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# Alternate software to MathCad Prime6

## Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
Anyone have any alternatives to Mathcad Prime by PTC.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

There is a Mathcad forum on this site, but nevertheless, lots of people still use Mathcad 15, or even earlier.

SMath Studio is very similar to Mathcad, pre-Prime, and has being free going for it.

There are other programs that will give you Mathcad-like printouts, but not similar user interfaces, though. What are your requirements?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
If I could get Mathcad 13 to work on my new machine I would be ecstatic. I needs are fairly basic.
Make printouts of math that look like textbook equations so that you do not need to be an excel nerd to read them.
Be able to do basic programing to find controlling limit states.
be able to show or hide sections of sheet so that I show what I want to present to the AHJ but not overwhelm them with equations.
Be able to format the text and equations to look the way I want them to appear.

I looked at SMath but the output looks very "spread-sheety"

I have attached a simple calc sheet that has the look I like.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

#### Quote (Haydenwise)

If I could get Mathcad 13 to work on my new machine I would be ecstatic

I have an out of the box suggestion for your. Install a virtual machine on your computer and install whatever operating system works for MathCAD 13 there, along with mathcad. I do this and it works great. Of course, I don't have an IT department that I have to cajole into doing exotic things.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
I no longer have working disks for Mathcad. For some reason the last time I tried to install they would not read.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

I have a true love / hate relationship with MathCAD.

I love the programs for some of the calculations I do. Just very easy to use, and intuitive.... Though it has gotten less so over the years.

I hate all the games the company plays:
a) They're constantly changing their file format, so that the newer versions can't open older files.
b) No backwards compatibility at all. A way to force customers to upgrade if they need to read someone else's file.
c) A single license on one computer isn't terribly expensive. But, they really, really charge you if you want to turn that single copy into a single concurrent license over a network.

Back when I was at RISA, I suggested creating a RISACalc package that would do the basics of what MathCAD did. Just give a simple program for writing equations, formatting and citing equations in a WYSIWYG interface. I thought it would be great to tie into RISA input/output. But, management had no interest in the concept.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

Now, I tend to use Excell and SMath. I see little or no reason to use MathCAD and deal with all the frustrations that come from dealing with that company.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

I'm running Mathcad 14 on Windows 10 with no issues. Mathcad 15 had a change in the license processor, so it's more likely to hang.

@Haydenwse Not sure what you mean; Smath's raison d'etre is to duplicate Mathcad's WYSIWYG interface, and I think I can duplicate everything in the snippet you show. I try to post something tonight

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

Hayenwse:
I was able to make an SMath file that looked pretty close to what you showed.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

SMath because it's free and WYSIWYG
Or modify your Excel workflow to be really transparent by:
-stacking calculation blocks
-using switch cells instead of multiple nested IF clauses
-using named variables, especially for unit conversions

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

I have no experience with SMath and never really got into MathCAD, but you can make a sheet look very similar to that in Excel. VBA is pretty simple to learn and can give you some powerful automation. And the Office equation editor will allow you to produce the "textbook" looking equations. Align them with the cell in question, program the VBA/embedded formulas to display in that cell, and boom - you've got a professional looking calc sheet.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

I don't have a copy of the PCI Manual. Can someone post a picture of what the variables are in Hadenwse's posting?

If you don't want to show calcs in SMath... just move them off the page... the calculations work but don't show up in the printed copy.

Dik

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
IRstuff, I have not seen any printouts from Smath as was basing my assumption on the screen shots that they have on their web page. This was all that I saw and it is pretty clunky and hard to read. Does it allow for Boolean functions to find controlling limit states?
The problem that I have with Mathcad is that they no longer have perpetual licenses and the basic Subscription is now close to $700/year. That is$150 more than a couple of years ago and if you do not pay their extorsion each year, you get locked out of your created work. They know that once they have you on the hook, it becomes too painful to loose your content so you will be forced to pay.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

Haydenwse: "IRstuff, I have not seen any printouts from Smath as was basing my assumption on the screen shots that they have on their web page."

Bad example... I'll try coding your stuff using the format I usually use. Forgot to thank you for the added info...

Dik

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
Thanks. Can you add any graphic files for details from AutoCAD or other sources?

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

I think the only way to get graphics into SMath is through cutting and pasting screen snips.

SMath is a free program, so it can be a little clunky at times; but once you get used to the input style and adjusting the units it is great. The more I use it, the more I like it.

If you download SMath Studio and like it, then please consider donating a few dollars to the software developer. He/She uses the money for new features. They have a donation button on their website.

https://en.smath.com/view/SMathStudio/summary

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

This is the way I usually write SMath programs. There's an error and I couldn't find the formulae in the posted sheets. Data seems to be right but different numbers.

Dik

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

Didn't try to duplicate everything, and admittedly, the math font is pretty lame, and there's no fix for that yet.

By the way, I noticed you're not using units. Any particular reason for that? That's THE REASON Mathcad is so useful, since it seamlessly deals with units.

I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

IRS: Vvf works... and steel_check works... it's the concrete part that I have difficulty with... either not reading the data correctly or the formula is pooched.

As for fonts, the SMath is poor... but I've imported font from LibreOffice and use it for headings and notes. You can see the difference in the headings and the numerics. I generally write stuff in Imperial and SI because I don't know who will look at it. Been playing engineer for over 50 years and although I work in both systems... I only think and see things in Imperial. If it's an SI beam, I have to convert it to Imperial to see that it works...

Dik

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

After many years with MathCad we are switching to SMath
I think Mathcad commited suicide :(

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

I've used MathCad practically since it was born. I use MathCad 15 on Windows 10 with no issues. It's like an old axe with a handle worn smooth with use and a blade honed for my use. I have my own perpetual permanent license that I keep moving from machine to machine and hard drive to hard drive. I try every other version of Prime but I have too large an investment in M15 files that I really don't want to take the time to convert to Prime. I'm old and lazy in that respect. Too old and lazy in fact to even learn SMath although I have it on my current computer. Excel even with addons is too clunky and unreliable for me.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

#### Quote (IFRs)

Too old and lazy in fact to even learn SMath although

well it is basically the same as mathcad...takes 10 minutes to learn
I am running both ...Mathcad for the existing files...but new stuff I do in SMath

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

Found one error... (phi)Vns should be (phi)Vnc... downloaded image the s looked like a c.

Dik

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
I will download it and take it for a spin. Does it have a tutorial or any basic how-to to get the basics?

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
There appears to be 4 different versions available for download. Which one do I want for a Win-10 PC?
They have SMath Studio Desktop and SMath Studio Desktop for Mono version 0.99.7030 and a beta release 0.99.7251

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

I did the first one (not Mono) and it worked fine.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

you want the top one SMath Studio Desktop ( the 2.24 MB one)

I could't find very many tutorials other than their Wiki and Forums, it is very much a learn by doing software package.

The Mono version is for Linux users.

My Personal Open Source Structural Applications:
https://github.com/buddyd16/Structural-Engineering

Open Source Structural GitHub Group:
https://github.com/open-struct-engineer

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

After a bit of prodding by dik a while ago I started using SMath. With a bit of practice I am quite pleased. The Mathcad gang seems to have dropped the ball.

Here is an example of one of my sheets that I have been working on.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

it also runs as an App on the smartphone....

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

@Brad805: thanks for the sample. I was considering asking someone if they could post a sample of what a dolled up, final form calc looks like in SMath. What you've accomplished would suit my needs with the grid turned off.

@Everybody: this thread is getting me close to the critical mass of interest that I need to look into this. I do have a few more questions:

1) Are there decent matrix/array handling functions?

2) Are there numerical equation solving algorithms like Solve Blocks in MathCAD?

3) Are there functions allowing one to display calculated data in a tabulated form?

4) Are their eigenvalue calculation tools?

5) What do we know about the longevity of the SMath enterprise? I don't want to sink a bunch of effort into switching over only to find that, five years from now, there's no more SMath because the developers graduated high school and got real jobs. Not that I trust MathCAD in the longevity department these days...

Yes, I could indeed conduct my own research to figure these things out if I were so inclined. I won't be any time soon.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
At least this way it is perpetual. Mathcad is subscription only now so if you do not pay the annual extorsion, your coach turns into a pumpkin!

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

Haydenwse: "Thanks. Can you add any graphic files for details from AutoCAD or other sources?"

It's easy... draw the detail in autocad and print it as a *.pdf. Use a free program such as Paint.net and load the *.pdf. Trim it to size and shrink it a bit and make the background transparent and export it as a *.png file. Then import the *.png file into SMath...

See the attached... I have to modify the variables to suit the data of the program. The image is actually clear in the program... don't know why it's fuzzy when *.png is uploaded.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

I kept off that treadmill and have a single user perpetual license for M15, good forever AFAIK. No subscriptions, no need to have internet access to use it, no sunset date. They keep trying to get me to try Prime but I really don't like the whole subscription model everyone uses.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

IFRs:

It may be that at some date, even though you have the program, they can just cut you off.

Dik

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

IRstuff, thanks for pointing out SMath. MathCAD has some disadvantages as others have mentioned and this is a great alternative. I am amazed that it is free.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
dik: "It's easy... draw the detail in AutoCAD and print it as a *.pdf. Use a free program such as Paint.net and load the *.pdf. Trim it to size and shrink it a bit and make the background transparent and export it as a *.png file. Then import the *.png file into SMath..."
Thanks, that is good to know. I make png files directly from Revit using Jing by TechSmith. If you do not have it, you should give it a try. It is a great FREE screen capture software. you can make stills and and text, boxes and arrows. or you can make video captures and load them to the internet.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

Thanks for the added info... rather than screen capture, I 'print' the cad file to a *.pdf and as a vector file, it can be enlarged substantially. I'll take a look at it... occasionally need screen captures. I use PDF Reader from Adobe and one feature I often use is the 'snapshot'.

Dik

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

Not to highjack this thread, but I just put in a request for an eng-tips public forum/group dedicated to SMath. Apparently they charge money to start a group, so this might be a no-go on the group. Maybe they will add the group for free?

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

#### Quote (IFRs)

I kept off that treadmill and have a single user perpetual license for M15, good forever AFAIK.

well it is good as long as it runs..but someday there might me a change in Windows10 or other things an older program stop running :(

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

furthermore Google : "SMath video tutorial"

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
Does SMAth have collapsible areas where you can place background info or calcs but that do not show on the printout?

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

Thanks IRS... I didn't know that... just been pulling them off the page. That plug-in sounds good; have you tried the excel plug-ins?

Dik

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

Absolutely, the collapsible areas are great for hiding scratch work or the matrix stuff that you still want to be able to access digitally.

KootK, I'm no matrix/vector math guru, but it has the basics down just fine.

I'm not aware of a built-in solve block, but wouldn't be surprised if a solve block like plugin was out there.

As far as longevity -- we know as much as any other software. It seems this is a hobby for the creator. It's not open source, but he has stated in the past that if development were to stop, he'd make the source available in some form. So overall, I feel good about SMath despite sharing your general wariness in that regard.

----
just call me Lo.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

I'm out of the office at the moment, but intend to put some basic calcs on the open source repository soon.

----
just call me Lo.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

Lomarandil:

"KootK, I'm no matrix/vector math guru, but it has the basics down just fine."

and not only that, you can have different units for the matrix columns.

Dik

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
Does SMAth have any abilities to migrate old Mathcad sheets to SMath?

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
I tried to open a few of my old Mathcad files and none of them worked but it did bring in most of the stuff so it is a big leg up in getting them rebuilt. It also will force me to give them a top-to-bottom rethink which isn't a bad thing to do from time to time.

### RE: Alternate software to MathCad Prime

(OP)
I looking at my old Mathcad files translated into SMath it appears that most of the errors are due to it thinking that variables are units. Is there a way to turn off units? Someone earlier asked why I didn't use units and that is why. I like to use variables as close to the ones in textbook and code equations that the units seem to mess that up.
The other errors were from the logic blocks. They did not seem to translate at all.

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