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Mathcad Alternative

Mathcad Alternative

Mathcad Alternative

(OP)
Is there a cheap, er I mean, inexpensive alternative to Mathcad? Pretty much the functionality of Mathcad ver. 6 is all I need.  Something that will let me type in text and free format equations so I can document calculations.

I've recently started at a new company and as the new guy I'm hesitant to suggest something so pricey considering we would probably use a fraction of its capability. Oh, this package would need to be able to handle graphics, like screen shots of a FEA model that you paste in the report.

In case you're wondering, I used Mathcad for many years.  I was using ver. 11 at my old job.  Now I work at a place that uses Word to document their calcs.  Those guys seems to be fine with it but using Word for math is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.
Replies continue below

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RE: Mathcad Alternative

Are you using the Microsoft Equation Editor?  Until I got to your last paragraph, that was what came to mind.  It is certainly cheap.

RE: Mathcad Alternative

Well, apparently TKsolver is superior to Mathcad in every possible fashion, costs less, and will babysit your chidren, while you take your wife out to dinner, and it'll pay the bill.

So, do I get the TKsolver commission?

You could buy Mathcad v6 on ebay.

Cheers

Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: Mathcad Alternative

(OP)
Unless I'm missing something, Microsoft Equation Editor doesn't actually do any math does it? I played with it for a couple of minutes before I posted the question.  It just looks like a way to include "dead" equations into your Word document.  I want something that will actually let you say, for example, a=1, b=2 then if you type in "a+b=" it will put in the 3.  This is a grossly simple example.

Greg, good idea, I just looked on ebay but didn't see anything that looked worthwhile. Most of the stuff is training CD's for Mathcad.  There were also some academics versions of MC13, but I'm not a student or professor.  There was a MC2000 but I recall having a ton of problems with 2000, or was it 2001? or 2001i? I don't remember, but I'm not taking any chances.

I'll take a look at TKsolver. Thanks.

RE: Mathcad Alternative

I own version 2000 professional (commercial) which is a good version and I use it a lot. I also have 2001 (academic) and 12 (commercial) but mostly for file transfer reasons. I used E-bay to buy 2000, and 2001 for less than 100$ each. I bought the 12 for 115$ (without printed documentation) on e-bay from an authorized dealer. You just need to be patient until a good deal is available.

You can legally use academic versions of earlier versions  for commercial work. Before I bought the 2001 academic version I E-mailed Mathsoft and received an E-mail permission/confirmation that this is true. Basically when a new version comes out Mathsoft gives all that left from the academic versions to authorized dealers to openly sell it for commercial use too.

If you have doubts you can call or E-mail Mathsoft and inquire about this.

RE: Mathcad Alternative

Another option is to buy a really old version of mcad dirt cheap, then (assuming it's a legal copy of course!) use that to qualify for the upgrade price for v13.  This can bring the price down from $1000+ to ~$400.  I noticed that someone is selling mcad v4 on ebay, I doubt there will be many bidders...

Also keep your eye on mathsoft's web page, periodically they offer incentives to upgrade.

Peter

RE: Mathcad Alternative

dozer, you are correct about MS equation editor; but from your original post it appeared that all you wanted was to "document calculations", which MS equation editor will do.  If you want something to actually do calculations, then no, MS equation editor is not going to help.

RE: Mathcad Alternative

Use Excel. It can handle all kinds of functions. You can embed it in your docs too. Its not so great to represent the equation but it will document them.

RE: Mathcad Alternative

Hi

Why not get Mathcad it's only around $1,000

RE: Mathcad Alternative

Forgot one other option.  Depending on the level of math you need to document, Studyworks, which is a scaled-down version of Mathcad might be suitable.  It was designed to be an educational tool for students.  The worksheet format is identical, only the functionality is reduced.  But basic math operations and unit conversions are all supported.  Mathsoft no longer maintains the program; it was sold off to a different company.  However, you can still find copies of it for sale, usually for less than $30.

TTFN



RE: Mathcad Alternative

That mupad looks interesting, how much does it cost? It is a pretty interface for the free (excellent) package Scilab.

Has anyone created a pretty interface for Matlab?

I must admit I've never used Matlab or Scilab for symbolic stuff, Mathcad's approach is so much more readable.



Cheers

Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: Mathcad Alternative

MuPad is £285 ($500), I am evaluating it at the moment as a replacement for the extortionate and spyware ridden Mathcad.

RE: Mathcad Alternative

That's a bad rap.  Safecast also happens to make a license server, which is used by Mathcad.  I've run all sorts of spyware detectors and none of them complain about the license server and it installs no other objects, programs or otherwise.  There are some annoying quirks, such as sometimes reporting a much higher usage of disk space than it really uses, though.

TTFN



RE: Mathcad Alternative

Since these organizations are already anti-Safecast and in a competing business, one has to read their missives as containing a certain amount of hyperbole.

I've run Adaware, Norton IS, HijackThis, and Spybot and have found no detections of any Safecast adware on my system.  And, I've had no problems with my CD recorder.

TTFN



RE: Mathcad Alternative

(OP)
AJUK,

Let us know how your evaluation of MuPad goes.  I looked at Scientific Notebook but was fairly underwhelmed. Some things I didn't like about it were the fact that you are always picking buttons to do something instead of just typing.  Also, say you type in an equation and then tell it to evaluate the equation. Now go back to the equation and change something. It doesn't change the evalution! You have to wipe at the evaluation and then tell it to evaluate the modified equation. Maybe there's another way, but if it's no more intuitive than that, no thank you.

Currently, I'm thinking of just asking my boss to get Mathcad. I've tried to be the company man and find something cheaper that would do the job but unless MuPad looks promising I'm gonna throw in the towel.

RE: Mathcad Alternative

dozer,

It is early days for me with MuPad but I hope to give it a tough work out in the coming weeks, I did try over Christmas but you know how it is. smile

IRstuff,

Forgive me if I sound jaded it is just that SafeCast did break my CD Burner. I did upgrade to 13 but then found that I needed to activate every couple of days which became a real pain. Why they just don't use dongles is beyond me. sad

RE: Mathcad Alternative

Dongles break
Dongles walk
Dongles can interfere with other dongles as well the printer


As for v13, you probably need to uninstall, clean the registry and reinstall.

TTFN



RE: Mathcad Alternative

Israelkk,

I just called Mathsoft, and asked if older versions of the Academic Edition can be used commercially, and they said "no".

Do you have a the name of a person I could talk to who may have more information about this?

V

RE: Mathcad Alternative

I bought Scientific Notebook a few years back.  It had some major shortcomings.   You could not have multiple character variables nor multiple character subscripts and you could not redefine a variable later in the calculation - big negatives as far as I am concerned.  I talked to the owner of the company about this at the time.  Maybe they have fixed some of that.  Be sure before you buy.  I took it off my computer.  It is laying around the office somewhere.  Exactly where I don't know and don't care.

DPAJR

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