The TI-83 Plus Graphic Calculator is a necessary tool for any high school or college-age student taking any advanced level of math. This article will help you learn to use the most basic functions of your TI-83 Plus graphing calculator with ease, and set you on your path to a successful user experience.
1. Turning Your Calculator On and Off: The "On" and "Off" button for the the TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator is, in fact the same button. You might be saying wait! I can turn it on easy enough using that button on the lower left-hand corner of the machine, but when I press it again, it won't turn off! Have no fear. Meet the "2nd" key. This is that little yellow button on the top left corner of the calculator. Notice that right above the "On" button is the word "Off" in yellow letters. We'll talk about what that means in a moment. For now, just press the yellow "2nd" key, then press the "On" button again. Voila! You have turned off the machine.
2. Using the 2nd Key:Remember how the word "Off" was written in Yellow above the "On" button? This is because the "off" function of the calculator uses the yellow "2nd" key to work. If each button only had one function, the calculator would have to be twice its size to do all of the same stuff. This is why most of the buttons have more than one purpose. To get the calculator to perform any of the functions written in yellow above the keys, all you need to do is to first press the "2nd" key. Then, the button associated with that function. It's that easy!
3. Using the Alpha key:In addition to most of the keys having multiple functions assigned to them, many of them also have letters of the alphabet assigned to them as well. These are meant to be used as variables in equations and whatnot. They are written in green above the keys that they are associated with. To access the alphabet letters, simply press the green "Alpha" key, and then press the button associated with the letter you need.
4. Alpha Lock:Sometimes, you may need to type a whole word, and hitting the "2nd" key before each letter can become quite tiresome. To access the "Alpha Lock" mode, simply hit the "2nd" key, and then the "Alpha" key. Then, you can type in alphabet letters without pressing the 2nd key anymore. To exit the alpha lock mode, you will dimply press "2nd" and "Alpha" again, and your calculator will resume its default functions.
5. Using the Enter key:You may have noticed by now that, unlike a normal four-function calculator, your TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator doesn't have an "=" button. The equal function has been assigned to the "Enter" key, which you will find at the bottom right hand corner of the calculator. After you type a problem into the calculator, you will then hit the "Enter" key to tell the calculator to find a solution. Nothing could be easier than that.