How Do You Find the Distance Between Two Points?

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Use the distance formula and a calculator to find the distance between two points. The distance formula works because if two points are plotted on a graph, their direct line is the hypotenuse of a right triangle; thus, the Pythagorean theorem can be used to determine the distance.

  1. Plot the points on a graph

    Each point has both an x and a y coordinate.

  2. Find and square the differences between coordinates

    Subtract the x of point one from the x of point two. Square the result. Subtract the y of point one from the y of point two. Square that result too.

  3. Add together the squared distances

    After squaring the distance between the x-coordinates and the y-coordinates, add the squared results together.

  4. Take the square root of the coordinate sum

    After the squared results are added together, take the square root of their sum. The result is the distance between the two points.