Written By Dave Martin
  • 7/11/2023
  • Read Time : 4 min.

6 Ways to Make Your Mathcad Worksheets Publication Ready

Learn how to make your PTC Mathcad worksheets publication ready.

PTC Mathcad is more than just an application for performing engineering calculations. It’s a means of communicating your results to others with the intention of influencing a decision. In order to make your Mathcad worksheets more effective, here’s six ways you can make sure they're publication ready.

1. Documentation

One of Mathcad’s strengths for engineering calculations are the numerous tools for documenting your work. These include Text Blocks, Text Boxes, and Images. Use these liberally. Don’t assume your audience will intuitively understand your variables, functions, vectors, matrices, Solve Blocks, and other Math Regions.

Here are some tips for making your worksheet user-friendly:

  • Format your text. Change the text color and size. Italicize, underline, or make the text bold. Use bullets and numbering.
  • Change your font. Mathcad uses Tahoma as its default text font, but it also can access all your system fonts. Some other fonts you might try include Segoe Print, Comic Sans MS, Arial, or my personal favorite, Lexend (a font optimized for reading performance).
  • Apply a highlight color like yellow to draw the viewer’s attention to important information.
  • Make sure Mathcad’s built-in spell checker is turned on. You can correct the spelling by right clicking the mouse button. You can also add words that Mathcad doesn’t recognize to your dictionary.
  • Add hyperlinks to your text. These hyperlinks can be to external content like a web page. You can also add Tags to regions within your worksheet, and then add a hyperlink to these Tags. Help your viewers by creating a table of contents at the beginning of the worksheet with internal hyperlinks to those sections.
  • As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” With the Image command, you can insert a picture using any of the standard industry image formats. Images look great on worksheets if you have transparency enabled. For information on that, see this video from Dr. Pat Heffernan:


2. Visualize your results

PTC Mathcad Prime contains 2D Plots, 3D Plots, and the Chart Component utility for transforming your data and results into a visual format. Of these tools, the Chart Component has the most flexibility for creating graphs that are ready for publishing. Chart Component functionality includes:

  • Chart titles, axis titles, and legends
  • Multiple traces and a secondary Y-axis
  • Gridlines and tick marks
  • Customized ranges, logarithmic scales, and number formatting
  • Full control over font, size, color, style, and angle

You can also export a Chart to the various standard image file formats.

Click here for more information on the differences between the 2D Plots' XY Plots and the Chart Component.

3. Calculations

In addition to performing your engineering calculations with Math Regions, you can also capture your logic and process. To do this, you can use the Equal To Comparison Operator, which some people call the “thick equals sign,” in a Math Region.

Similar to formatting text, you can also format your Math Regions. You can change the font for Math Regions from the default Mathcad UniMath Prime. You can also apply highlighting to important results.

Calculations make more sense when they include the relevant units. Be sure to define variables with the appropriate units. Units also help identify potential mistakes in your math.
Sometimes I will see a result reported in an extremely high or low value, like 10 to the minus six or seven decimal places, where the unit is kilometers. People have a hard time wrapping their heads around how big or small that actually is. Change the units as necessary. In this case, centimeters or millimeters would be more intuitive.


An example of a publication-ready PTC Mathcad worksheet of an Involute Gear Deisgn


4. Organize your worksheet

Any worksheet you intend to be viewed by others should have headers and footers. These can include the worksheet name, your name, contact information, your company name and logo, date, page number, and more. Headers and footers make your worksheet look more professional.

Some other ways to organize your worksheet include:

  • Control the grid. Your worksheet might look better with a fine grid or no grid instead of the standard grid.
  • Use Collapsible Areas. If you have in-depth calculations that can disrupt the flow of the worksheet, place them in an Area and collapse it. 
  • Used Expanded Areas. Alternatively, if you don’t collapse an Area, it puts a frame around the Math Regions it contains. This can be aesthetically pleasing.
  • Hide calculations in the Draft View. I also find Draft View to be a great place to hide input and output functions to external files.
  • Insert Page Breaks. When viewing a worksheet, someone might inadvertently add or remove lines, pushing your calculations up or down the sheet. This can cause Math Regions, Text Regions, Plots, and Charts to straddle across page boundaries. Page Breaks can prevent this.
  • The Document tab contains commands to separate regions, add spaces, and remove empty spaces.

5. Help yourself for next time

You can save yourself time and effort when creating your next worksheet by creating your own Text Styles and Worksheet Templates.

After you have created text with the desired font, size, style, highlighting, bullets, numbers, indentation, and justification, right click on the text and choose Create Style. Then you can right click on the Text Style in the gallery on the Text Formatting tab and choose Edit Style to change the name and adjust any other formatting.

A worksheet template contains your settings for units, document properties, header, footer, formatting, and calculation options. It can also contain predefined text blocks, text boxes, images, variables, and Math Regions. For more information on creating and using templates, watch this video:


6. Seek out a human reviewer

The final step to ensure your worksheets are publication-ready is to get an independent sanity check. Ask someone you trust, someone who will give you an objective opinion, if your worksheet stands on its own. Are there any parts that are unclear? What works well? How can the worksheet be improved?

When sharing your worksheet with others, to preserve formatting and fonts, the preferred command for creating a PDF is File > Save As > PDF Format.

Where to go from here

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. One great way to improve the quality of your worksheets is by looking at the work of others. A great source for viewing worksheets is the Mathcad Community Challenge, where users submit their solutions to various problems. Every month I learn something new from the submissions, and I’ve incorporated techniques from other users into my work. 

If you don’t have Mathcad yet, you can download the Express version for free. With the tips we’ve covered here, you’re now ready to create beautiful worksheets you can share with others.

Download PTC Mathcad Prime for Free

Say goodbye to spreadsheets. With Mathcad Prime, you’ll never have to use something else for your engineering or math calculations ever again!


About the Author

Dave Martin is a Creo, Windchill, and PTC Mathcad instructor and consultant. He is the author of the books “Top Down Design in Creo Parametric,” “Design Intent in Creo Parametric,” and “Configuring Creo Parametric,” all available at amazon.com. He can be reached at dmartin@creowindchill.com.

Dave currently works as the configuration manager for Elroy Air, which develops autonomous aerial vehicles for middle-mile delivery. Previous employers include Blue Origin, Amazon Prime Air, Amazon Lab126, and PTC. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and is a former armor officer in the United States Army Reserves.

6 Ways to Make Your Mathcad Worksheets Publication Ready
Learn six ways to make your PTC Mathcad Prime worksheets ready for publishing and sharing, including documentation, visualization, and organization tips.