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What Does AC Mean On A CalculatorMost calculators have several keys with functions that clear different things, so users are often unsure which key does what. Let's try to clear up the confusion.

AC stands for All Clear and, as the name suggests, it clears everything - display (screen), entry registers and memory. You can consider this a full reset of the calculator where all values are set to zero.

C stands for Clear and clears the display and entry registers but won't clear any data in memory. For example, lets say you calculate "3 x 15". You'll see the result of "45" on the display. If your calculator has a memory function, you can store this value "45" in memory. If you then press the C key, you'll clear the display to zero but leave 45 in the memory. You can still recall it to use in another calculation.

MC stands for Memory Clear and clears the memory but not the display. Using the previous example, if you have the value of "45" in both display and memory, pressing the MC key will leave it on the display but clear the memory to zero.

CE stands for Clear Entry and clears the last entry. For example, let's say you want to calculate "3 x 15" but type "16" as the second value instead of "15". You can press CE to clear the second value of "16" then enter "15" instead. The first value of "3" remains in the entry register, so when you press the = key, you'll get the correct result of "45".

What Does AC Mean On A CalculatorJust to make things more complicated, there is often a Backspace or Del key which clears the last character only, not the full entry. For example, if you type "16" but meant to type "15", you can press Backspace to erase the "6" then enter a "5".

Remember, not every calculator has every key. Also, some calculators use different keys for the same function or combine keys. For example, it is quite common to see the C and CE keys combined into one C/CE key. The first press clears the last entry and the second press clears all.

Want more information about calculator keys? Check out our guide to calculator keys and functions.

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