Struggling to square sums swiftly? When you need to square, cube or take a number to another exponential degree, a Mac is all you need. Find out here **how to square a number on a Mac** using macOS.

## First, a Kilogram Off Course (Some 1½ Kilomiles)

You can’t adopt a metric system without a meter, of course—or a kilo… gram.

So goes one of the histories told around the United States’ unfortunate adoption of France’s metric system: When Thomas Jefferson requested a copy of the standard kilogram, the ship together with its cargo was blown off course right into Caribbean pirates’ arms.

While the standardizing measure eventually made it to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, it has not been adopted for measuring yet (and superseded by a new definition of the kilogram).

Now, whether you want to square a foot, a meter or a kilogram, you can do that with a Mac in France, the U.S., and anywhere in and around the Caribbean:

## How to Square a Number Quickly on a Mac

### Using Spotlight (Fastest and Most Simple)

Time needed: 1 minute

To compute the square of a number quickly using Spotlight on a Mac:

**Bring up Spotlight Search.****Here’s how**: Press`Command``Space`by default.**Type the number you want to square.****Now follow up with**`^2`

.**Here’s how**: Press`Shift``6`to enter*^*, then press`2`.**Dead key circumflex**: With some keyboard layouts,`^`is a dead key for adding the circumflex accent to letters like e, for instance; you need not follow up with Space to turn it into a character of its own before typing`2`.**Squared alternative**In lieu of ^2, you can also enter ² (squared) directly.**Other exponents**: See below for cubing numbers, taking square roots, and more—all with raising numbers.**Copy**: To copy the result (no matter what is highlight in Spotlight search), press`Command``C`or click the copying button in the result.

### Square Numbers in Safari (Even Offline)

To have Safari compute the square of a number (or raise it to another degree) without opening a website:

- Focus the address bar.
**Safari keyboard shortcut**: Press Command L to switch to the address bar quickly. - Type the mathematical expression using ^ (as with Spotlight; see above).
**Example**: Type`3 ^ 2`

to raise 3 to the second power. - Find the result under
*Calculation*in address bar auto-completions.

### Using Calculator (Skeuomorphic)

To get the square for a number quickly in macOS Calculator:

- Open Calculator.
**Here’s how**: You can employ Spotlight, for instance, to open Calculator (instead of letting it compute the square sum directly). - Switch to
*Scientific*mode.**Here’s how**: Select*View | Scientific*from the menu.**Calculator keyboard shortcut**: You can also press`Command``2`to engage the scientific calculator. - Type the number you want to square.
- Now click
*x²*.**With the keyboard**: You can also type`^`

here followed by`2`

(or a different exponent, of course).**Circumflex**: Note that the keyboard entry only works with the stand-alone caret character ^, not the character-modifying circumflex accent.

### Using Siri on a Mac to Square a Number

To have Siri respond with the square for a number:

- Bring up Siri.
- Ask, for instance, “What is <number> squared?”

### Square a Number in Terminal (Command Line Versatility)

To calculate the square for any number from the Terminal command line:

- Open Terminal on the Mac.
- Type
`bc -e "<number> ^ 2"`

.**Important**: The exponent must be an integer in bc.**Shorter**: A shorter form is`bc -e <number>^ 2`

; note that, without quotation marks, you have to escape whitespace (as in`bc -e <number>\ ^\ 2`

.**Echoing**: If you do not want to rely on the -e option, you can also pipe the command to bc:`echo "<number> ^ 2" | bc`

.**Example**: Use`bc -e 3^2`

to square the number 3 quickly. - Press
`Enter`.

## How to Square a Number Quickly on a Mac: FAQ

### Can I cube number or use a different exponent?

Yes.

Both Spotlight and Calculator let you take numbers to an exponent other than 2 easily, of course.

Instead of using 2 for the exponent following ^, you can use the following, for instance:

`3`

: cube a number`(1/2)`

(or`(½)`

): compute the square root (√)`e`

,`pi`

etc.: use mathematical constants as exponents`-1`

: compute 1 divided by the number

*(How to square a number quickly on a Mac tested with macOS Sonoma 14.3; first published April 2024)*