Putting your scientific calculator in degree mode is a vital step if you're performing calculations with degrees instead of radians or grads. In most cases, the standard mode for a scientific calculator is degree mode, but if you frequently change between different forms of angle measurement, then you need to learn how to switch modes. This is ordinarily a simple process that can be performed by pressing a "Mode" key and then selecting the degrees option from the menu that shows up.
What Mode Is It In?
Testing the mode you're currently in is an important first step before changing the mode of your calculator. Calculate sin(90) and view the result. Depending on your calculator model, you may need to press the "sin" button first and then enter "90," or you might need to enter "90" and then press the "sin" button. On Casio calculators, it tends to be the first method, but on others, like the calculator included with Windows, it's the latter method. If the answer is 1, then your calculator is already in degree mode. If it's 0.89399… your calculator is in radians mode. If it's 0.9876… your calculator is in grads mode.
Alternatively, you can look at the symbols on the display. If you see "D" or "deg," your calculator is in degree mode.
Standard Scientific Calculator: Degree Mode
To put most models of scientific calculators in degree mode, all you have to do is press "Mode" and then look at the numbers on the screen beside the menu items. Locate the number beside "Deg" or "Degrees" and press it to change the mode of your calculator. On some calculator models, including the Casio FX-4800P, the FX-5500LA, V.P.A.M. models and others, you might need to press the "Mode" button twice or more until you get to the angle mode-selection screen. On models like the FX-83GT Plus, you may have to press "Shift" and "Mode" to bring up the correct menu screen. If none of these approaches works, find the manual for your specific model to learn the button combination.
Graphing Calculators: Degree Mode
If you want to want to put a graphing calculator like the Casio FX-9860GII in degree mode, you need to access the appropriate menu mode, which is usually easy to do. For example, on the FX-9860GII, you press "[Setup]" and then choose "Angle" from the list of options. When you've done this, select "Deg" to choose degree mode, and then press "Exit" to complete your selection. Other graphing calculators may have slight differences; for example, you might have to choose an icon like "Run-Mat" from the menu before finding the angle-mode menu.
Online and Software Scientific Calculators
If you don't have a physical scientific calculator and are using an online full-screen scientific calculator or the Windows calculator, changing to degrees requires a different – but still simple – process. These calculators tend to have a "Deg," "Rad" or "Grad" sign above the main keypad. Click on this symbol until "Deg" is displayed to put the calculator in degree mode.