CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

MyScript Calculator reviewed review: Solve math problems by writing on your screen

Most people learned math as children by writing out problems on paper. This calculator app lets you do just that, but also lets you perform complex computations, all by writing numbers and symbols on your screen.

Jason Parker
Jason Parker Senior Editor / Reviews - Software

Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.

2 min read

MyScript Calculator (iOS|Android) is an app for both iOS and Android that lets you perform mathematical operations with freehand writing of expressions on your touch screen. This app won the Mobile App Showdown award at CES 2013 and after some time spent using it, it's easy to see why.

MyScript Calculator

MyScript Calculator reviewed

The Good

<b>MyScript Calculator</b> has amazing handwriting recognition, letting you write math expressions on screen that the app solves instantaneously.

The Bad

There's no way to resize the viewing area once you've written in an expression, so it's difficult to add on to a problem once your handwritten problem fills up the screen.

The Bottom Line

If you would like to go back to your early days of learning math using pencil and paper, this app lets you relive those moments, writing math expressions naturally while delivering solutions immediately.

The simple-looking interface mimics the look of graph paper. In the top right of the screen you have buttons for undo and redo, and a trash can for when you want to clear the screen completely. In the upper left you can open a menu where you can access the settings with options for setting the number of decimal points the app displays, switching to left-handed input, and other things. But it also has an interesting setting called palm rejection; when turned on, the app will ignore the part of the hand that touches the screen, useful for those who naturally rest their hand on the writing surface when drawing numbers with a stylus.

Just like a pencil and paper (pictures)

See all photos

Perfect for math students or anyone who wants to make a quick calculation, MyScript Calculator converts hand-written numbers and symbols into clear notation before your eyes, then shows you the solution to a math expression instantaneously. Not only can you add, subtract, multiply, and divide; you also can solve trigonometric functions by writing sin, cos, tan, and the degree of the angle on the screen. The app supports surprisingly complex expressions, letting you add exponents, draw the radical symbol for square roots, draw a line to divide by another number, and so on. You can continue to add to each mathematical expression or erase parts of it until you get it exactly right.

The app also lets you solve for variables using a question mark. This means you could write "6 (6+1) + ? = 50" and MyScript Calculator will replace the question mark with the correct answer automatically.

In my initial testing of this app, I was amazed at how well it understood and converted free handwriting, but once I tried more complex expressions, I was blown away by just how powerful MyScript Calculator really is. The one problem I had with the app, was that you can't resize the display once the numbers have been written and recognized. With the ability to add more math expressions at any time, it seems like there should be a way to resize the area with a pinch-to-zoom type of gesture so there is room to add more variables.

MyScript Calculator is free at the app store and is great for when you want to perform quick calculations and would even be useful for students wanting to find the solutions to more complex problems.

MyScript Calculator

MyScript Calculator reviewed

Score Breakdown

Setup 10Features 8Interface 8Performance 9
Shopping laptop image
Get the best price on everything
Shop your favorite products and we’ll find the best deal with a single click. Designed to make shopping easier.
Add CNET Shopping