Contents Previous Next Index

1 Getting Started


Don't worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.
Mathematics touches us every day—from the simple chore of calculating the total cost of our purchases to the complex calculations used to construct the bridges we travel.
To harness the power of mathematics, Maplesoft provides a tool in an accessible and complete form. That tool is Maple.

1.1 In This Chapter


Section

Topics

Introduction to Maple  The main features of Maple's Standard Interface

•

Starting the Standard Document Interface

•

Entering commands and mathematical expressions


Entering Expressions  Methods of entering expressions in 1D and 2D Math

•

Math Mode and Text Mode


PointandClick Interaction  An introduction to the pointandclick features in Maple


Commands  An introduction to the commands of the Maple language

•

Using commands from the Maple library


The Maple Help System  Accessing help on commands, packages, pointandclick features, and more

•

How to access help for Maple features

•

Interacting with help pages

•

Viewing and interacting with examples


Available Resources  Both online and from within Maple

•

New user resources, including the Maple Tour and the Maple Portal

•

Maple web site resources






1.2 Introduction to Maple



Working in Maple


With Maple, you can create powerful interactive documents. The Maple environment lets you start solving problems right away by entering expressions in 2D Math and solving these expressions using pointandclick interfaces. You can combine text and math in the same line, add tables to organize the content of your work, or insert images, sketch regions, and spreadsheets. You can visualize and animate problems in two and three dimensions, format text for academic papers or books, and insert hyperlinks to other Maple files, web sites, or email addresses. You can embed and program graphical user interface components, as well as devise custom solutions using the Maple programming language.

Figure 1.1: The Maple Environment





Starting the Standard Document Interface


To start Maple on:
Windows

From the Start menu, select All Programs → Maple 18 → Maple 18.
Alternatively:
Doubleclick the Maple 18 desktop icon.

Macintosh

1.

From the Finder, select Applications and Maple 18.

2.

Doubleclick Maple 18.


UNIX

Enter the full path, for example, /usr/local/maple/bin/xmaple
Alternatively:
1.

Add the Maple directory (for example, /usr/local/maple/bin) to your command search path.




When the first Maple session opens, a Start Page displays shortcuts to useful tasks and topics.
To start a Maple session:
•

In the Start Page, select New Document or New Worksheet. A blank document displays.

or
•

From the File menu, select New, and then either Document Mode or Worksheet Mode. A blank document displays.

Every time you open a document, Maple displays a Quick Help popup list of important shortcut keys. To invoke Quick Help at any time, press the F1 key.
You can opt to start Maple with a blank document instead of the start page. You can also replace the default start page with a custom start page. For instructions, refer to the startpage help page.
To invoke the Start Page at any time, click the home button (
) on the worksheet toolbar.

Document and Worksheet Modes


Maple offers two modes, Document Mode and Worksheet Mode. Using either mode, you can create high quality interactive mathematical documents. Each mode offers the same features and functionality; the only difference is the default input region of each mode.

Document Mode


Document mode uses Document Blocks as the default input region to hide Maple syntax. A Document Block region is indicated by two triangles located in the vertical Markers column along the left pane of the Maple Document,
. If the Markers column is not visible, open the View menu and select Markers. This allows you to focus on the problem instead of the commands used to solve the problem. For example, when using context menus on Maple input in Document mode (invoked by rightclicking or Controlclicking for Macintosh), input and output are connected using an arrow or equal sign with selfdocumenting text indicating the calculation that had taken place. The command used to solve this expression is hidden.
To create a new document, select File → New → Document Mode.


Worksheet Mode


Worksheet mode uses a Maple prompt as the default input region. The Maple input prompt is a red angle bracket,
. When using context menus on input in Worksheet mode, all commands are displayed.
To create a new worksheet, select File → New → Worksheet Mode.


Full Flexibility in Either Mode


Regardless of which mode you begin working in, you have the opportunity to use both document blocks and command prompts.
For example, you can hide commands in Worksheet Mode by adding a document block from the Format menu, Format → Create Document Block (see Document Blocks), or you can show commands in Document mode by adding a Maple prompt from the Insert menu, Insert → Execution Group → Before / After Cursor (see Input Prompt).
This chapter discusses features common to both modes. Specific aspects of Document mode are explained in Document Mode, and aspects of Worksheet mode are explained in Worksheet Mode.




Entering 2D Math


In Maple, the default format for entering mathematical expressions is 2D Math. This results in mathematical expressions that are equivalent to the quality of math found in textbooks. Entering 2D Math in Maple is done using common key strokes or palette items. For more information on palettes, see Palettes. An example of entering an expression using common key strokes is presented in the following section. An example of entering an expression using palette items is presented in Example 3  Enter an Expression Using Palettes.

Common Operations


Entering mathematical expressions, such as , , and is natural in 2D Math.
To enter a fraction:
2.

Press the forward slash (/) key.

3.

Enter the denominator.

4.

To leave the denominator, press the right arrow key.

To enter a power:
2.

Press the caret (^) key.

3.

Enter the exponent, which displays in math as a superscript.

4.

To leave the exponent, press the right arrow key.

To enter a product:
1.

Enter the first factor.

2.

Press the asterisk (*) key, which displays in 2D Math as a dot, .

3.

Enter the second factor.

Implied Multiplication:
In most cases, you do not need to include the multiplication operator, . Insert a space character between two quantities to multiply them.
Note: In some cases, you do not need to enter the multiplication operator or a space character. For example, Maple interprets a number followed by a variable as multiplication.
Important: Maple interprets a sequence of letters, for example, xy, as a single variable. To specify the product of two variables, you must insert a space character (or multiplication operator), for example, x y or . For more information, refer to the 2DMathDetails help page.


Shortcuts for Entering Mathematical Expressions


Table 1.1: Common Keystrokes for Entering Symbols and Formats 
Symbol/Formats

Key

Example

implicit multiplication

Space key


explicit multiplication

* (asterisk)


fraction

/ (forward slash)


exponent (superscript)

^ (Shift + 6 or caret key)


indexed subscript

Ctrl+_ (Command+_, Macintosh)


literal subscript (subscripted variable name)

__ (two underscores)


navigating expressions

Arrow keys


command / symbol completion

•

Esc, Macintosh,Windows, and UNIX

•

Ctrl + Shift + Space, UNIX



square root

sqrt and then command completion


exponential function

exp and then command completion


enter / exit 2D Math

•

Math and Text icons in the toolbar


versus 1/4

required for products of numbers
use the right arrow key to leave a denominator, superscript, or subscript region
for more information, see Command Completion .


For a complete list of shortcut keys, refer to the 2D Math Shortcut Keys and Hints help page. For information on the Maple Help System, see The Maple Help System.


Example 1  Enter and Evaluate an Expression Using Keystrokes


Review the following example:
In this example, you will enter and evaluate the expression.
Action

Result in Document

To enter the expression:


2.

Press Shift + 6 (the ^ or caret key). The cursor moves to the superscript position.





4.

Press the right arrow key. The cursor moves right and out of the superscript position.







7.

Press Shift + 6 to move to the superscript position.



8.

Enter 2 and press the right arrow key.



9.

With the mouse, select the expression that will be the numerator of the fraction.



10.

Enter the / symbol. The cursor moves to the denominator, with the entire expression in the numerator.





12.

Press the right arrow key to move right and out of the denominator position.



To evaluate the expression and display the result inline:
13.

Press Ctrl + = (Command + =, Macintosh).


=



    