Written By Dave Martin
  • 11/7/2019
  • Read Time : 3 min.

Four Must-Use Features to Master in PTC Mathcad

Math abstract showing integral equation.

PTC Mathcad contains a lot of functionality for engineers, data scientists, mathematicians, and business people. There’s something for everyone no matter their discipline; but here are four features everyone should master to maximize productivity and efficiency.

Reading Files

We don’t work in a vacuum; most of us work on teams that require a high degree of collaboration with other departments, suppliers, and customers. We’re going to have to exchange data with them. Microsoft Excel is the de facto standard for spreadsheets, but you might also receive data in comma-separated values (CSV) or text files. PTC Mathcad can import these formats and more, using both built-in functions and dialog boxes to help you. You can also create Excel components directly in a worksheet with configurable inputs and outputs.

Get started: Navigate to the Input/Output tab. Then choose from the icons in the Data Import/Export group. Also explore Functions > Reading and Writing Files in PTC Mathcad Help or check out the Input/Output worksheets (requires PTC.com/PTC Community account).

Matrix and Vector Operations

After you input an Excel, CSV, or text file, you often need to process its data. That involves manipulating the cells using operators and functions. Vector and matrix operators enable you to extract columns, rows, and individual elements from the imported data.

PTC Mathcad has over 50 standard functions for identifying the minimum and maximum values, extracting submatrices, finding matching values, and looking up values. And, of course, you have standard matrix math like cross products, determinants, and eigenvalues. You can even create new matrices from existing vectors and matrices.

Get started: Navigate to the Matrices/Tables tab and choose from the Vector/Matrix Operators and Vector/Matrix Functions icons. Also, check out the Vectors and Matrices worksheets (requires PTC.com/PTC Community account). Or, explore Vector, Matrices, and Tables and Functions > Vector and Matrix > Array Characteristics > About Array Characteristics Functions in PTC Mathcad Help.

User-Defined Functions and Programs

PTC Mathcad comes with over 400 built-in functions like the aforementioned vector and matrix functions. Other powerful groups of functions provided by PTC Mathcad include areas like statistics, differential equations, data analysis – but these aren’t enough.

People need the ability to create their own user-defined functions for their applications, forming complex expressions involving constants, variables, pre-defined functions, and mathematical expressions including calculus. User-defined functions allow you to specify inputs – which can be numbers, text, variables, and matrices – and then perform these calculations on the values you send to the function.

Programs take user-defined functions to the next level by incorporating loops and conditionals. Loops like traditional computer programming for and while constructs allow you to repeat actions multiple times. Conditionals allow you to decide which actions are taken based on whether something is evaluated to be true or false. These capabilities augment your engineering calculations with an additional level of intelligence and control.

Get started: In PTC Mathcad Help, explore Tutorials > Task 3-4: Defining and Evaluating Functions and Custom Functions. Or check out the Functions and Programming worksheets (requires PTC.com/PTC Community account).

Plotting and Graphing

As the saying goes, a picture is worth ten thousand words. We’re all in a hurry, so we want to absorb information as quickly as possible. It’s human nature to skip past the equations, hard data, and text explanations to get right to the visual encapsulation of the answer. It doesn’t matter how good your data and equations are if you can’t convey the correct conclusions to your stakeholders and audience. This is why plotting and graphing are such important skills to master.

The standard plotting functions enable you to create 2D X-Y plots, contour plots, and 3D plots. These plots can contain multiple traces of different data sources and you can control colors, axes, and tick marks to format your results.

With the Chart Component introduced in PTC Mathcad Prime 5.0, you can create full featured, richly formatted 2D plots. The Chart Component also provides an option for a secondary y-axis, which has its own scale, configuration options, and formatting options. Plots created with the Chart Component can be completed with titles, legends, axis labels, gridlines, and borders, each with its own formatting, so theyare ready for publication in reports, articles, and web pages.

Get started: In PTC Mathcad Help, explore Tutorials > Exercise 5 and Charts. Also, after generating the plot in your worksheet, double-click the plot area to open the PTC Mathcad Chart application and further customize your plot. Or check out the 2D plotting and 3D plotting worksheets (requires PTC.com/PTC Community account).

Guidance Is a Click Away

If you expand your personal skillset to contain reading files, matrix operations, user-defined functions and programs, and graphing, then you will master creating and documenting your engineering calculations. For more help, just click the F1 function key in PTC Mathcad Prime to learn more.

Find out what's new in Mathcad Prime 6.0.

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About the Author

Dave Martin is a former Creo, Windchill, and Mathcad instructor and consultant. After leaving PTC, he was the Creo specialist for Amazon; and a mechanical engineer, Creo administrator, and Windchill administrator for Amazon Prime Air. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and currently works as an avionics engineer for Blue Origin. 


Martin is the author of the books Design Intent in Creo Parametric and Top Down Design in Creo Parametric--both available at www.amazon.com. He can be reached at dmartin@creowindchill.com.

Four Must-Use Features to Master in PTC Mathcad
No matter your level of expertise or discipline, you'll want to master these four features in PTC Mathcad.