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When I think about what type of software to review, I generally think in terms of things that I think academics may find particularly useful. While these aren’t the only applications I review, I can usually find a use case that makes the application at least tangentially useful for them.

Soulver is an Mac application that may not have specific academic uses (though it will definitely be useful for helping my daughter with her math problems). Soulver allows you to use both numbers and words to solve math problems. For example, “30% of 100 plus 27” can be entered into Soulver just as I have written it. Additionally, Soulver is adept at handling word operators, functions, variables, units, programming conversions, and more.


In addition to basic computations, Soulver also allows you add comments and perform some very basic spreadsheet-like operations. The ability to create a mini-spreadsheet is the one feature I have found most useful. While I love Numbers (if anyone can truly love a spreadsheet program) it is often overkill when I simply want to keep track of basic finances.For example, you can tell Soulver to reference the answer from a previous line. Should the value found in that line change, the change will carry through to every reference and evaluation based on that line. This is nice when you want to run a number of budget scenarios by changing a few numbers.


While Soulver may not be an application that directly works in my academic workflow, it definitely helps keep some of my non-academic work better organized. I can see Soulver’s usefulness in preparing a departmental purchase request, or helping explain to students how to calculate their grade. But even if these uses are few and far between, at less than $10 with the academic discount it is well worth the price.

[Soulver by Acqualia software $11.95. An 20% education discount is available with an .edu address. The coupon code is “EduDiscount”]


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