Blog Post


Soulver is a unique calculator application for the Mac. Instead of the standard Keypad/Pseudo LCD that most programs use, Soulver takes quite a different approach to number crunching.

Using Soulver is pretty much a matter of typing out what you want to know. It accepts phrases that are more or less plain english and updates the answer in real time. Basic arithmetic is a breeze, but included are many other powerful functions.

One of Soulver’s coolest features is how it handles variables. Entering “x=3y + sin(y)” on one line, and “y=3” on another will update the answer column with the correct value. Updating the value of Y will change the answer as soon as you fill in the value. Of course you aren’t limited to one letter variables as you can see here:

You can also store permanent variables known as constants, this is handy for storing any value you’ll want to compute often, as you can see I’ve stored the exchange rate between the local currency and the dollar.

Many normal functions such as sine, cosine, tangent, square root and more are included making it quite easy to quickly solve many types of equations. There is also the ability to create your own functions for later usage. The included PayPal function is a good example.

The statistics palette allows you to see the total, average, median, range, minimum value and maximum value of all current values in the answer column. One of the handiest features is the answers palette. Opening this window will show you the decimal, root, fraction, degrees, hexadecimal and binary forms of the selected value, this is an amazing timesaver when you need to work in number systems other than base 10.

The only real gripe I can say I have is that Soulver’s ability to understand plain english is not quite as robust as I expected after viewing the examples on the Soulver website, but after a bit of experimentation I got the hang of it. I think if it could handle plural variables better it would be much more intuitive.

I have so far been quite impressed with Soulver as it has now earned a permanent spot on my dock. If you ever reach for a calculator (or!) I encourage you to give this program a try. A 15 day demo is available on the official site, and it can be purchased for $13.95.

3 Responses to “Soulver”

  1. Julian Bennett Holmes, it’s just nice basic interpretation of simple sentence and replacement of names (variables) by numbers.

    it’s not an human understanding what you mean by “money from sales”
    it cannot understand contexts or human culture. it’s just a little automaton machine : a computer.
    they could try to add more sentences meaning “=” (costs for example) or meaning the * operator.

    anyway, that application is convenient.

  2. I think the of a calculator that can understand english is good, but I think the implementation here is poor.

    For example:
    “book = $12
    If I sell 10 copies of my book, how much money will I make?”
    That works fine, but
    “My book costs $12.
    If I sell 10 copies of my book, how much money will I make?”
    That doesn’t work.

    Neither does:
    “book = $12
    I take 10% of the money from sales of my book.
    If I sell 10 copies of my book, how much money will I make?”

    That gets rather frustrating.