How to Write a Ratio in Its Simplest Form With a Calculator

Written by tasos vossos
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How to Write a Ratio in Its Simplest Form With a Calculator
A calculator will come in handy during difficult divisions. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Ratios that you encounter every day in media reports, demographic statistics and on maps are quite simple; for example, a map's aspect ratio is 1:25,000, while the number of men compared to women in a town is 1:2. However, simplified ratios are not easy to come by. Researchers have to accumulate the sum of the two numbers they want to compare and can wind up with an awkward ratio -- say, 2450:7880 -- that requires some dividing down. It can be a difficult task, but with a calculator you can accurately simplify ratios yourself.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Determine the greatest common factor between the two numbers of the ratio. This is the largest number that can divide into both numbers without leaving a remainder. For example, in a 16:20 ratio, the largest common factor is 4.

  2. 2

    Do the division on your calculator, using each of the ratio's numbers as the numerator and the greatest common factor as the divisor. On the 16:20 example, this will be (16/4):(24/4).

  3. 3

    Replace the previously large numbers with their simpler counterparts. The 16:20 has become 4:5 after both numbers' division by 4.

  4. 4

    Repeat the process if the numbers of the simpler form can be divided with a common factor again. A 16:24 ratio can become 4:6, which can become (4/2):(6/2) = 2:3. However, there is an alternate way of simplifying ratios when division between the initial large numbers can give us an integer.

  5. 5

    Divide the ratio by using one number as the numerator and the other as the divisor. For instance, on the 23:92, divide 92 by 23 = 4. Whenever the quotient is an integer, then the ratio will be simplified by replacing the old numbers with 1 and the integer, or 1:4.

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