Go to the first, previous, next, last section, table of contents.


Calc 2.02 comes as a set of GNU Emacs Lisp files, with names like `calc.el' and `calc-ext.el', and also as a `calc.texinfo' file which can be used to generate both on-line and printed documentation.

To install Calc, just follow these simple steps. If you want more information, each step is discussed at length in the sections below.

  1. Change (`cd') to the Calc "home" directory. This directory was created when you unbundled the Calc `.tar' or `.shar' file.
  2. Type `make' to install Calc privately for your own use, or type `make install' to install Calc system-wide. This will compile all the Calc component files, modify your `.emacs' or the system-wide `lisp/default' file to install Calc as appropriate, and format the on-line Calc manual. Both variants are shorthand for the following three steps: The Unix make utility looks in the file `Makefile' in the current directory to see what Unix commands correspond to the various "targets" like install or public. If your system doesn't have make, you will have to examine the `Makefile' and type in the corresponding commands by hand.
  3. If you ever move Calc to a new home directory, just give the `make private' or `make public' command again in the new directory.
  4. Test your installation as described at the end of these instructions.
  5. (Optional.) To print a hardcopy of the Calc manual (over 500 pages) or just the Calc Summary (about 20 pages), follow the instructions under "Printed Documentation" below.

Calc is now installed and ready to go!

Upgrading from Calc 1.07

If you have Calc version 1.07 or earlier, you will find that Calc 2.00 is organized quite differently. For one, Calc 2.00 is now distributed already split into many parts; formerly this was done as part of the installation procedure. Also, some new functions must be autoloaded and the M-# key must be bound to calc-dispatch instead of to calc.

The easiest way to upgrade is to delete your old Calc files and then install Calc 2.00 from scratch using the above instructions. You should then go into your `.emacs' or `default' file and remove the old autoload and global-set-key commands for Calc, since `make public'/`make private' has added new, better ones.

See the `README' and `README.prev' files in the Calc distribution for more information about what has changed since version 1.07. (`README.prev' describes changes before 2.00, and is present only in the FTP and tape versions of the distribution.)

The `make public' Command

If you are not the regular Emacs administrator on your system, your account may not be allowed to execute the `make public' command, since the system-wide `default' file may be write-protected. If this is the case, you will have to ask your Emacs installer to execute this command. (Just cd to the Calc home directory and type `make public'.)

The `make private' command adds exactly the same set of commands to your `.emacs' file as `make public' adds to `default'. If your Emacs installer is concerned about typing this command out of the blue, you can ask her/him instead to copy the necessary text from your `.emacs' file. (It will be marked by a comment that says "Commands added by calc-private-autoloads on (date and time).")


Calc is written in a way that maximizes performance when its code has been byte-compiled; a side effect is that performance is seriously degraded if it isn't compiled. Thus, it is essential to compile the Calculator before trying to use it. The function `calc-compile' in the file `calc-maint.el' runs the Emacs byte-compiler on all the Calc source files. (Specifically, it runs M-x byte-compile-file on all files in the current directory with names of the form `calc*.el', and also on the file `macedit.el'.)

If calc-compile finds that certain files have already been compiled and have not been changed since, then it will not bother to recompile those files.

The calc-compile command also pre-builds certain tables, such as the units table (see section The Units Table) and the built-in rewrite rules (see section Rearranging Formulas using Selections) which Calc would otherwise need to rebuild every time those features were used.

The `make compile' shell command is simply a convenient way to start an Emacs and give it a calc-compile command.


To teach Emacs how to load in Calc when you type M-# for the first time, add these lines to your `.emacs' file (if you are installing Calc just for your own use), or the system's `lisp/default' file (if you are installing Calc publicly). The `make private' and `make public' commands, respectively, take care of this. (Note that `make' runs `make private', and `make install' runs `make public'.)

(autoload 'calc-dispatch          "calc" "Calculator Options" t)
(autoload 'full-calc              "calc" "Full-screen Calculator" t)
(autoload 'full-calc-keypad       "calc" "Full-screen X Calculator" t)
(autoload 'calc-eval              "calc" "Use Calculator from Lisp")
(autoload 'defmath                "calc" nil t t)
(autoload 'calc                   "calc" "Calculator Mode" t)
(autoload 'quick-calc             "calc" "Quick Calculator" t)
(autoload 'calc-keypad            "calc" "X windows Calculator" t)
(autoload 'calc-embedded          "calc" "Use Calc from any buffer" t)
(autoload 'calc-embedded-activate "calc" "Activate =>'s in buffer" t)
(autoload 'calc-grab-region       "calc" "Grab region of Calc data" t)
(autoload 'calc-grab-rectangle    "calc" "Grab rectangle of data" t)

Unless you have installed the Calc files in Emacs' main `lisp/' directory, you will also have to add a command that looks like the following to tell Emacs where to find them. In this example, we have put the files in directory `/usr/gnu/src/calc-2.00'.

(setq load-path (append load-path (list "/usr/gnu/src/calc-2.00")))

The `make public' and `make private' commands also do this (they use the then-current directory as the name to add to the path). If you move Calc to a new location, just repeat the `make public' or `make private' command to have this new location added to the load-path.

The autoload command for calc-dispatch is what loads `calc.elc' when you type M-#. It is the only autoload that is absolutely necessary for Calc to work. The others are for commands and features that you may wish to use before typing M-# for the first time. In particular, full-calc and full-calc-keypad are autoloaded to support "standalone" operation (see section Standalone Operation), calc-eval and defmath are autoloaded to allow other Emacs Lisp programs to use Calc facilities (see section Calling Calc from Your Lisp Programs), and calc-embedded-activate is autoloaded because some Embedded Mode files may call it as soon as they are read into Emacs (see section Assignments in Embedded Mode).

Finding Component Files

There is no need to write autoload commands that point to all the various Calc component files like `calc-misc.elc' and `calc-alg.elc'. The main file, `calc.elc', contains all the necessary autoload commands for these files.

(Actually, to conserve space `calc.elc' only autoloads a few of the component files, plus `calc-ext.elc', which in turn autoloads the rest of the components. This allows Calc to load a little faster in the beginning, but the net effect is the same.)

This autoloading mechanism assumes that all the component files can be found on the load-path. The `make public' and `make private' commands take care of this, but Calc has a few other strategies in case you have installed it in an unusual way.

If, when Calc is loaded, it is unable to find its components on the load-path it is given, it checks the file name in the original autoload command for calc-dispatch. If that name included directory information, Calc adds that directory to the load-path:

(autoload 'calc-dispatch "calc-2.00/calc" "Calculator" t)

Suppose the directory `/usr/gnu/src/emacs/lisp' is on the path, and the above autoload allows Emacs to find Calc under the name `/usr/gnu/src/emacs/lisp/calc-2.00/calc.elc'. Then when Calc starts up it will add `/usr/gnu/src/emacs/lisp/calc-2.00' to the path so that it will later be able to find its component files.

If the above strategy does not locate the component files, Calc examines the variable calc-autoload-directory. This is initially nil, but you can store the name of Calc's home directory in it as a sure-fire way of getting Calc to find its components.

Merging Source Files

If the autoload mechanism is not managing to load each part of Calc when it is needed, you can concatenate all the `.el' files into one big file. The order should be `calc.el', then `calc-ext.el', then all the other files in any order. Byte-compile the resulting big file. This merged Calculator ought to work just like Calc normally does, though it will be substantially slower to load.

Key Bindings

Calc is normally bound to the M-# key. To set up this key binding, include the following command in your `.emacs' or `lisp/default' file. (This is done automatically by `make private' or `make public', respectively.)

(global-set-key "\e#" 'calc-dispatch)

Note that calc-dispatch actually works as a prefix for various two-key sequences. If you have a convenient unused function key on your keyboard, you may wish to bind calc-dispatch to that as well. You may even wish to bind other specific Calc functions like calc or quick-calc to other handy function keys.

Even if you bind calc-dispatch to other keys, it is best to bind it to M-# as well if you possibly can: There are references to M-# all throughout the Calc manual which would confuse novice users if they didn't work as advertised.

Another key binding issue is the DEL key. Some installations use a different key (such as backspace) for this purpose. Calc normally scans the entire keymap and maps all keys defined like DEL to the calc-pop command. However, this may be slow. You can set the variable calc-scan-for-dels to nil to cause only the actual DEL key to be mapped to calc-pop; this will speed loading of Calc.

The `macedit' Package

The file `macedit.el' contains another useful Emacs extension called edit-kbd-macro. It allows you to edit a keyboard macro in human-readable form. The Z E command in Calc knows how to use it to edit user commands that have been defined by keyboard macros. To autoload it, you will want to include the commands,

(autoload 'edit-kbd-macro      "macedit" "Edit Keyboard Macro" t)
(autoload 'edit-last-kbd-macro "macedit" "Edit Keyboard Macro" t)
(autoload 'read-kbd-macro      "macedit" "Read Keyboard Macro" t)

The `make public' and `make private' commands do this.

The GNUPLOT Program

Calc's graphing commands use the GNUPLOT program. If you have GNUPLOT but you must type some command other than `gnuplot' to get it, you should add a command to set the Lisp variable calc-gnuplot-name to the appropriate file name. You may also need to change the variables calc-gnuplot-plot-command and calc-gnuplot-print-command in order to get correct displays and hardcopies, respectively, of your plots.

On-Line Documentation

The documentation for Calc (this manual) comes in a file called `calc.texinfo'. To format this for use as an on-line manual, type `make info' (to use the makeinfo program), or `make texinfo' (to use the texinfmt.el program which runs inside of Emacs). The former command is recommended if it works on your system; it is faster and produces nicer-looking output.

The makeinfo program will report inconsistencies involving the nodes "Copying" and "Interactive Tutorial"; these messages should be ignored.

The result will be a collection of files whose names begin with `calc.info'. You may wish to add a reference to the first of these, `calc.info' itself, to your Info system's `dir' file. (This is optional since the M-# i command can access `calc.info' whether or not it appears in the `dir' file.)

There is a Lisp variable called calc-info-filename which holds the name of the Info file containing Calc's on-line documentation. Its default value is "calc.info", which will work correctly if the Info files are stored in Emacs' main `info/' directory, or if they are in any of the directories listed in the load-path. If you keep them elsewhere, you will want to put a command of the form,

(setq calc-info-filename ".../calc.info")

in your `.emacs' or `lisp/default' file, where `...' represents the directory containing the Info files. This will not be necessary if you follow the normal installation procedures.

The `make info' and `make texinfo' commands compare the dates on the files `calc.texinfo' and `calc.info', and run the appropriate program only if the latter file is older or does not exist.

Printed Documentation

Because the Calc manual is so large, you should only make a printed copy if you really need it. To print the manual, you will need the TeX typesetting program (this is a free program by Donald Knuth at Stanford University) as well as the `texindex' program and `texinfo.tex' file, both of which can be obtained from the FSF as part of the texinfo2 package.

To print the Calc manual in one huge 550 page tome, type `make tex'. This will take care of running the manual through TeX twice so that references to later parts of the manual will have correct page numbers. (Don't worry if you get some "overfull box" warnings.)

The result will be a device-independent output file called `calc.dvi', which you must print in whatever way is right for your system. On many systems, the command is

lpr -d calc.dvi

Marginal notes for each function and key sequence normally alternate between the left and right sides of the page, which is correct if the manual is going to be bound as double-sided pages. Near the top of the file `calc.texinfo' you will find alternate definitions of the \bumpoddpages macro that put the marginal notes always on the same side, best if you plan to be binding single-sided pages.

Some people find the Calc manual to be too large to handle easily. In fact, some versions of TeX have too little memory to print it. So Calc includes a calc-split-manual command that splits `calc.texinfo' into two volumes, the Calc Tutorial and the Calc Reference. The easiest way to use it is to type `make tex2' instead of `make tex'. The result will be two smaller files, `calctut.dvi' and `calcref.dvi'. The former contains the tutorial part of the manual; the latter contains the reference part. Both volumes include copies of the "Getting Started" chapter and licensing information.

To save disk space, you may wish to delete `calctut.*' and `calcref.*' after you're done. Don't delete `calc.texinfo', because you will need it to install future patches to Calc. The `make tex2' command takes care of all of this for you.

The `make textut' command formats only the Calc Tutorial volume, producing `calctut.dvi' but not `calcref.dvi'. Likewise, `make texref' formats only the Calc Reference volume.

Finally, there is a calc-split-summary command that splits off just the Calc Summary appendix suitable for printing by itself. Type `make summary' instead of `make tex'. The resulting `calcsum.dvi' file will print in less than 20 pages. If the Key Index file `calc.ky' is present, left over from a previous `make tex' command, then `make summary' will insert a column of page numbers into the summary using that information.

The `make isummary' command is like `make summary', but it prints a summary that is designed to be substituted into the regular manual. (The two summaries will be identical except for the additional column of page numbers.) To make a complete manual, run `make tex' and `make isummary', print the two resulting `.dvi' files, then discard the Summary pages that came from `calc.dvi' and insert the ones from `calcsum.dvi' in their place. Also, remember that the table of contents prints at the end of the manual but should generally be moved to the front (after the title and copyright pages).

If you don't have TeX, you can print the summary as a plain text file by going to the "Summary" node in Calc's Info file, then typing M-x print-buffer (see section Calc Summary).

Settings File

Another variable you might want to set is calc-settings-file, which holds the file name in which commands like m m and Z P store "permanent" definitions. The default value for this variable is "~/.emacs". If calc-settings-file does not contain ".emacs" as a substring, and if the variable calc-loaded-settings-file is nil, then Calc will automatically load your settings file (if it exists) the first time Calc is invoked.

Testing the Installation

To test your installation of Calc, start a new Emacs and type M-# c to make sure the autoloads and key bindings work. Type M-# i to make sure Calc can find its Info documentation. Press q to exit the Info system and M-# c to re-enter the Calculator. Type 20 S to compute the sine of 20 degrees; this will test the autoloading of the extensions modules. The result should be 0.342020143326. Finally, press M-# c again to make sure the Calculator can exit.

You may also wish to test the GNUPLOT interface; to plot a sine wave, type ' [0 .. 360], sin(x) RET g f. Type g q when you are done viewing the plot.

Calc is now ready to use. If you wish to go through the Calc Tutorial, press M-# t to begin.

(The above text is included in both the Calc documentation and the file INSTALL in the Calc distribution directory.)

Go to the first, previous, next, last section, table of contents.