Mathcad combines the live document interface of a spreadsheet with the WYSIWYG interface of a word processor. With Mathcad, you can typeset equations on the screen exactly the way you see them in a book. But Mathcad equations do more than look gootl on the screen. You can use them to actually do math. Like a spreadsheet, as soon as you make a change anywhere in your worksheet, Mathcad goes straight to work, updating results and redrawing graphs. With Mathcad, you can easily read data from a file and do mathematical chores ranging from adding up a column of numbers to evaluating integrals and derivatives, inverting matrices and more. In fact, just about anything you can think of doing with math, you can do with Mathcad. Like a word processor, Mathcad comes with a WYSIWYG interface, multiple fonts, and the ability to print whatever you see on the screen. This, combined with Mathcad’s live document interface, makes it easy to produce up-to-date, publication quality reports.
For information on system requirements and how to install Mathcad on your computer, see the instructions that accompanied your installation media. When you start Mathcad, you’ll see the window shown in Figure 1-1. You can view or hide the Math Palette, the Toolbar, and the Format Bar by choosing corresponding commands from the View menu.
You can place equations anywhere in the Mathcad worksheet. To get to places not visible in the window, use the scroll bars as you would in any Windows application.” Each button in the Math Palette opens a palette of operators or symbols. You can insert many operators, Greek letters, and plot regions by clicking on the buttons found on these palettes. From left to right, these palettes are:
The Toolbar is the strip of buttons shown just below the Math Palette in Figure 1-1. Many menu commands can be accessed more quickly by clicking a button on the Toolbar. To learn what a button does, click on the button and read the message line. If you don’t want to activate the button, move the pointer away without releasing the mouse button. If you just want to know what the button does, let the pointer rest on the button momentarily. You’ll see some text beside the pointer telling you what that button does. The Format Bar is shown immediately under the Toolbar in Figure 1-1. This contains scrolling lists and buttons used to specify font characteristics in equations and text. To conserve screen space, you can show or hide each of these elements individually by choosing the appropriate command from the View menu. Throughout the figures in this User’s Guide, the symbol palette, the toolbar, and the format bar have all been hidden to allow more space for examples. You can also detach each of these window elements and drag them around your window. To do so, place the mouse pointer anywhere other than on a button or a text box. Then press and hold down the mouse button and drag. You’ll find that the toolbar and the symbol palette will rearrange themselves appropriately depending on where you drag them. The format bar, on the other hand, will retain its shape no matter where you drag it. And Mathcad remembers where you left your palettes the next time you open the application.