Back

Help

Solver at a glance


Additional hints:


The Simplify operation will take any single expression and simplify it according to standard College Algebra rules.
The Expand operation requires entry of an 'expandable' expression. This means that the entered expression must contain a power or a product of terms.
The Factor operation requires entry of a factorable expression. This means that the entered expression must be a sum of terms.
It is important to note that equality or inequality symbols (=, <, >, <=, >=) cannot be used with the 'Simplify' operation. The reason for this is that equations and inequalities must be solved, not simplified.
The Solve and Graph operations can be used with equations, inequalities, and systems. This means that an equality or inequality symbol (=, <, >, <=, >=) must be present in your entry.
Solver can solve and graph a large variety of single equations and inequalities (linear, quadratic, special cases of higher order equations, rational, radical etc.). Systems of equations are restricted to linear ones. However, non-linear systems (both of equations and inequalities) can be graphed.
The Solve and Graph operations can be used for a large variety of single equations and inequalities (linear, quadratic, special cases of higher order equations, rational, radical, etc.). However, systems of equations are restricted to linear systems. Finally, systems of equations and inequalities may always be solved graphically, even if non-linear.
When graphing multiple items, you can enter comma-separated equations and inequalities. However you can never have expressions in this mix. Multiple expression entry is appropriate only on the GCF or the LCM page.
Use comma-separation when entering multiple equations, expressions and inequalities (e.g., y=5x, y<2, x>5). Please note, expressions cannot be graphed. Furthermore, multiple expression entry is only appropriate on the GCF and LCM pages.
Note that if you are required to find the LCD (Least Common Denominator), you can either enter the sum of fractions on the Simplify page and identify the denominator (before it gets reduced), or you can enter the denominators only (using comma-separation) on the LCM page.
If you need to graph a function (e.g., f(x)=x2 ) rewrite it as an equation (e.g., y=x2 ), since the general functional notation is not supported. Simply replace the equation's left hand-side with a variable that does not appear in the function definition.

Problem entry at a glance


Additional hints:


More than 90% of problems found in a typical algebra textbook can be entered via the keyboard layout displayed above. If you do need to enter a different variable, a function or a special constant (such as pi), click on one of these buttons: ,  . As soon as you select a different variable from the alternate keyboard, the keyboard reverts to the primary one.
 key remembers the last used variable from the alternate keyboard. This speeds up problem entry by allowing you to stay on the main keyboard screen.
 and   keys allow you to move throughout the expression, one character at a time. For faster (but less precise movement) you can position the cursor with a press of the finger. These keys are also used to 'exit' exponents, denominators and parentheses.
 needs to be used to separate equations or inequalities when a system is being solved or graphed. It also needs to be used to separate multiple expressions in GCF and LCM problems.
Fractions can be entered in two different ways. If you have not yet begun your entry, your best option is to use the fraction template , and then "fill in" both the numerator and denominator. If, in contrast, you have already started the fraction (e.g. in a+bc you want bc to be the fraction's numerator), the easiest way to complete it is to use the division symbol . If your numerator or denominator is complex, we highly recommend using the fraction template (otherwise, you need to enclose the numerator and/or denominator in parentheses so that the complex expression is interpreted as a single expression in the numerator or denominator).
Always be aware of which part of the expression your cursor is in. For example, if you type in x^2 to raise x to the power of 2 (x2 ), make sure to 'exit' the exponent before adding another term (e.g. x2+2x2 ). Unless the exponent is exited via the key, your entry will actually be x2+2x.
When you click on the parentheses key , both left and right parentheses are created and cursor is placed inside them. Once you are finished typing the parenthesized expression, use the to exit the parentheses. The same procedure applies to the absolute value key .
In order to use the subscript key , you already need to have the variable (without its subscript) typed in. For example, to type x5, first type 'x', then click , and then enter '5' in the provided subscript. The key can then be used to 'exit' the subscript position.
The square root is located on the primary keyboard layout. If you need the cube root , please select the function keyboard layout. For higher radical indexes use the exponential notation (e.g. x1/4 should be used to enter 'fourth root').
If your device is small (3'' to 4'' diagonally), landscape mode will most likely enable you to enter math expressions with more precision (because of wider keys). For 'tall' expressions (e.g., complex fraction), the portrait mode will provide a better viewing experience.

Last, but not least, be aware that you are using a web site, not an app. The keyboard response will not be as instantaneous as it would be with a native keyboard. While the delay should not be significant, it will interfere with speed-typing (which you probably want to avoid anyway, while trying to enter a complex math expression).

Also, please be aware of the fact that fast typing on your Android device may be interpreted as a 'double-tap', which will unnecessarily zoom in the keyboard.

Steps at a glance


Additional hints:


You can obtain an explanation for any step by clicking on it. Please note that you cannot click on the very first expression, which is the original problem.
Sometimes the solution process is quite lengthy and will not fit on your screen. If this is the case, drag the steps up to reach the bottom of the solution process, where you will find the final result.
If you are not satisfied with the number of solution steps displayed (either too many steps or too few), click on the Options button to adjust the number of steps to be shown. On the same screen, you can select integer or real arithmetics to be used during the solution process (e.g., x=1/2 vs. x=0.5). It is important to understand that if integer arithmetics is chosen, then all decimal numbers will be converted to integer fractions as part of the solution process. This may produce a solution that is long and somewhat confusing.
Pressing the Edit button will take you back to the problem entry screen, where you can edit and re-solve the existing problem. If you need to enter an entirely different problem or change the operation (e.g., from Simplify to Solve), press the Solver's Home button. This will take you back to the main operations menu.

Explanations at a glance


Additional hints:


Quite often, several transformations will be performed within the same step. Use the explanation navigation buttons to step through all of them.
When the explanation window is too tall, you may not be able to see the explanation navigation buttons. Simply drag the explanation up, until navigation comes into view. Explanations are typically best viewed in portrait mode.
You can easily adjust the font used for explanations. Simply open up the Options page when the current font is not appropriate for your device (device physical dimensions are simply too diverse to allow us to pick 'the best font for everyone').