Library Object


Blockpad supports units, and assigning a unit to a number is as easy as typing the unit after it. Blockpad has a set list of built-in units, all of which are listed below.

Units basics

Assign units to a number

To assign a unit to a number, type the unit text after it. For example, 2.3 ft, 57 kg, or 391 kPa

The unit text must match the built-in unit stored in the Blockpad library, but Blockpad will often auto correct to what's intended. The dropdown selection will also help.

Composite units

Composite units can be formed using built-in units and regular operators (*, /, and ^). For example, 1 ft/s, 12 kg*m/s^2, or 350 lbf*ft.

Convert values

To convert a value to a different unit, the to key word is used. In a formula, type in "to desired unit" after the value you wish to convert. For example, 12 kg*m/s^2 to lbf, 20 F to C, or 25000 lbf to kN.

Cancel out units

If you need to strip units from a number for a calculation, it is best practice to divide that number by the units you want the number to represent.

For example, the effective seating width of a gasket is calculated with this equation 0.5*sqrt(b_0), where b_0 is in inches and the result is in inches as well. In Blockpad, the result of this formula as-is will have units of in^0.5.

To correct for this, the Blockpad formula should be 0.5*sqrt(b_0/(1 in))*(1 in). This way, any length unit can be used for b_0, and that unit will be converted to inches and cancelled. Then the result is multiplied by 1 inch so that the result is in inches.

More on using units

ft-in units

In Blockpad, some units take a multi-level form using multiple units that are successively smaller. Ft-in units are the primary example of this.

For example, 4 ft 5 in + 10 in, (4 ft 5 in)*(3 ft 8 in), and (12 ft 7.5 in)/3 are all legitimate formulas in Blockpad.

Time units are another example of this, including day-hr-min, hr-min, and min-sec, which are useful for date calculations.

To convert to this kind of unit, type the units with a space between them after the "to" keyword. For example, 10 m to ft in, 2.2 day to day hr min, or 2.7 hr to hr min.

Temperature difference units

Because conventional temperature scales have different starting points (0 C ≠ 0 F), converting between temperatures and converting between temperature differences require different approaches. So in Blockpad, differences in temperature have units of ΔF or ΔC.

Delta Temperature example

Because psia and psig have a similar problem (0 psia ≠ 0 psig), differences in psig are represented with Δpsig units. Note this only applies when psig is explicitly used. Regular psi is a unit and is the typical US customary unit for force/length^2.

Delta Psig example

Revolutions and radians

There is a challenge with converting rpm (revolutions per minute), because it can be considered a unit of frequency (like Hz) or of angular velocity (deg/min or rad/min). This is further complicated by radians, because numbers with radians as a unit can also be considered unitless.

Blockpad handles this problem using context dependent conversions. So converting from rpm, "1 rpm to rad/min" = 2*pi rad/min (angular velocity) and "1 rpm to min^-1" = 1 min^-1 (frequency).

rpm conversions

Converting from rad/min, "2*pi rad/min to rpm" = 1 rpm (angular velocity) and "2*pi rad/min to min^-1" = 2*pi min^-1 (frequency).

rad/min conversions

Note that this means the original value will be lost if converted between different interpretations. In the example below, x is in rpm; y equals x converted to rad/min; and z equals y converted to min^-1. x ≠ z, even though if you wrote out the equations they would be x = y = z.

rpm conversions between interpretations

Pounds - lb, lbf, and lbm

The simple pounds unit (lb) is flexible with conversions to mass or force units. 1 lb to kg gives 0.454 kg as the result, and 1 lb to N returns 4.448 N.

Pounds force (lbf) and pounds mass (lbm) are not flexible. Pounds force is only compatible with force units and pounds mass is only compatible with mass units. 1 lbf to kg will give an error.

$ and usd

Putting a $ sign in front of a number and putting "usd" behind a number do the same thing. So, $12/hr and 12 usd/hr

are equivalent.
The compatible function

The compatible function checks if two numbers have compatible units. In a sense, it checks if two numbers with units can be added together or if the units of one number could be converted to the units of the other. You can also think of it as checking if the fundamental dimensions are the same (length, mass/length^3, etc).

Compatible function

Priority units

You can set priority units for equations and cells so that calculations auto-convert to those units if they are compatible.

Set priority units for an equation:
  1. Select the equation.
  2. Select Value Format in the toolbar.
  3. Under Priority Units click Add.
  4. Specify the desired units.
  5. Click Ok.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 for all units desired.
  7. Click Ok to exit Value Format
Set priority units for all equations in a file:
  1. In the toolbar, select Styles>Manage Styles.
  2. Click Add to add another style rule.
  3. For Container select Frame Document.
  4. For Object Type select Dynamic Equation.
  5. Under Properties select Value Format.
  6. In the new window, select Number on the left.
  7. Repeat steps 3-5 from above for all units desired.
  8. Click Ok to exit Value Format
  9. Close out of the Styles window.

Built-in Units

Jump to:
US Units
ft foot
in inch
lbf pound force
lbm pound mass
lb pound (general use)
oz ounce (1/16 lb)
lb oz pound-ounce
kip kip (1000 lbf)
psi pound per square inch (lbf/in^2)
ksi kip per square inch (kip/in^2)
ft in foot-inch (see section above)
pcf pound per cubic foot (lbf/ft^3)
kcf kip per cubic foot (kip/ft^3)
psf pound per square foot (lbf/ft^2)
ksf kip per square foot (kip/ft^2)
plf pound per linear foot (lbf/ft)
klf kip per linear foot (kip/ft)
yd yard
sy square yard (yd^2)
cy cubic yard (yd^3)
cfs cubic foot per second (ft^3/s)
acre acre (4840 yd^2)
F degree Fahrenheit
ΔF difference Fahrenheit
R Rankine
psia absolute pound per square inch (pressure)
psig gauge pound per square inch (pressure)
Δpsig difference gauge pound per square inch
sf square foot (ft^2)
cf cubic foot (ft^3)
mile mile
nautical mile nautical mile
mph mile per hour
ton US customary ton (2000 lbf)
gal US gallon (231 in^3)
gpm US gallon per minute
Btu British thermal unit (thermochemical definition, 1054.3503 J)
slug slug mass unit (1 lbf*s^2/ft)
hp mechanical horsepower (550 ft*lbf/s)
quart quart (1/4 gal)
pint pint (1/2 quart)
cup cup (1/4 quart)
fl oz fluid ounce (1/8 cup)
fl oz FDA FDA fluid ounce (30 mL)
Tbsp tablespoon (1/2 fl oz)
tsp teaspoon (1/6 fl oz)
SI Units
m meter
kg kilogram
km kilometer
cm centimeter
mm millimeter
nm nanometer
g gram
N Newton
J Joule
Pa Pascal
kPa kilopascal
MPa megapascal
GPa gigapascal
bar bar (100,000 Pa)
mbar millibar
mm Hg millimeters mercury (pressure)
atm atmosphere (pressure)
K Kelvin
C degree Celsius
W Watt
ΔC difference Celsius
kN kilonewton
L Liter
cL centiliter
mL milliliter
cc cubic centimeter (cm^3)
g0 gravity/ "g's" (1 g0 = 9.807 m/s^2)
gravity gravity/ "g's" (1 gravity = 9.807 m/s^2)
coulomb Coulomb (electric charge)
V Volt
A Ampere/Amp
Ω Ohm
ohm Ohm (same as Ω)
H Henry (inductance)
farad Farad (capacitance)
T Tesla (magnetic induction)
Wb Weber (magnetic flux)
Mx Maxwell (magnetic flux, 1E-08 Wb)
kW kilowatt
kJ kilojoule
cal "small" calorie (4.184 J)
kcal "large" calorie (1000 cal or 4184 J)
ppm parts per million
ppb parts per billion
Time Units
s second
min minute
hr hour
day day
week week
mo month
year year
day hr min sec day-hour-minute-second
day hr min day-hour-minute
hr min sec hour-minute-second
hr min hour-minute
min sec minute-second
ms millisecond
ns nanosecond
μs microsecond
Hz Hertz (s^-1)
rpm rotation per minute
Angle Units
deg degree
deg min sec degree-minute-second
dms degree-minute-second
rad radians
rev One revolution (rpm*min)
Screen Units
px virtual pixel (1/96 inch)
pt point (1/72 inch)
Complex Numbers

Note that terms i and j for complex number are inputed like units, as shown, but they define an imaginary number, rather than a literal number with a unit.

i the imaginary unit
j the imaginary unit (same as i)
Currency Units

Note that conversion between currencies is not supported right now.

usd United States Dollar
cad Canadian Dollar
eur Euro
jpy Japanese Yen
gbp Pound sterling
aud Australian Dollar
chf Swiss Franc
cny Chinese Yuan
sek Swedish Krona
nzd New Zealand Dollar
mxn Mexican Peso
See also:
Anything missing?

Please, let us know if there are units you would like to see in Blockpad.