rather than try to make things work with the Windows 10 one. A lot of other people seem annoyed by the change so maybe Microsoft will fix things with the new one, or let us choose the old one again.