Result:

Simple conversion:

`You have: mile`

You want: km

Result: 1.609344

Conversion of absolute temperatures:

`You have: tempF(45)`

You want: tempC

Result: 7.2222222

Converting from a sum of units:

`You have: 17 yards + 2 feet`

You want: meter

Result: 16.1544

Converting to a sum of units such as hours plus minutes or feet plus inches:

`You have: 7 meters`

You want: ft;in

Result: 22 ft + 11.590551 in

Converting a sixth of a (US) cup to common US measures:

`You have: 1|6 cup`

You want: usvol

Result: 2 tbsp + 2 tsp

Converting decimal value time:

`You have: 3.277 hr`

You want: time

Result: 3 hr + 16 min + 37.2 sec

Complex expressions:

`You have: (8/pi^2)(lbm/ft^3)ft(ft^3/s)^2(1/in^5)`

You want: psi

Result: 43.533969

The program converts quantities expressed in various systems of measurement to their equivalents in other systems of measurement. Like many similar programs, it can handle multiplicative scale changes. It can also handle nonlinear conversions such as Fahrenheit to Celsius. The program can also perform conversions from and to sums of units, such as converting between meters and feet plus inches.

Basic operation is simple: you enter the units that you want to convert from and the units that you want to convert to.

Beyond simple unit conversions, units can be used as a general-purpose scientific calculator that keeps track of units in its calculations. You can form arbitrary complex mathematical expressions of dimensions including sums, products, quotients, powers, and even roots of dimensions. Thus you can ensure accuracy and dimensional consistency when working with long expressions that involve many different units that may combine in complex ways.

At the ‘You have:’ prompt, type the quantity and units that you are converting from. For example, if you want to convert ten meters to feet, type 10 meters. Next, enter the ‘You want:’ value. You should type the units you want to convert to. To convert to feet, you would type feet.

If you only want to find the reduced form or definition of a unit, simply leave the ‘You want:’ field empty. Here is an example:

`You have: jansky`

You want:

Result: fluxunit = 1e-26 W/m^2 Hz = 1e-26 kg / s^2

The output indicates that the jansky is defined to be equal to a fluxunit which in turn is defined to be a certain combination of watts, meters, and hertz. The fully reduced (and in this case somewhat more cryptic) form appears on the far right.

You can enter more complicated units by combining units with operations such as multiplication, division, powers, addition, subtraction, and parentheses for grouping. Additionally, units supports some extensions, including high priority multiplication using a space, and a high priority numerical division operator (‘|’) that can simplify some expressions.

You multiply units using a space or an asterisk (‘*’). The next example shows both forms:

`You have: arabicfoot * arabictradepound * force`

You want: ft lbf

Result: 0.7296

You can divide units using the slash (‘/’) or with ‘per’:

`You have: furlongs per fortnight`

You want: m/s

Result: 0.00016630986

You can use parentheses for grouping:

`You have: (1/2) kg / (kg/meter)`

You want: league

Result: 0.00010356166

White space surrounding operators is optional, so the previous example could have used ‘(1/2)kg/(kg/meter)’. As a consequence, however, hyphenated spelled-out numbers (e.g., ‘forty-two’) cannot be used; ‘forty-two’ is interpreted as ‘40 - 2’.

Multiplication using a space has a higher precedence than division using a slash and is evaluated left to right; in effect, the first ‘/’ character marks the beginning of the denominator of a unit expression. This makes it simple to enter a quotient with several terms in the denominator: ‘J / mol K’. The ‘*’ and ‘/’ operators have the same precedence, and are evaluated left to right; if you multiply with ‘*’, you must group the terms in the denominator with parentheses: ‘J / (mol * K)’.

The higher precedence of the space operator may not always be advantageous. For example, ‘m/s s/day’ is equivalent to ‘m / s s day’ and has dimensions of length per time cubed. Similarly, ‘1/2 meter’ refers to a unit of reciprocal length equivalent to 0.5/meter, perhaps not what you would intend if you entered that expression. The get a half meter you would need to use parentheses: ‘(1/2) meter’. The ‘*’ operator is convenient for multiplying a sequence of quotients. For example, ‘m/s * s/day’ is equivalent to ‘m/day’. Similarly, you could write ‘1/2 * meter’ to get half a meter.

The units program supports another option for numerical fractions: you can indicate division of numbers with the vertical bar (‘|’), so if you wanted half a meter you could write ‘1|2 meter’. You cannot use the vertical bar to indicate division of non-numerical units (e.g., ‘m|s’ results in an error message).

Powers of units can be specified using the ‘^’ character, as shown in the following example, or by simple concatenation of a unit and its exponent: ‘cm3’ is equivalent to ‘cm^3’; if the exponent is more than one digit, the ‘^’ is required. You can also use ‘**’ as an exponent operator.

`You have: cm^3`

You want: gallons

Result: 0.00026417205

Concatenation only works with a single unit name: if you write ‘(m/s)2’, units will treat it as multiplication by 2. When a unit includes a prefix, exponent operators apply to the combination, so ‘centimeter3’ gives cubic centimeters. If you separate the prefix from the unit with any multiplication operator (e.g., ‘centi meter^3’), the prefix is treated as a separate unit, so the exponent applies only to the unit without the prefix. The second example is equivalent to ‘centi * (meter^3)’, and gives a hundredth of a cubic meter, not a cubic centimeter. The units program is limited internally to products of 99 units; accordingly, expressions like ‘meter^100’ or ‘joule^34’ (represented internally as ‘kg^34 m^68 / s^68’) will fail.

The ‘|’ operator has the highest precedence, so you can write the square root of two thirds as ‘2|3^1|2’. The ‘^’ operator has the second highest precedence, and is evaluated right to left, as usual:

`You have: 5 * 2^3^2`

You want:

Result: 2560

With a dimensionless base unit, any dimensionless exponent is meaningful (e.g., ‘pi^exp(2.371)’). Even though angle is sometimes treated as dimensionless, exponents cannot have dimensions of angle:

`You have: 5 * 2^3^2`

You want:

Result: Error in '2^radian': Exponent not dimensionless

If the base unit is not dimensionless, the exponent must be a rational number p/q, and the dimension of the unit must be a power of q, so ‘gallon^2|3’ works but ‘acre^2|3’ fails. An exponent using the slash (‘/’) operator (e.g., ‘gallon^(2/3)’) is also acceptable; the parentheses are needed because the precedence of ‘^’ is higher than that of ‘/’. Since units cannot represent dimensions with exponents greater than 99, a fully reduced exponent must have q < 100. When raising a non-dimensionless unit to a power, units attempts to convert a decimal exponent to a rational number with q < 100. If this is not possible units displays an error message:

`You have: ft^1.234`

You want:

Result: Error in 'ft^1.234': Base unit not dimensionless; rational exponent required

A decimal exponent must match its rational representation to machine precision, so ‘acre^1.5’ works but ‘gallon^0.666’ does not.

You may sometimes want to add values of different units that are outside the SI. You may also wish to use units as a calculator that keeps track of units. Sums of conformable units are written with the ‘+’ character, and differences with the ‘-’ character.

`You have: 2 hours + 23 minutes + 32 seconds`

You want: seconds

Result: 8612

`You have: 12 ft + 3 in`

You want: cm

Result: 373.38

`You have: 2 btu + 450 ft lbf`

You want: btu

Result: 2.5782804

The expressions that are added or subtracted must reduce to identical expressions in primitive units, or an error message will be displayed:

`You have: 12 printerspoint - 4 heredium`

You want:

Result: Error in '12 printerspoint - 4 heredium': Invalid sum or difference of non-conformable units

As usual, the precedence for ‘+’ and ‘-’ is lower than that of the other operators. A fractional quantity such as 2 1/2 cups can be given as ‘(2+1|2) cups’; the parentheses are necessary because multiplication has higher precedence than addition. If you omit the parentheses, units attempts to add ‘2’ and ‘1|2 cups’, and you get an error message:

`You have: 2+1|2 cups`

You want:

Result: Error in '2+1|2 cups': Invalid sum or difference of non-conformable units

The expression could also be correctly written as ‘(2+1/2) cups’. If you write ‘2 1|2 cups’ the space is interpreted as multiplication so the result is the same as ‘1 cup’.

The ‘+’ and ‘-’ characters sometimes appears in exponents like ‘3.43e+8’. This leads to an ambiguity in an expression like ‘3e+2 yC’. The unit ‘e’ is a small unit of charge, so this can be regarded as equivalent to ‘(3e+2) yC’ or ‘(3 e)+(2 yC)’. This ambiguity is resolved by always interpreting ‘+’ and ‘-’ as part of an exponent if possible.

For units, numbers are just another kind of unit. They can appear as many times as you like and in any order in a unit expression. For example, to find the volume of a box that is 2 ft by 3 ft by 12 ft in steres, you could do the following:

`You have: 2 ft 3 ft 12 ft`

You want: stere

Result: 2.038813

`You have: $ 5 / yard`

You want: cents / inch

Result: 13.888889

And the second example shows how the dollar sign in the units conversion can precede the five. Be careful: units will interpret ‘$5’ with no space as equivalent to ‘dollar^5’.

Several built-in functions are provided: ‘sin’, ‘cos’, ‘tan’, ‘ln’, ‘log’, ‘exp’, ‘acos’, ‘atan’, ‘asin’, ‘cosh’, ‘sinh’, ‘tanh’, ‘acosh’, ‘asinh’, and ‘atanh’. The ‘sin’, ‘cos’, and ‘tan’ functions require either a dimensionless argument or an argument with dimensions of angle.

`You have: sin(30 degrees)`

You want:

Result: 0.5

`You have: sin(pi/2)`

You want:

Result: 1

The other functions on the list require dimensionless arguments. The inverse trigonometric functions return arguments with dimensions of angle.

The ‘ln’ and ‘log’ functions give natural log and log base 10 respectively. To obtain logs for any integer base, enter the desired base immediately after ‘log’. For example, to get log base 2 you would write ‘log2’ and to get log base 47 you could write ‘log47’.

`You have: log2(32)`

You want:

Result: 5

`You have: log3(32)`

You want:

Result: 3.1546488

`You have: log4(32)`

You want:

Result: 2.5

If you wish to take roots of units, you may use the ‘sqrt’ or ‘cuberoot’ functions. These functions require that the argument have the appropriate root. You can obtain higher roots by using fractional exponents:

`You have: sqrt(acre)`

You want: feet

Result: 208.71074

You can insert the result of the previous conversion using the underscore (‘_’). It is useful when you want to convert the same input to several different units, for example:

`You have: 2.3 tonrefrigeration`

You want: btu/hr

Result: 27600

`You have: _`

You want: kW

Result: 8.0887615

Suppose you want to do some deep frying that requires an oil depth of 2 inches. You have 1/2 gallon of oil, and want to know the largest-diameter pan that will maintain the required depth. The nonlinear unit ‘circlearea’ gives the radius of the circle in SI units; you want the diameter in inches:

`You have: 1|2 gallon / 2 in`

You want: circlearea

Result: 0.10890173 m

`You have: 2 _`

You want: in

Result: 8.5749393

In most cases, surrounding white space is optional, so the previous example could have used ‘2_’. If ‘_’ follows a non-numerical unit symbol, however, the space is required:

`You have: m_`

You want:

Result: Error in 'm_': Parse error

When ‘_’ is followed by a digit, the operation is multiplication rather than exponentiation, so that ‘_2’, is equivalent to ‘_ * 2’ rather than ‘_^2’.

You can use the ‘_’ symbol any number of times; for example:

`You have: m`

You want:

Result: 1 m

`You have: _ _`

You want:

Result: 1 m^2

Using ‘_’ before a conversion has been performed (e.g., immediately after invocation) generates an error:

`You have: _`

You want:

Result: Error in '_': No previous result; '_' not set

The units program is especially helpful in ensuring accuracy and dimensional consistency when converting lengthy unit expressions. For example, one form of the Darcy–Weisbach fluid-flow equation is:

`ΔP=(8/π^2)ρfL(Q^2/d^5)`

where ΔP is the pressure drop, ρ is the mass density, f is the (dimensionless) friction factor, L is the length of the pipe, Q is the volumetric flow rate, and d is the pipe diameter. It might be desired to have the equation in the form:

`ΔP=A`_{1}ρfL(Q^2/d^5)

that accepted the user’s normal units; for typical units used in the US, the required conversion could be something like:

`You have: (8/pi^2)(lbm/ft^3)ft(ft^3/s)^2(1/in^5)`

You want: psi

Result: 43.533969

The parentheses allow individual terms in the expression to be entered naturally, as they might be read from the formula. Alternatively, the multiplication could be done with the ‘*’ rather than a space; then parentheses are needed only around ‘ft^3/s’ because of its exponent:

`You have: 8/pi^2 * lbm/ft^3 * ft * (ft^3/s)^2 /in^5`

You want: psi

Result: 43.533969

Without parentheses, and using spaces for multiplication, the previous conversion would need to be entered as:

`You have: 8 lb ft ft^3 ft^3 / pi^2 ft^3 s^2 in^5`

You want: psi

Result: 43.533969

Conversions between temperatures are different from linear conversions between temperature increments—see the example below. The absolute temperature conversions are handled by units starting with ‘temp’, and you must use functional notation. The temperature-increment conversions are done using units starting with ‘deg’ and they do not require functional notation.

`You have: tempF(45)`

You want: tempC

Result: 7.2222222

`You have: 45 degF`

You want: degC

Result: 25

Think of ‘tempF(x)’ not as a function but as a notation that indicates that x should have units of ‘tempF’ attached to it. The first conversion shows that if it’s 45 degrees Fahrenheit outside, it’s 7.2 degrees Celsius. The second conversion indicates that a change of 45 degrees Fahrenheit corresponds to a change of 25 degrees Celsius. The conversion from ‘tempF(x)’ is to absolute temperature, so that:

`You have: tempF(45)`

You want: degR

Result: 504.67

gives the same result as:

`You have: tempF(45)`

You want: tempR

Result: 504.67

But if you convert ‘tempF(x)’ to ‘degC’, the output is probably not what you expect:

`You have: tempF(45)`

You want: degC

Result: 280.37222

The result is the temperature in K, because ‘degC’ is defined as ‘K’, the Kelvin. For consistent results, use the ‘tempX’ units when converting to a temperature rather than converting a temperature increment.

The ‘tempC()’ and ‘tempF()’ definitions are limited to positive absolute temperatures, and giving a value that would result in a negative absolute temperature generates an error message:

`You have: tempC(-275)`

You want:

Result: Error in 'tempC(-275)': Argument of function outside domain

Some other examples of nonlinear units are numerous different ring sizes and wire gauges, the grit sizes used for abrasives, the decibel scale, shoe size, scales for the density of sugar (e.g., baume). Wire gauges with multiple zeroes are signified using negative numbers where two zeroes is ‘-1’. Alternatively, you can use the synonyms ‘g00’, ‘g000’, and so on.

`You have: wiregauge(11)`

You want: inches

Result: 0.090742002

`You have: brwiregauge(g00)`

You want: inches

Result: 0.348

`You have: 1 mm`

You want: wiregauge

Result: 18.201919

`You have: grit_P(600)`

You want: grit_ansicoated

Result: 342.76923

The last example shows the conversion from P graded sand paper, which is the European standard and may be marked “P600” on the back, to the USA standard.

You can compute the area of a circle using the nonlinear unit, ‘circlearea’. You can also do this using the circularinch or circleinch. The next example shows two ways to compute the area of a circle with a five inch radius and one way to compute the volume of a sphere with a radius of one meter.

`You have: circlearea(5 in)`

You want: in2

Result: 78.539816

`You have: 10^2 circleinch`

You want: in2

Result: 78.539816

`You have: spherevol(meter)`

You want: ft3

Result: 147.92573

The inverse of a nonlinear conversion is indicated by prefixing a tilde (‘~’) to the nonlinear unit name:

`You have: ~wiregauge(0.090742002 inches)`

You want:

Result: 11

Outside of the SI, it is sometimes desirable to convert a single unit to a sum of units—for example, feet to feet plus inches. The conversion from sums of units was described in Sums and Differences of Units, and is a simple matter of adding the units with the ‘+’ sign:

`You have: 12 ft + 3 in + 3|8 in`

You want: ft

Result: 12.28125

Although you can similarly write a sum of units to convert to, the result will not be the conversion to the units in the sum, but rather the conversion to the particular sum that you have entered:

`You have: 12.28125 ft`

You want: ft + in + 1|8 in

Result: 11.228571

The unit expression given at the ‘You want:’ prompt is equivalent to asking for conversion to multiples of ‘1 ft + 1 in + 1|8 in’, which is 1.09375 ft, so the conversion in the previous example is equivalent to:

`You have: 12.28125 ft`

You want: 1.09375 ft

Result: 11.228571

In converting to a sum of units like miles, feet and inches, you typically want the largest integral value for the first unit, followed by the largest integral value for the next, and the remainder converted to the last unit. You can do this conversion easily with units using a special syntax for lists of units. You must list the desired units in order from largest to smallest, separated by the semicolon (‘;’) character:

`You have: 12.28125 ft`

You want: ft;in;1|8 in

Result: 12 ft + 3 in + 3|8 in

The conversion always gives integer coefficients on the units in the list, except possibly the last unit when the conversion is not exact:

`You have: 12.28126 ft`

You want: ft;in;1|8 in

Result: 12 ft + 3 in + 3.00096 * 1|8 in

The order in which you list the units is important:

`You have: 3 kg`

You want: oz;lb

Result: 105 oz + 0.051367866 lb

`You have: 3 kg`

You want: lb;oz

Result: 6 lb + 9.8218858 oz

Listing ounces before pounds produces a technically correct result, but not a very useful one. You must list the units in descending order of size in order to get the most useful result.

Ending a unit list with the separator ‘;’ has the same effect as repeating the last unit on the list, so ‘ft;in;1|8 in;’ is equivalent to ‘ft;in;1|8 in;1|8 in’. With the example above, this gives:

`You have: 12.28126 ft`

You want: ft;in;1|8 in;

Result: 12 ft + 3 in + 3|8 in + 0.00096 * 1|8 in

in effect separating the integer and fractional parts of the coefficient for the last unit. If you instead prefer to round the last coefficient to an integer you can do this with the --round (-r) option. With the previous example, the result is:

`You have: 12.28126 ft`

You want: ft;in;1|8 in

Result: 12 ft + 3 in + 3|8 in (rounded down to nearest 1|8 in)

Each unit that appears in the list must be conformable with the first unit on the list, and of course the listed units must also be conformable with the unit that you enter at the ‘You have:’ prompt.

In North America, recipes for cooking typically measure ingredients by volume, and use units that are not always convenient multiples of each other. Suppose that you have a recipe for 6 and you wish to make a portion for 1. If the recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of an ingredient, you might wish to know the measurements in terms of measuring devices you have available, you could use units and enter:

`You have: (2+1|2) cup / 6`

You want: cup;1|2 cup;1|3 cup;1|4 cup;tbsp;tsp;1|2 tsp;1|4 tsp

Result: 1|3 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp

By default, if a unit in a list begins with fraction of the form 1|x and its multiplier is an integer, the fraction is given as the product of the multiplier and the numerator; for example:

`You have: 12.28125 ft`

You want: ft;in;1|8 in;

Result: 12 ft + 3 in + 3|8 in

The units program provides shorthand names for some common combinations:

`hms = hours, minutes, seconds`

`dms = angle: degrees, minutes, seconds`

`time = years, days, hours, minutes and seconds`

`usvol = US cooking volume: cups and smaller`

Using these shorthands, or unit list aliases, you can do the following conversions:

`You have: anomalisticyear`

You want: time

Result: 1 year + 25 min + 3.4653216 sec

You cannot combine a unit list alias with other units: it must appear alone at the ‘You want:’ prompt.

You can display the definition of a unit list alias by entering it at the ‘You have:’ prompt.

We do not collect any data.

We do not use any tracking or profiling tools and platforms.

We do not use any third-party services.

This app does not collect any information, does not use cookies and does not make any network requests to the Internet.

For more informaction and to check what's under the hood see the GitHub repo.

This app is based on GNU Units - a Unit Conversion Program and Scientific Calculator. The help section is almost fully copied from the original manual page. And it actually uses the original program for making all the calculations. To make this work, the original C code for the units command line utility was ported to WebAssembly (using the emscripten compiler and toolchain) and is used as a back-end for doing all the conversions and calculations.

The interface is built using Bootstrap 5 and SortableJS.

The the html, css and javascript code were converted to a native app format using Apache Cordova

Most units data was drawn from:

- NIST Special Publication 811, Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI). Barry N. Taylor. 2008 https://www.nist.gov/pml/special-publication-811
- CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 70th edition
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary
- Units of Measure by Stephen Dresner
- A Dictionary of English Weights and Measures by Ronald Zupko
- British Weights and Measures by Ronald Zupko
- Realm of Measure by Isaac Asimov
- United States standards of weights and measures, their creation and creators by Arthur H. Frazier.
- French weights and measures before the Revolution: a dictionary of provincial and local units by Ronald Zupko
- Weights and Measures: their ancient origins and their development in Great Britain up to AD 1855 by FG Skinner
- The World of Measurements by H. Arthur Klein
- For Good Measure by William Johnstone
- NTC's Encyclopedia of International Weights and Measures by William Johnstone
- Sizes by John Lord
- Sizesaurus by Stephen Strauss
- CODATA Recommended Values of Physical Constants available at http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Constants/index.html
- How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement. Available at http://www.ibiblio.org/units/
- Numericana. http://www.numericana.com
- UK history of measurement http://www.ukmetrication.com/history.htm
- NIST Handbook 44, Specifications, Tolerances, and Other Technical Requirements for Weighing and MeasuringDevices. 2011
- NIST Special Publication 447, Weights and Measures Standards of the the United States: a brief history. Lewis V. Judson. 1963; rev. 1976
- CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 96th edition
- Dictionary of Scientific Units, 6th ed. H.G. Jerrard and D.B. McNeill. 1992
- NIST Special Publication 330, The International System of Units (SI). ed. Barry N. Taylor and Ambler Thompson. 2008 https://www.nist.gov/pml/special-publication-330
- BIPM Brochure, The International System of Units (SI). 9th ed., 2019 https://www.bipm.org/en/publications/si-brochure/

*Currency exchange rates from FloatRates (USD base) on 2020-11-15.*

*3677 units, 109 prefixes, 114 nonlinear units.*

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