Converting 26 inches to cm: How-to & Steps

Instructor: Stephanie Matalone

Stephanie taught high school science and math and has a Master's Degree in Secondary Education.

While learning the steps of converting 26 inches to centimeters, you will also learn the basics of setting up equivalent ratios and cross-multiplying in order to solve for an unknown variable.

Steps to Solving the Problem

You just measured your son's height at 26 inches. You want to compare this to the national average to make sure he is growing at a good pace. Only problem, the national average is in centimeters, not inches. So now you need to convert his height.

To start, you need to find out there that 1 inch (in) is equal to 2.54 centimeters (cm). This is something that can easily be looked up, no need to memorize! Using this information, we will set up our first fraction.

1 in / 2.54 cm

Next, we will set up an equivalent ratio that is equal to the original ratio. This equivalent ratio will be a fraction with inches on top and centimeters on bottom just like the original. We will use x as a variable to represent the unknown number of centimeters we are solving for. This will go on the bottom of the equivalent fraction, while the 26 inches will go on top.

26 in / x cm

We will now set the two ratios equal to one another:

1 in / 2.54 cm = 26 in / x cm

Now that an equation is set up, we need to cross-multiply so we can solve for x and get our answer. In order to cross-multiply, we multiply the top of the first fraction by the bottom of the second fraction (1 in x x cm). Then we will multiply the top of the second fraction with the bottom of the first fraction (26 in x 2.54 cm). The two products will equal one another and make for a simple equation:

1 in x x cm = 26 in x 2.54 cm

After doing the multiplication, we get:

1 in x x cm = 66.04 in x cm

Now that we have a nice equation, we can solve for x using inverse operations. Inverse operations are operations, like addition and subtraction, that cancel each other out. In our case, we will use division to cancel out multiplication. To get x centimeters alone, we need to divide both sides by 1 inch. When we do this, the 1 inch will cancel out on the left, as will the unit inches on the right. 66.04 divided by 1 equals 66.04 so the numbers will not change. We are left with:

x cm = 66.04 cm

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