I know Mathcad handles units along with numbers which makes it easier to avoid errors by tracking units the way we would by hand.

e.g. 250 kW + 500 W 

I just wanted to compare tools before I switch to Mathcad. Are there any other tools people are aware of which will handle units as well?

I am especially interested in free / open source alternative that could do this unit-tracking either natively or with a Plugin.

e.g. Python or Jupyter notebooks etc.

If I must go with a paid version then Mathcad (or Mathcad Express, its free cousin) works as well unless there's a paid competitor that had more features or ease of use.

  • $\begingroup$ WolframAlpha and by extension it’s bigger brother Mathematica (now called Wolfram One I think?) can do this $\endgroup$ Jul 5 '20 at 5:50
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    $\begingroup$ Dimensional analysis and checking units on both sides of the “=“ is an important skill to have. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 5 '20 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ @SolarMike Indeed! I always do this by hand so far but moving to a software like MathCad which can handle this natively seems an improvement from just using Excel and then validating the units by hand. Also in Excel the formula itself remains a bit opaque. $\endgroup$ Jul 5 '20 at 6:49
  • $\begingroup$ I find using my HP 48 calculator best - enter the formula exactly as written and solve for any of the parts without manipulating the formula... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 5 '20 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know what you are after next to the units support, but if just need numerical calculations, basic graphing and units this speqmath.com is simple, light and great. $\endgroup$
    – carloc
    Jul 5 '20 at 7:56

If you're interested in using Python, check out the pint, astropy.units or unyt packages. I have personally used pint + jupyter for day-to-day engineering in the past, and have looked at the others and they all should be suitable.


Another great free tool that work very well and its a clone of MathCad (so you won't have to relearn something) is SMath Studio

As I've mentioned up until now its free (although I think its closed source).

If you were using Mathcad before and you liked it, I guarantee that you will love this.

For me, although I work day to day with Python, this is the go to place for me when I want to make a quick calculation and I'm worried about units consistency.


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