All Things Appy: 5 Best Number-Crunching Apps for Firefox

When you need to deal with numbers, nothing beats the old PC, along with its full-sized screen, keyboard and browser.

Firefox is a robust PC browser with numerous add-ons that’s well-suited to mathematics. This week, we look at the top five best and must-have add-on apps for crunching operations in that browser.

About the Platform: Look for the add-on that you need in the Search box in the Add-ons browser page. Click on the add-on that you need, let it install and then restart Firefox if you are prompted to do so.

Note that add-ons can be called extensions when they have been installed. Add-ons can sometimes also be accessed from the Add-ons bar, available in the Toolbars menu. Often you can contribute funds to the app developer, if you like.

No.1: Status-Bar Scientific Calculator

S. Goyal’s Scientific Calculator has 5 stars out of 5 from 96 user reviews in Firefox’s Add-ons library. The add-on has a total of 5,104 users.

Here’s an excellent example of superb browser functionality created by an add-on. This is a calculator that lives in your status bar, so you don’t have to open another app and can keep browsing the Web while you perform calculations.

A neat feature is the ability to see the numbers that you enter strung along the bar — a bit like the functionality you get with a printing calculator.

No. 2: Basic Percentage Calculator

Basic Percentage Calculator has no stars because it’s not yet rated in Firefox’s Add-ons library. The add-on has a total of one user.

This very new calculator specializes in percentage values in clear text. Questions like, “What is the percentage of a number?” are posed in plain language.

Tricky calculations for some to get their head around, like evaluating the percentage increase or decrease from a particular number to another number, are included — also in supremely clear language.

No. 3: Quick Calculator

Quick Calculator has 4 stars out of 5 from 11 user reviews in Firefox’s Add-ons library. The add-on has a total of 551 users.

Here’s a neat solution for adding up numbers on a Web page: Just Ctrl + double-click any Web page-included numerals, and the sum total appears in the add-on bar.

Various other calculations like average min and max can be performed too.

No. 4: ContextCalc

ContextCalc has 5 stars out of 5 from two user reviews in Firefox’s Add-ons library. The add-on has a total of 170 users.

This app lets you create a mathematical expression that you can view and run in a Web-page context menu. The context menu is that pop-up menu that appears on right-click.

Basically, what this app does is run predetermined calculations on any Web page-derived number. Use it to total discounts or sales taxes, for example. Configure the app and then right-click on a website shopping cart non-tax price to see price plus sales tax. Slightly inconsistent popping up mars the experience somewhat.

No. 5: Calculator

Marc-marc’s Calculator has 4 stars out of 5 from 94 user reviews in Firefox’s Add-ons library. The add-on has a total of 10,718 users.

This powerful calculator includes history and conversions. Features include powers, square root, constants, trigonometric, hyperbolic and other functions. It’s not a completely featured scientific calculator, but it does have much of what you’ll need.

Unforgivingly, this app includes unnecessary bloatware — a bizarrely included shopping-comparison feature. The app receives a runner’s up position because of it. You can disable this irrelevant element though, on installation.

Want to Suggest an Apps Collection?

Is there a batch of apps you’d like to suggest for review? Remember, they must all be for the same platform, and they must all be geared toward the same general purpose. Please send the names of five or more apps to me, and I’ll consider them for a future All Things Appy column.

Don’t forget to use the Talkback feature below to add your comments.

Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication Producer Report and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School and wrote the cult-classic novel Sprawlism. His introduction to technology was as a nomadic talent scout in the eighties, where regular scrabbling around under hotel room beds was necessary to connect modems with alligator clips to hotel telephone wiring to get a fax out. He tasted down and dirty technology, and never looked back.

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