Area is the quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensionalsurface or shape, or planar lamina, in the plane. Area can be understood as the amount of material with a given thickness that would be necessary to fashion a model of the shape, or the amount of paint necessary to cover the surface with a single coat. It is the two-dimensional analog of the length of a curve (a one-dimensional concept) or the volume of a solid (a three-dimensional concept).
An approach to defining what is meant by "area" is through axioms. "Area" can be defined as a function from a collection M of special kind of plane figures (termed measurable sets) to the set of real numbers which satisfies the following properties:
For all S in M, a(S) ≥ 0.
If S and T are in M then so are S ∪ T and S ∩ T, and also a(S∪T) = a(S) + a(T) − a(S∩T).
If S and T are in M with S ⊆ T then T − S is in M and a(T−S) = a(T) − a(S).
If a set S is in M and S is congruent to T then T is also in M and a(S) = a(T).
Every rectangle R is in M. If the rectangle has length h and breadth k then a(R) = hk.
Let Q be a set enclosed between two step regions S and T. A step region is formed from a finite union of adjacent rectangles resting on a common base, i.e. S ⊆ Q ⊆ T. If there is a unique number c such that a(S) ≤ c ≤ a(T) for all such step regions S and T, then a(Q) = c.
It can be proved that such an area function actually exists.
Most other simple formulae for area follow from the method of dissection. This involves cutting a shape into pieces, whose areas must sum to the area of the original shape.
For an example, any parallelogram can be subdivided into a trapezoid and a right triangle, as shown in figure to the left. If the triangle is moved to the other side of the trapezoid, then the resulting figure is a rectangle. It follows that the area of the parallelogram is the same as the area of the rectangle:
A = bh (parallelogram).
Two equal triangles.
However, the same parallelogram can also be cut along a diagonal into two congruent triangles, as shown in the figure to the right. It follows that the area of each triangle is half the area of the parallelogram:
The formula for the area of a circle (more properly called area of a disk) is based on a similar method. Given a circle of radius r, it is possible to partition the circle into sectors, as shown in the figure to the right. Each sector is approximately triangular in shape, and the sectors can be rearranged to form and approximate parallelogram. The height of this parallelogram is r, and the width is half the circumference of the circle, or πr. Thus, the total area of the circle is r × πr, or πr2:
A = πr2 (circle).
Though the dissection used in this formula is only approximate, the error becomes smaller and smaller as the circle is partitioned into more and more sectors. The limit of the areas of the approximate parallelograms is exactly πr2, which is the area of the circle.
This argument is actually a simple application of the ideas of calculus. In ancient times, the method of exhaustion was used in a similar way to find the area of the circle, and this method is now recognized as a precursor to integral calculus. Using modern methods, the area of a circle can be computed using a definite integral:
Archimedes showed that the surface area and volume of a sphere is exactly 2/3 of the area and volume of the surrounding cylindrical surface.
Most basic formulae for surface area can be obtained by cutting surfaces and flattening them out. For example, if the side surface of a cylinder (or any prism) is cut lengthwise, the surface can be flattened out into a rectangle. Similarly, if a cut is made along the side of a cone, the side surface can be flattened out into a sector of a circle, and the resulting area computed.
where r is the radius of the sphere. As with the formula for the area of a circle, any derivation of this formula inherently uses methods similar to calculus.
Areas of 2-dimensional figures
A triangle: (where B is any side, and h is the distance from the line on which B lies to the other vertex of the triangle). This formula can be used if the height h is known. If the lengths of the three sides are known then Heron's formula can be used: where a, b, c are the sides of the triangle, and is half of its perimeter. If an angle and its two included sides are given, the area is where C is the given angle and a and b are its included sides. If the triangle is graphed on a coordinate plane, a matrix can be used and is simplified to the absolute value of . This formula is also known as the shoelace formula and is an easy way to solve for the area of a coordinate triangle by substituting the 3 points (x1,y1), (x2,y2), and (x3,y3). The shoelace formula can also be used to find the areas of other polygons when their vertices are known. Another approach for a coordinate triangle is to use calculus to find the area.
A simple polygon constructed on a grid of equal-distanced points (i.e., points with integer coordinates) such that all the polygon's vertices are grid points: , where i is the number of grid points inside the polygon and b is the number of boundary points. This result is known as Pick's theorem.
Area in calculus
Integration can be thought of as measuring the area under a curve, defined by f(x), between two points (here a and b).
The area between two graphs can be evaluated by calculating the difference between the integrals of the two functions
The area between a positive-valued curve and the horizontal axis, measured between two values a and b (b is defined as the larger of the two values) on the horizontal axis, is given by the integral from a to b of the function that represents the curve:
By simplifying the integral formula between the graphs of two functions (section above) and using Vieta's formula, we found:
For the bounded area between 2 quadratic functions and the bounded area between the quadratic function and its lower degrees (linear function or constant function) only.
Surface area of 3-dimensional figures
cone: , where r is the radius of the circular base, and h is the height. That can also be rewritten as  or where r is the radius and l is the slant height of the cone. is the base area while is the lateral surface area of the cone.