# PTC Mathcad: Two Valuable Features You May Be Overlooking

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**Guest post by Cat McClintock**

PTC Mathcad is powerful engineering math software, and the people who use it love it. But Tim Bond, Application Engineer, says many remain in the dark about certain areas of the software that could prove valuable to them – specifically, how to fully make use of symbolics and the Excel integration.

Here are Bond’s tips for getting more from the software you already have:

Symbolics

Everybody uses the numeric portion of the robust PTC Mathcad math engine. They type in a single equation, or a series of equations, press equals, and are presented with a scalar value or a matrix of values.

What many users are unaware of is the fact PTC Mathcad is capable of return answers symbolically. Often a numeric result doesn’t tell the entire story, which is where a symbolic representation comes in handy.

One example of this is data regression. I can add a trend line to my data, whether it’s a polynomial fit, a power fit, etc. and see a numerical curve, without knowing the equation that represents the curve.

Using the symbolics engine I can actually represent the trend line with an equation, giving me visibility to the curve and the equation that defines the curve.

Symbolics also come in handy when there are no numbers. Math you find yourself doing on a piece of paper or with a graphing calculator can very easily be performed by PTC Mathcad symbolics engine. From basic algebraic manipulation commands, to advanced Inverse Laplace Transforms, PTC Mathcad’s symbolic engine can help you solve equations and discover relationships and correlations between variables that are far from straightforward when done by hand.

If you’re not already familiar with it, watch the video below for an introduction to symbolics.

Excel Component

Although we recommend engineers use PTC Mathcad to perform their engineering calculations, we realize that Microsoft Excel does a few things that complement PTC Mathcad very well. This is why, PTC Mathcad allows you to embed an Excel spreadsheet into your PTC Mathcad document.

By using the Excel component you can display tabular data from other sources in your PTC Mathcad document. For example, if technical specifications of a part were in an embedded Excel component, you could dynamically pull specs from the spreadsheet into your PTC Mathcad worksheet, add unit intelligence, and use them in your downstream PTC Mathcad calculations.

Other times, displaying your PTC Mathcad calculation results in a table is desired. Your entire PTC Mathcad worksheet could feed into an Excel component to summarize the calculations. Even add some conditional formatting to give the numbers some aesthetic significance. Using the Excel component, you get the best of both worlds; the calculation transparency, documentation, and units intelligence of PTC Mathcad, and the tabular presentation of Excel.

Watch the video below for an introduction to the Excel Component.