Maple New User tips

Don't freak out, this may seem overwhelming but you can fumble around playing with Maple as you learn slowly.

When you open Maple you have a choice between Document mode and Worksheet Mode. I always advise my students to choose Worksheet Mode which is more structured with Math Input regions signaled by a prompt ">" and indented blue output regions, and one can introduce Text regions with the "T" icon on the toolbar. There is also a 3 minute Document Mode introductory video on the opening Maple page. Worksheet mode helps you familiarize yourself with Maple commands which are needed for more sophisticated calculations that the palettes and context sensitive menu cannot directly handle.

Maple opening page


The palettes on the left margin can be opened and closed by clicking on the toggle arrow at the top left of the header. Left clicking and dragging enables you to reorder them so that the useful palettes are at the top:
Common Symbols

and I then have Greek to insert math symbols tied to those letters. Then open them up so they are ready to use (at least the first three):

useful palettes

You can also drag the right edge left or right to have more palette region visible or more worksheet screen as needed.

The toolbars at the top eventually will become more understandable.

maple toolbars

is familiar from all software.
Edit enables editing depending on the context.
View allows you to choose additional palettes, and Sections, Expand All or Collapse All.
Insert allows you to insert Sections or text.
Format don't worry about for now.
Tools allows you to load packages of commands or open Tutor popup windows for a guided activity.
Help gives you access to Help and if the cursor is on a Maple command, gives Help on that command.

The first default toolbar has typical software icons, plus T for introducing a text comment, ">" to introduce a new prompt for math input, indent and outdent to create a section or undo it, !!! to execute the entire worksheet, ! to execute a selected region, Zoom in and out magnifiers for the Maple inside window.

The second default toolbar line is context dependent and changes when for a plot. It has first a toggle for switching to math input in text mode and back for in line math expressions in a comment, or to switch to character input mode after the prompt in math input mode (don't worry about the latter). The rest are for typical word processing changes which are not needed for beginner users.

All this seems overwhelming BUT none is essential, with time you will begin to see the utility of some of these choices.

The key thing for new users is to realize that by using the palettes together with the context sensitive menu at the right margin (toggle to be visible or hidden with the << or >> icons at the top), you can do most of the simple operations needed for the calculus, differential equations and linear algebra course sequence. Slowly playing around you can build up confidence in this activity.

Here is an example of using the context sensitive menu for plotting an expression

maple plot window

The cursor (blue shading) is on the output and I clicked on the plot icon on the context sensitive menu on the right margin (notice the >> icon to hide this menu) and it produced a default plot window from -10 to 10 on the horizontal axis. Plot Builder is a better choice because it allows you to choose the window before plotting as well as the vertical range when necessary etc. In Worksheet mode, Maple inserts the command "plot" which accomplishes this, but without showing the horizontal range option. Eventually you will learn the full command is the following

> plot(x2, x = -10..10)

but you can right click on the plot to get a menu to select Axes, then Properties, and you will see the horizontal minimum and maximum range values to edit.

maple plot popup menu

maple plot popup menu

PlotBuilder instead immediately allows you to choose the horizontal window, try it.

When you left click on the plot region, the tool bar changes to offer plot options.

maple plot toolbar

The 1-1 icon forces equal tickmark units on horizontal and vertical axes, while the next to last black grid puts a grid background to see how the curve fits into the coordinate grid. You can also right click and change the cursor properties.

plot popup cursor menu

If you select Cursor position you can read off the location of cross hairs which appear at the cursor position, or the nearest point on a graph etc.

Instead the Manipulator choice allows you to zoom in, selecting a zoom region with the mouse selecting a region, or to Pan (move the plot window)
plot window Manipulator menu

It is easier to watch someone do this. Really with time, you can easily do this stuff. For the moment just be open to playing with Maple to see how it can help you with all the mathematical calculations you need to do.