Written by David Newman
  • 2/20/2024
  • Read Time : 5 min.

Comparing Different Methods of Inserting Images into PTC Mathcad Prime

Inserting Images Into PTC Mathcad Prime Header

Integrating image files alongside math and text regions, charts, and tables is one of PTC Mathcad Prime’s strengths. Imagery helps get your point across to the end-user of your worksheet by including diagrams or figures of a product you may be mathematically modelling. Images may also be useful for other reasons, like branding your documents with your company’s logo.

PTC Mathcad Prime offers several methods to insert images into your worksheets. This blog will explain the nuanced and meaningful differences between these methods.

Please note: This blog covers only features available in Mathcad Prime 9. Future Mathcad Prime releases may change some details. This blog also does not cover the Image Processing group of built-in functions.

Three Methods of Inserting Images Into PTC Mathcad Prime

The PTC Mathcad Prime 10 logo (coming soon!) inserted into a Mathcad Prime 9 worksheet with the three methods described in this blog.
This is the same originally transparent PNG file in all three instances.
Top: Copy-pasted from Mozilla Firefox | Middle: Using the Image button | Bottom: Using Insert Object


The fastest method of getting an image into a Mathcad Prime worksheet is by copy-pasting. You can do that with the keyboard shortcut CTRL + V, right-clicking on an empty space in the document and selecting Paste from the context menu, or by clicking Paste from the Clipboard grouping in the Math tab of the ribbon.

When an image is copy-pasted into a worksheet, it will be presented in its original dimensions. You can use the drag handles on the right and bottom sides of the image to resize it, but both handles are only able to maintain the original aspect ratio. The image will also have a white or black background depending on where it was copy-pasted from, even if it was originally transparent on the clipboard.

The Image button

You can find the Image button contained within both the Math tab and the Documents tab on Mathcad Prime’s ribbon, within the Regions group of both tabs on the left side. The button will summon a “Browse for Image…” button in the worksheet. Click that and Mathcad Prime will open your file system.

You can also find the Image command from the right-mouse-button context menu. The image will open with the top left corner starting from where the “Browse for Image…” button was. If the image is large enough, it will automatically be resized to the maximum width of Page View, no matter where the button was placed. Like with copy-pasting, you can only resize the image in its original aspect ratio.

The 2D raster formats PNG, JPG, GIF, BMP, ICO, TIF, and WEBP files can all be placed via the Image button. Mathcad Prime can’t browse for vector formats like SVG or proprietary file editor types like PSD or SNAGX. GIF files will not animate in a Mathcad Prime worksheet, but unlike copy-pasting, transparent PNGs will remain transparent.

PNGs are a very common file format for engineers to save figures in, and practically all image editors can save files as PNGs. This even includes the ubiquitous PowerPoint, as depicted by Dr. Pat Heffernan in his informative video below for creating and saving diagrams in PowerPoint and then embedding them into Mathcad Prime.


Insert Object

The final image method is the Insert Object command, found within the Objects grouping in the Input/Output tab of Mathcad Prime’s ribbon. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + O (keyboard shortcuts may differ based on your region, such as Ctrl + Alt + [ for German and Ctrl + Shift + Щ for Russian). The PTC Mathcad YouTube channel recently uploaded a video on how to use the command, with both examples in the video being inserting images.

Inserting Objects has the unique advantage of being able to Link to an object in your file system. If you edit a linked file in its parent application and then click Update Link, the image will change in your Mathcad Prime worksheet as well. Depending on the nature of the image, this may be a key reason to use Insert Object.

Like copy-pasting but unlike the Image button, Insert Object does not support transparent images, so even transparent PNGs will have a white background when brought into PTC Mathcad Prime. They will also be inserted at their full original dimensions, like copy-pasting. However, there is greater control with resizing. You can click Reset Object Size to instantly set the image back to its original size, and you can toggle on or off Preserve Aspect Ratio to squish the object vertically or horizontally with the right-side and bottom-side drag handles. Turning off Preserve Aspect Ratio adds a bottom-right corner drag handle that lets you drag the image around freeform.

In its intended use, Insert Object allows users to embed files into the worksheet as an image thumbnail so that, when clicked, the file itself opens in its parent application. For example, you can embed a PDF with Insert Object and it will visually show the first page of the PDF. You can then double-click the image to open the PDF. This works with other file types as well, such as the first slide of a PowerPoint presentation, the first tab of an Excel spreadsheet, or the first page of a Microsoft Word document.

You can insert many other types of objects, but not all of them will have a visual representation, depending on the file type. For example, many of the image file types that the Image button can support, like BMP, will embed as a rectangle with a generic file symbol and the hyperlinked file name as opposed to showing the picture itself.

Note that Insert Object is a premium feature of Mathcad Prime that requires a full, paid license or the 30-day free trial.

Concluding thoughts about inserting images

As a general rule, the best way to insert image files into a Mathcad Prime worksheet is to use the designated Image button. While copy-pasting is the fastest method and Insert Object can have some interesting applications with Update Link, the Image button is the only method that supports image transparency, which is important for creating professional engineering documents. The Image button also supports the widest amount of image types and is the most user-friendly option when inserting large image files because it automatically resizes.

Use the Image button the next time you need to incorporate imagery into your worksheets!

Learn more in this Mathcad e-Book

The "Comparison Shopping?" e-Book, available as both a Mathcad Prime and PDF file, uses all three of the techniques described in this blog.


About the Author

David J. Newman is a Senior Marketing Specialist for PTC’s CAD segment. He works with PTC’s partners so they have the marketing assets they need, and he also is in charge of the strategy and execution for PTC Mathcad marketing.

Comparing Different Methods of Inserting Images into PTC Mathcad Prime
Learn three ways to insert images into your PTC Mathcad Prime worksheet and the pros and cons of each.