How to make a calculator application without coding?

What is a calculator app? Naturally, we aren’t talking about an application that looks like a handheld calculator, but instead calculator apps that performs a specific set of calculations based on given user input in order to produce the results in a meaningful format. Consider a mortgage calculator, where the user enters inputs, such as home price, down payment, loan duration, and interest rate, and the application returns the calculated monthly payment amount.

Every business needs calculators.  Some of them are used internally for purposes of financial analysis and forecasting, valuation, cost analysis, manufacturing, and engineering. Others are needed externally to share with customers, partners, and prospects for the purposes of pricing and quoting, return on investment, product comparison and selection.

Most businesses simply write their calculations in Excel spreadsheets since this method tends to be the most cost effective and simple. This strategy works very well if there are only a few users, but as the user base grows and the Excel spreadsheets begin to bloat with more data, formulas, and external connections, they simply grow beyond the capabilities of Excel.

What do you do when your calculators exceed the capabilities of Excel?

In most cases, the calculator will eventually exceed the limitations or capabilities of Excel. At this point, most businesses will go to their IT or to an outside consulting firm to produce a similar native application.

While this is a viable approach, it may be extremely costly and time consuming to rewrite a complex Excel model in a traditional programming language. Even if these businesses can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, it can still take many months to code those applications.

Once the application is successfully built and released, every time a formulas update is required, it needs to be coded into the application. Even the simplest formula changes can take weeks or months to find their way into the final deployment – something that previously only required a few minutes in Excel.

Building calculator applications in No-Code.

No-Code development platforms have come a long way over the past decade. They are capable of building various types of business applications – but can they handle complex business calculations?

There are many No-Code platforms with built-in calculation support. You can use various operations like adding, subtracting, and certain built-in functions to implement your calculation logic.

Naturally, this means rewriting your formulas in another platform using a different scripting language. If you have simple formulas and very few of them, this process may not require much time; however, as the formulas get more complicated, this can quickly extend into a very time consuming and error-prone process, since you will have to retest the new tool under many scenarios to make certain that the results match your Excel file.

If your Excel file contains lots of dependent formulas or uses advanced functions like VLOOKUP, SUMIFS, INDEX, and MATCH, the process of rewriting these formulas with the built-in formula builders becomes impractical. Check out the video below, showing the dependency structure of a conventional business calculator. It demonstrates how the formulas in a single cell can depend on other formula blocks to produce the final results. Imagine the amount of effort to rewrite this algorithm in a different platform.

The most feasible solution is to re-use your existing Excel file and the corresponding formulas in a No-Code platform. This approach helps businesses create calculator apps from existing Excel spreadsheets quickly, effectively, and – most importantly – without any coding. It also allows businesses to update their formulas in the familiar Excel environment and update the application any time - also without any coding.

The video below shows how users can enter inputs and view the calculated results in Excel. It also shows how a No-Code application built from this Excel file can calculate the same results.

Building calculator apps is not easy. While No-Code platforms offer businesses a great alternative over traditional coding, developing these calculator applications requires specific platform capabilities. Selecting the right No-Code platform can help save businesses a great deal of time and money.