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From Mathcad to Wolfram Language?

Posted 10 months ago
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I am having trouble staying in one screen while working in Wolfram. Generally I prepare a CAS document (called workbooks) in Mathcad with a rough draft, formulas, variable definitions, code and a graph. Then of course we want to pretty the thing up like it all appears on the page of a Calculus book.. Colorful, little text regions, moving things around and resizing. In Mathcad this is so simple and much like photo shop and image cropping and PowerPoint slides. It is mostly just point, drag, clip, fill, stretch and what not. You do have to be careful of hierarchy and order. You can actual drag a small definition just a little to far up in a worksheet and get a syntax error because it will not be calculated in the order of left to right and down. In Wolfram I see the cell formats and text formats . . .****all the way across the screen**** with apparently no way to drag a graph or picture into this block of only code. Everything in wolfram seems to just propagates another line of code that keeps going down and to the left margin. This leaves a lot of blank document / screen space to the upper right. ESPECIALLY when working with graphs. There are many cool options available and I find it somewhat easy to learn (so far) but with every click of the mouse at each option chosen ANOTHER graph appears . . .in another line . . .again down to the left. By the time I get to he graph that I want I have to go back and erase about fifteen others up the page . . .again trying to make use of the whole screen. Why can I not make changes, choose options, and keep operating in the same graph? .

4 Replies

Please post an example notebook so we can see what you are doing to try to improve your workflow. Something must be wrong because I do not have those issues.

Just guessing from your description- when you add external pictures, it is best to click on the cell and change the cell to not be evaluatable. This will stop MMA from making a copy when the notebook evaluates. Click the cell bar on the right to select it and go to the cell properties menu or Cmd-option-E on a Mac.


Posted 10 months ago

thankyou . . . . .I will investigate this.

Having come to Mathematica as a former Mathcad user, I think I understand where you’re coming from. One thing you could try as a means of filling up your white screen/paper space is to place your input cells into a grid (which you can create by typing ctrl-comma and ctrl-spacebar to generate additional columns and rows, although to add formatting options (like align left) you will have to evaluate an expression that invokes the Grid function with a placeholder and whatever formatting options you want (I have a basic function that I call to do this and then, once my input grid is formed, I delete the function call - this could be cleaned up by placing the function into a palette). Again, once the grid is formed you can add rows/columns in the same way as described above. Remember to place a semicolon to the right of the grid if you don’t want the evaluations to be displayed. The semicolon can be hidden, if you want, by making its font colour the same as the background colour. And it’s also a good way of mixing text with expressions and graphics in different grid cells.

Another frustration I found with Mathematica is that it doesn’t have a built-in means of displaying the result of an evaluation inline with the input expression (i.e. you can’t display lhs=rhs on the same line, where rhs is the result of evaluating lhs). This functionality can, however, be provided using a fairly simple function and is another good way of reducing the acres of white space that can result as a consequence of Mathematica’s line-by-line approach. As a user of Mathcad and Maple, this is one of those basic options that I miss in Mathematica.

Apart from these and a few other, generally minor, frustrations, you should find that Mathematica makes Mathcad look like a kindergarten toy. Although it does take some time and patience to get to grips with.

Hope this helps, Ian

Posted 10 months ago

Thanks to all. Ian it sounds like clicking immediately after a line of code and Alt7 turns everything into Text. I am learning a few tricks but there is no question this software is not for those who like to point click and drag. Tried to post my first worksheet here.

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