More about Mathcad

For more than 20 years, Mathcad has been the standard for creating, documenting, and sharing technical calculations. Mathcad is a better tool for engineering and scientific calculations than spreadsheets (which hide the logic of your calculations behind cryptic expressions and embedded macros) or computation programming languages (which have steep learning curves). Mathcad uses real maths notation that looks and behaves just like the formulae in your reference books. Mathcad calculations are easy to create, understand, audit, share and troubleshoot.

With one of the largest user bases in the engineering world, Mathcad is easy to learn and use – no special programming skills are required. Mathcad documentation and context-sensitive help make learning and using Mathcad an intuitive process. Tutorials for both new and experienced Mathcad users step you through common as well as complex operations.

With its easy-to-use, free-form scratchpad interface, instant recalculation advantages, comprehensive graphing and extensive document processing capabilities, Mathcad will boost your productivity, increase accuracy and ensure your work is fully documented and reusable. Mathcad’s open application architecture combined with its support of .NET and its native XML format make it easy to integrate Mathcad into existing IT structures and other applications.

Mathcad worksheets – Share and collaborate across networks

Share publication-quality worksheets across your entire organisation in Mathcad, print, XML, PDF or Web formats – enabling others to collaborate on design projects or simply view worksheets.

Mathcad provides easy access to live math documents on your local network or the Web. Move seamlessly through your Intranet or Extranet with integrated browser and hyperlink support. There are several ways Mathcad supports activity in the browser.
File or Print
XML file format enables users to easily transform content to MS Word, pdf, XHTML, and other publishing formats. Mathcad documents can be printed to paper or PDF formats, and viewed and printed with Adobe Acrobat.

Mathcad’s Authoring Mode lets you build your own electronic books so you can compile and electronically present collections of your Mathcad worksheets – complete with a table of contents, links and a searchable index. File encryption and a robust document protection mechanism help you secure your intellectual property while you share your work.

Mathcad Integration – Integrate data across software and systems

Mathcad features interoperability and connectivity with many popular desktop and engineering applications, including:

  • Microsoft Office, Excel, Visio and other Office products
  • SmartSketch
  • VisSim
  • ODBC-compliant databases including Microsoft Access and FoxPro

The formal bi-directional integration between Mathcad and Pro/ENGINEER enables unique predictive engineering capabilities. Mathcad can be used to predict the behaviour of designs and subsequently drive the key parameters and dimensions used in Pro/ENGINEER CAD models.

Binary read/write support for uniform, arbitrary, homogenous binary format files gives users the flexibility of directly importing or exporting detailed and compact data sets. File I/O components support mixed-format data, including strings, exponential notation, complex numbers, and real numbers, to ensure data integrity when passing mixed data types. File Input and Output also allow in-place control over rows and columns, allowing file headers and footers to be left in the original data without interfering with import.

Mathcad Interface: Solve your most complex calculations

A powerful programming interface allows you to loop through complex calculations and develop result sets. You can write your own functions or simply generate a table of results using conditionals, error handling, and other programming constructs. Programs can be stored in their own document, and referenced from other Mathcad documents, for flexible, reusable code.

programming interface

Mathcad Integration: Verify, validate and annotate your solutions

By integrating text, formulae and graphs in a single worksheet, you can easily visualize, illustrate and annotate calculation work. Your entire solution is contained and documented in one place. Formatting options and templates let you prepare documents to exact specifications.

Engineering calculations and design work documented in Mathcad are easier to read, verify and validate because all of the key assumptions, equations, methodology and results are documented in natural maths notation. The calculations can be read and understood by others, which dramatically improves design verification, validation, and audit processes.

Document your work using real maths notation

Mathcad screen

Mathcad’s patented ‘live’ maths technology lets you work with mathematical expressions using standard mathematical notation – but with the added ability to recalculate, view, present and publish with ease, even to the Web.

Mathcad automatically recalculates your equations, redraws your graphs and updates your results whenever you change a variable. Type an integral and everyone can read the notation. Integrating text, formulae and graphs into a single worksheet makes it easy to visualise, illustrate and annotate all your calculation work.

Integrated images, text, graphs and mathematics means your whole solution is contained and documented in one place. Formatting options and style sheets let you prepare documents to exact specifications. You can distribute your work in Mathcad format or RTF, or as HTML/MathML for the Web.

Mathcad graphs: Visualise your solutions

mesh wave

Mathcad’s 2D and 3D graphs update along with changes in your calculations. Its graphing capabilities give you better insight into your work, and precise control over your graphs.

Plot types include Cartesian, polar, surface, contour, bar, scatter and vector-field plots. Graph options include lighting effects, markers, line and grid colour control, overlapping graphics regions, axis markers and specialised line types for DSP.

A picture operator gives you the same interactive display for image processing applications.

Any part of a Mathcad document can be animated, including numerical results, 2D and 3D graphs and images.

Calculate and model your ideas

Mathcad provides hundreds of operators and built-in functions for solving technical problems. Use Mathcad to perform numeric calculations or to find symbolic solutions. It works with a wide variety of numeric and data types, operates on scalars, vectors and matrices, and automatically tracks and converts units.

Mathcad’s maths functionality includes:

  • Partial differential equation solve blocks for parabolic (heat) and hyperbolic (wave) equations in one dimension
  • Complex arguments and fractional order for Bessel functions, and new Hankel functions
  • Fitting routines for general and exponential fitting
  • Trace error functionality for tracking the sources of errors in complicated worksheets
  • Support for complex arguments to floor, ceil, round, and trunc
  • New sinc function

Mathcad’s computational capabilities include:

  • Numeric operators perform summations, products, derivatives, integrals and Boolean operations.
  • Numeric functions apply trigonometric, exponential, hyperbolic and other functions and transforms.
  • Symbolics simplify, differentiate, integrate, and transform expressions algebraically. Mathcad’s patented live symbolics technology automatically recalculates algebraic solutions.
  • Vectors and Matrices manipulate arrays and perform various linear algebra operations, such as finding eigenvalues and eigenvectors, and looking up values in arrays.
  • Statistics and Data Analysis generate random numbers or histograms, fit data to built-in and general functions, interpolate data, and build probability distribution models.
  • Differential Equation Solvers support ordinary differential equations, systems of differential equations, and boundary value problems both at the command line and in solve blocks that use natural notation to specify the DiffEQs and constraints.
  • Variables and Units handle real, imaginary, and complex numbers with or without associated units.
  • High-performance calculation engine provides speed and sophisticated memory management to help you find solutions faster.

Mathcad Resoures: Publishing Success Stories

There are many possible ways to include Mathcad materials in textbooks for distribution to faculty and students. Read about how various publishers have provided Mathcad’s live maths worksheets for their readers in the higher education community.

  • Fundamentals of Engineering Design by Barry Hyman — Professor Hyman uses Mathcad’s password protection feature to distribute assignments and solutions built from the same worksheets. The instructor’s manual for the textbook includes an E-book of Mathcad worksheets with assignments for the students to complete in Mathcad. These assignments have solutions hidden in password-protected areas throughout the worksheets, which means they can be distributed to students without fear of giving away the solutions. The instructor’s copy of the textbook contains the password for unlocking these regions and gaining access to the solutions. The password is also available through Mathsoft’s academic sales representatives. For more information on this textbook, see Barry Hyman’s Home Page.
  • Analogue Electronics with LABVIEW by Kenneth L. Ashley — This book provides laboratory experiments in LABVIEW, which students then use Mathcad to verify. These experiments (real and theoretical) are performed using LABVIEW simulations and the data is brought into Mathcad for analysis. For more information on this textbook, see the Analogue Electronics with LABVIEW pages on the Prentice Hall Web site.
  • Computational Methods for Applied Science and Engineering: An Interactive Approachby Mario G. Ancona — All 600+ pages of this book were authored entirely in Mathcad. This physical volume, which explores various numerical methods for science and engineering problems, also includes a CD containing all the book materials in multiple electronic formats, including MCD (three versions of Mathcad files), PDF, DOC (Word 98), and HTML files. Professor Ancona notes in the Preface:

    “…having the electronic version [of the book] adds the extra dimension of interactivity. With Mathcad the equations and plots of the book come alive, their numbers can be changed and played with, their solutions instantly displayed, and their analyses hyperlinked to explanatory material located elsewhere in the book… in the future all textbooks, at least in technical fields, will be electronic… the present effort is but an attempt to illuminate the way forward.”

    For more information on this textbook, see the Computational Methods for Applied Science and Engineering: An Interactive Approach pages on the Rinton Press Web site.

  • Physical Chemistry by Peter Atkins and Julio de Paula — The CD-ROM supplement for this textbook, Explorations in Physical Chemistry, contains 75 interactive Mathcad worksheets that motivate students to “simulate physical, chemical, and biochemical phenomena… Harnessing the computational power of Mathcad, students can manipulate graphics, alter simulation parameters and solve equations to gain deeper insight into Physical Chemistry. Complete with thought-stimulating exercises, Explorations in Physical Chemistry is a perfect addition to any Mathcad® enabled Physical Chemistry course, using any Physical Chemistry text book.” For more information on this textbook, see the Physical Chemistry pages on the W. H. Freeman Web site.

And finally, see Dr. Philip J. Pritchard’s MATHCAD: A Tool for Engineering Problem Solving, part of the B.E.S.T. Series from McGraw-Hill, as a fine example of using Mathcad for teaching and learning.

Tips for Writing Mathcad Worksheets

Mathcad plot worksheetLooking for tips for writing Mathcad worksheets? We have a few that will help you effectively convey your information. Studies have shown that people read up to 30% more slowly when information is on a computer screen than when it is on a hard copy. There are things you can do to help this situation. The key to good design is simplicity and consistency. Below are some presentation tips:





  • Use legible text. You should use legible fonts and sizes, and keep your text regions less than a screen width wide. Wide text lines are hard to read. Italic type and text that is not black on white is also harder to read on a computer screen. Use colour for emphasis.
  • Separate paragraphs. If you have multiple paragraphs of text in succession, put each paragraph in a separate text region. This will give you greater control over the appearance of your documents and make it easier for you to reset your page breaks if you need to repaginate. Use hard page breaks to control the appearance of the pages with different displays and printer drivers. You should put in the hard page breaks when you are done with your revisions, as your changes may affect pagination.
  • Use headings. Use section heads and subheads to help organise your material and break it up for the reader. Long paragraphs of solid text that run on and on are tiring to the eyes.
  • Use bold, not italic. Use bold for emphasis within text, but don’t overuse it. Bold type is harder to read, and too many bold words will make the text appear choppy. Italic type is not as easy to read on a computer screen as on a printed page, so use it sparingly. Underlining should be reserved for hyperlinks.
  • Simplify style. Avoid using too many colours, text styles and font styles in a document. Too much formatting can overwhelm the reader and make the information appear to be much more complicated than it actually is. Choose a few styles to emphasise information and use them consistently. Good design is invisible and does not distract from the meaning of the words.
  • Minimise scrolling. Remember that the reader will be viewing and using your material on the screen. Be sure they do not have to scroll back and forth too much in order to change values and see the results. Use of the global equals sign will help with that. It is also helpful to list your variables and definitions for the reader. The equation highlight features can be used to indicate where readers can intervene to manipulate values and see new results.
  • Organise your regions. Align your text, maths and graphics so the page does not appear cluttered and disorganised.
  • Use only a single space between sentences and words in Text Regions. Multiple spacing can lead to unsightly line wrapping on different displays. Avoid trying to align text by pressing the spacebar repeatedly. Most fonts have proportional spacing, which makes it virtually impossible to align text this way.
  • Size regions. You should also avoid using the [Enter] key to break a line of text in a text region. Hard returns at the ends of lines may not display properly for users whose display settings are different from those of the author. A better approach is to reset the wrap margin for the text region itself by selecting the region, then grabbing the double arrow on the right side to shorten the region. This also avoids problems when editing and revising your text.
  • Provide hyperlinks. Provide hyperlinks that lead readers through your material in the order you wish them to view it. A table of contents with links to each section, or links within files to the next file will help the reader move along in a designated order.
  • Use “live” maths. Maths in Mathcad is live so use it to your advantage. Provide material for the user to interact with, suggest places they can change your numbers and variables and give them graphs to see the results.
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