The "standalone" method of dealing with units treats units just like normal variables to be assigned-to and solved-for:

- Equations defining the relationships between units are given or read from the library.
- Known values are assigned to the units themselves (as if they were normal variables).
- Unknown units (variables) are solved-for.

The following example shows typical usage of standalone units. The units are "miles" and "gallons", but they are really being used as simple variables:

> The number of miles per gallon is 21.

Let 'M' stand for "MILES"

Let 'G' stand for "GALLON"

So...

M

- = 21

G

Anything else?

> If there are 14 gallons, how many miles are there?

Solving for G:

14 = G

G = 14

G = 14

Solving for M:

M

- = 21

G

1

M - = 21

G

M = 21 G

M = 294

(Find M)

294 is HOW MANY MILES THERE ARE.

The standalone method can be used for simple problems, but it is usually too limited for most real-world problems involving units. Normally, one wants to freely combine units with numbers (scalars) and other units to specify measurements and systems of measurement.