Vector Addition


Vectors are quantities that have both magnitude and direction. The definition of adding vectors is graphical. That is, they are added by setting them tip-to-tail. But, it is very difficult to get high precision results from graphical methods. So, there are analytic methods to calculate the results of adding vectors. The precision of this method is limited to your calculating tools. A $5 calculator have eight digit precision. These methods require trigonometry except when the vectors are parallel to each other. Here we develop and study the two methods of adding vectors.

There are four pictorial articles and one spreadsheet that can be downloaded.. Everything here is for adding two vector A and B. The spreadsheet gives the magnitude, direction and components of A+B, A-B, and B-A , and the components of A and B when you enter the magnitude and direction of A and B.

Some of the articles are Adobe pdf files that require the Adobe Reader. The Reader can be downloaded free from

The spreadsheet is an Microsoft Excel97 file. It can be opened with Exccel97 or later, or Open Office1.1.4 of later (

The Articles

Download VectorAddSubtract.xls

Hulan E. Jack Jr. 2002