# How to Calculate the Area of a Trapezoid

You can use the right-triangle trick to find the area of a trapezoid. The following trapezoid *TRAP* looks like an isosceles trapezoid, doesn’t it? Don’t forget — looks can be deceiving.

You should be thinking, *right triangles, right triangles, right triangles*. So draw in two heights straight down from *R* and *A* as shown in the following figure.

You can see that *QW*, like *RA*, is 14. Then, because *TP* is 28, that leaves 28 – 14, or 14, for the sum of *TQ* and *WP*. Next, you can assign segment *TQ* a length of *x*, which gives segment *WP* a length of 14 – *x*. Now you’re all set to use — what else? — the Pythagorean Theorem. You have two unknowns, *x* and *h*, so to solve, you need two equations:

Now solve the system of equations. First, you subtract the second equation from the first, column by column: