Both inches and centimeters express an object's length. However, inches are part of the Imperial system of measures commonly used in the U.S., while centimeters are part of the metric system, used in most of the rest of the world. Making sure that you use equivalent measures is very important. NASA found out the hard way when it lost an expensive Mars lander because some scientists had used metric measures, while others had used Imperial measurements. As long as you know the conversion factors, you can rapidly change from one unit to the other.
Things You'll Need
Turn on the calculator.
Divide 20 cm by 2.54 cm per inch, to get about 7.87 inches.
Clear the calculator. Multiply 20 cm by 0.3937 inches per centimeter to get 7.87 inches. This will give you the same answer as Step 1 and is a way to check your accuracy.
Check your answer using an online units conversion calculator, if you wish (see Resources).
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