What Is Mathcad

Mathcad (developed by MathSoft Engineering and Education Inc.) [1] is an electronic notepad (live worksheet) that allows mathematical calculations to be performed on a computer screen in a format similar to the way it would be carried out for hand calculations. While Mathcad employs the usual mathematical symbols (i.e. +, -, /, =), for algebraic operations it also uses the conventional symbols of calculus for differentiation and integration to perform these operations. It preserves the conventional symbolic form for subscribing, special mathematical and trigonometric functions, series operations, and matrix algebra. When expository text is added, Mathcad's symbolic format leads to reports that are easily understood by others. Data can be presented in both tabular and graphical forms.

Mathcad can also be used to answer, amongst many others, the 'what-if' questions in engineering problems. With a well-structured worksheet, design calculations can be nj] Fie Edt View? rnseft format Tools Symbnk; Window Heb

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Fig. 3.1. A simple calculation.

Fig. 3.1. A simple calculation.

performed whereby parameters can be changed and the results viewed almost immediately on the computer display and/or printed.

3.3 WHAT DOES Mathcad DO?

Mathcad combines the live document interface of a spreadsheet with the WYSIWYG interface of a word processor [2]. With Mathcad, functions can be represented graphically and equations can be typeset on the screen, exactly the way they are presented in textbooks but with the advantage that the calculations can also be done.

Mathcad comes with multiple fonts and has the ability to print what you see on the screen through any Windows supported printer. This, combined with Mathcad's live document interface, makes it easy to produce up-to-date, publication-quality engineering reports and/or design solution sheets.

The following sub-sections demonstrate how some simple operations are carried out in Mathcad. This is to illustrate the format and meaning of the operations used to produce the examples in this text.

3.3.1 A simple calculation

Although Mathcad can perform sophisticated mathematics, it can just as easily be used as a simple calculator [2]. For example, click anywhere in the worksheet; you will see a small crosshair. Type 20 - 6/30.5=. As soon as the 'equal to' key is pressed, Mathcad computes and shows the result; see Figure 3.1.

3.3.2 Definitions and variables

Mathcad's power and versatility quickly becomes apparent when variables and functions are being used [2]. By defining variables and functions, equations can be linked together and intermediate results can be used in further calculations.

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