NOTE: MathCAD is no longer required for MAE 3 reports, but is provided as For Your Information (FYI) resource.

Advantages of Mathcad for analysis:
  • Presents both equations and numerical values in easy-to-read format
  • Graphics and text can be incorporated throughout the document
  • Unlike spreadsheets, all equations are viewed and printed
  • Unlike programming languages, the numerical results are shown along side the equations
  • Files can take a little longer to write than a spreadsheet or Matlab file, but are great for documentation, which is essential for design work

Brief Mathcad Tutorial

Define a Math Region

This is the default type of region that is generated if you click anywhere and start typing, at the location indicated by the cursor ('+' symbol).

Define a Text Region

  • To insert a label, select "Text Box" from the "Math" menu (shortcut: Ctrl+T)
  • To insert text block that stretches the width of the page and moves everything else down, select "Text Block" (shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+T)

Order of Calculations (*Important*)

MathCAD calculates based on region location.
  • Order is left to right, top to bottom
  • errors show up in red
  • Variables must be defined above the location they are used
  • Regions can be dragged around the sheet

Meaning of Various Equal Signs (All found under "Operators")

Definition Operator: Define value of variable numerically using a colon, followed by an equal sign ":=" 

Evaluation Operator: Use a regular equal sign "=" to calculate a numerical result

Boolean Equal To Operator: Type "ctrl+" to insert a comparison equals sign to create an equation

Operator Input Keys

+ addition
- subtract
* multiply
/ divide
^ to the power of

Anything else you might want is under the math toolbar (e.g. sin, cos, e^, square root, etc.)


Use the "Operators and Symbols>Symbols" button to insert common mathematical symbols like ρ.


As you type, Mathcad automatically formats equations in an easy-to-read manner. For example:

  • Set default units by selecting the "Unit System" drop-down box in Math=>Units 
  • Can be typed in directly after a variable name
  • Can be selected from a list by clicking on the "Units" button
  • Mathcad will automatically check for proper units and do conversions
  • DO NOT NAME YOUR VARIABLES WITH COMMON UNIT NAMES (it is possible to name a variable kg or m using the "Labels" feature, but this may lead to confusion)

Solving for unknowns algebraically

  • Mathcad can be used to solve an equation symbolically or numerically
  • Write an equation with unknowns using the "boolean equal to operator"
  • Insert the symbolic evaluation operator by selecting "Symbolics>Symbolic Evaluation" or typing "ctrl ."
  • Type the keyword "solve", followed by the variable to be solved for
  • Details are available in help

Inserting Images

Images can be inserted using cut-and-paste or by clicking on the "image" button


Subscripts are often used in defining variables. They can be added using the "subscript" button (shortcut: "Ctrl -")

Inserting Mathcad equations into Microsoft Word. 

Mathcad Prime 3.0 can now easily copy and paste equations into Microsoft Word, as long as only one line is selected at a time. In order to copy and paste an equation, it is important that the region is selected rather than simply the text. To do this, click and drag starting outside of the equation to highlight it. A blue box will shade around the selected equation, and then press Ctrl+C to copy it. Press Ctrl+V to paste it into Word, where it will appear as a picture.

Further Tutorials

Mathcad is a powerful tool which can be used to solve systems of linear equations, differential equations, and even write programs. In-depth tutorials can be accessed through the "Resources" tab.