This page contains information about various calculator options for people who are blind or have low vision. This information will help you make an informed decision about the right calculator option for your needs.

It is important to note that not all calculators have all the functions to complete all requirements of secondary or tertiary level maths.

On this page:

Stand alone or desktop options

Basic calculators

Vision Australia’s Equipment Solutions sells a number of basic stand alone talking calculators. The desktop talking calculator with headphone jack is recommended for students because it has an easy to use layout and can be used privately. Functions include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentage and memory.

Students with low vision may be able to successfully access a calculator from retail outlets in conjunction with a hand held magnifier or video magnifier. Please note that some older video magnifiers cannot display the calculator’s LCD display when they are in black and white mode.

Scientific calculators

large print talking scientific calculator Large Print and Talking – this product is available through Vision Australia’s Equipment Solutions. It should be noted that this does not follow the conventional order of operation found in current mainstream scientific calculators used in classrooms.

For example, mainstream scientific calculators require you to enter the square root button first and then the number you wish to square root. The large print talking scientific calculator requires you to press the number first and then the square root button. This may disadvantage some students in a classroom when they are trying to follow a teacher’s instructions.

Braille - Braille devices with inbuilt scientific calculators include the Mountbatten, PACmate and BrailleNote.

Software options

Basic and scientific calculator software

A basic calculator and scientific calculator is available free with both the Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac operating systems.

Equation editor software is included in Microsoft Word that allows you to write equations with mathematical systems. To locate equation editor in Office 2003; open Microsoft Word, select customize from the tools menu. Then select the commands tab. Select Insert under the Categories menu and Equation Editor under the commands menu. Drag Equation editor into your toolbar at the top of the page.

In Office 2007 and 2010 you will find the Equation editor function under the Insert menu.

Scientific and graphing calculator software

GTCalc Graphing Talking Calculator for Windows is a scientific and graphing calculator software program.

Comparing scientific calculators

The table below indicates the features and functions that exist for the available scientific calculator options. (An 'x' indicates the feature exists).

Feature Large Print & Talking Scientific Calculator Mountbatten Brailler PACmate Notetaker Braille Note Notetaker GTCalc Graphing Talking Calculator Software
Voice Output x x x x x
Large Print x       x
Braille   x x x  
Combinations         x
Permutations         x
Fractions x   x x x
Graphing         x
Trigonometry x x x x x
Statistics x x x x x


  x x   x
Financial mode     x   x

It is important to trial the different types of scientific calculator options available prior to purchasing. In some instances Vision Australia is able to provide this equipment on a short-term loan basis to allow for trial.