How to calculate the volume of a shape

Updated February 21, 2017

Many people finish their schooling and go on to work in jobs that never require the use of a single math formula. However, there remain some everyday tasks that still require object volume calculations, such as calculating the size of a flower bed or how much concrete will be required to fill in a hole; or how much load space the interior of a truck will carry. The volume of a shape can be worked out using a simple formula.

Measure the height, width and depth of the shape with a ruler or tape measure for larger areas.

Write the measurements down on a piece of paper.

Multiply the length x width x height. Use the calculator to work out the measurements. The total is the volume of the shape.

Measure the round dimension and also height of the shape. The round part is measured by the diameter, which is the measurement from edge to edge through the centre point. Divide the diameter by two to calculate the radius. You will need to know the radius to calculate the volume.

Multiply 3.14 x radius squared x height. The square of a number is that number multiplied by itself. Use the calculator to work out the measurements.

Write down the working out on a piece of paper. The sum total is the volume of the shape.


The volume will provide how much space your shape will hold. The formula for cylindrical objects is written as Pi r^2 x h. Pi is equal to 3.14159265.


Always double check measurements and calculations.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Pencil
  • Piece of paper
  • Calculator
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Chris Simon began writing articles and fiction in 1988. His work has appeared in Science Fiction and Fantasy World Horror Writers U.K and "Flashlight."