tapecalc: Without the expensive paper roll

I usually use sc for tallying my home finances, but now I’m wondering if that’s the best option. Here’s tapecalc.


Ideally, tapecalc works like a traditional paper-tape calculator, like you used in your business classes in secondary school, years ago. Even the display seems to mimic the paper roll effect.

For every function there’s a value, and the line can be switched to show the operation. The topmost line shows a balance, and you can tack on comments to remind yourself when you last paid for your vuvuzela lessons. 😯

In another manner though, tapecalc works almost exactly like a check register or a simple bookkeeping ledger, meaning this might be preferable to a spreadsheet for home accounting or simple accounts and payments. Since you have a clean view of what your balance is at any given moment, you’re unlikely to run afoul of your bank manager over things like misplaced decimal points. 🙄

tapecalc can save “tapes” as plain text files, and read them back as source files or as annexations. You can save out your “tape,” add on regular “tapes,” and generally edit or juggle to your heart’s desire. And tapecalc is not limited to adding and subtracting; there are provisions for multiplying and dividing, as well as more complicated mathematical adventures.

I like tapecalc — a lot. I expect this will take over from sc … as soon as I get tapecalc to run in Arch. I only found tapecalc in Debian, although I don’t believe it will take much to build it elsewhere.

For all the points listed earlier this week, and for a unique take on the traditional console calculator, I’m willing to pass out a third gold star this week: ⭐ Three in a week! Another precedent broken! :mrgreen:

One final point for thought: The source file and home page call this “add,” but it appears in Debian as “tapecalc.” As best I can tell from my unskilled perusal, the Debian patch just converts the name to tapecalc. On the home page the author explains why. *BSD users may have access to this as “add.”

6 thoughts on “tapecalc: Without the expensive paper roll

  1. Jon

    Running Arch. Extracted from source file after download. Compiled just fine using gcc. Run “add” in terminal to start. Recommend reading help file from website for usage tips. Ty for this. Been looking for a while now.

  2. pscha

    It is quite easy to install it on an arch system. I just had to download it, untar,

    ./configure; make; sudo make install

    Afterward just crate a symlink with

    sudo ln -s /usr/local/bin/add /usr/bin/tapecalc

    and it is available as tapecalc 🙂


    1. Lex

      Whoops. it seems the link got removed. Another try
      without the http: gist.github.com/Narrat/709635c336f3d063635a#file-pkgbuild

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