Getting Started with Maple

This tutorial assumes you Maple V, version 5.1, running … Using mathematical software for UNIX, after you’ve finished with this tutorial. …. Maple is a computer program for people doing mathematics.

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What is Maple?
Using Maple to do your calculations should make the work more interesting, allow you to focus more on the concepts, and help you to avoid silly calculation mistakes.
How to use this tutorial
This tutorial assumes that you are running Maple V release 5.1 in one of the previously listed environments. If you are using a character-based terminal, for example in a telnet session, the Maple commands will be the same although the interface is different (no mouse, no menus, and typewriter graphics). If you are using Maple over telnet, ssh, or through any other terminal, you may wish to read Using Math Software under UNIX after you are done with this tutorial.
Where can I find Maple?
Maple is available in all IUB Student Technology Centers.
On NT (PC) computers, go to Start Menu -> Programs -> Statistics and Math -> Maple V Release 5.1 -> Maple V Release 5.1.
On Macintosh computers, go to Apple Menu -> Statistics and Math -> Maple V Release 5.1 (PowerPC).
On UNIX workstations, the X windows version is invoked by the command xmaple &.
Maple is also available on most IU central systems – see the Availability page.
How to start and exit Maple
To start maple:
On NT (PC) computers, go to Start Menu -> Programs -> Statistics and Math -> Maple V Release 5.1 -> Maple V Release 5.1.
On Macintosh computers, go to Apple Menu -> Statistics and Math -> Maple V Release 5.1 (PowerPC).
On UNIX workstations, the X windows version is invoked by the command xmaple &.
To exit Maple, choose File -> Exit or type exit;.
Finding your way around the window
The Toolbar
First of all, locate the toolbar at the top of the window. On NT, it looks like this:
Other operating systems have a similar toolbar.
Every time you work with maple, you will use a \’worksheet\’. The worksheet is the big, blank area in the
middle of the screen. You may have more than one worksheet open at a time. The following toolbar
buttons let you work with the worksheet.
The first four buttons on the toolbar, in order, do the following: open a new, blank
worksheet; open an existing worksheet; save the current worksheet; and print the
current worksheet.
The next three buttons are the standard cut, copy, and paste functions.
The next two buttons let you \’undo\’ and \’redo\’ your last action.
The next three buttons let you manage what \’mode\’ Maple is currently in. The standard mode is represented by the capital Sigma button. This means that anything you type will be considered to be mathematical input. If you click the capital T, Maple switches to Text mode. Anything you type will be considered as text commentary, and Maple won\’t try to treat it as math. To switch back to math input mode, click the [>button. Notice that the prompt in the worksheet window changes to let you know what mode you are in.

The next two buttons let you un-indent and indent lines in your worksheet.
The next button has a stop sign on it. It is used as a \’panic\’ button. If you start a computation and you would like to stop, click the stop sign. (Cntl-C will also do this.)
The next three buttons control the amount of zoom.
The Kernel
The kernel is the part of Maple that does the actual calculation. The kernel is invisible, but you do need to know about it. You talk to the kernel by typing mathematical statements and commands at the Maple prompt. Here is an example. If you\’re using a graphics-enabled browser, you\’ll notice that input appears in red. Output from the kernel appears in blue, with variable names in italics.
The Maple prompt looks like [>. The kernel will execute when you press the Enter key. The kernel decides what to execute by looking at the current execution group. An execution group is a set of input lines connected (along the left-hand margin) by a long, thin [. When you press Enter anywhere in the execution group, the entire group is executed. By default, each input line (along with its output) is an execution group unto itself. You can join execution groups together using the F4 key, or split them apart using the F3 key.
Execution only occurs when you press the Enter key, or if you choose
Edit->Execute->Worksheet. Execution does not occur when you open a worksheet.
The worksheet is the basic unit of work in Maple, like a document in a word processor. A worksheet stores every line of input and every line of output.
To save your worksheet, choose File->Save As.
To open a worksheet, choose File->Open.
You may have more than one worksheet open at a time. However, they all share the same kernel. So any work you do in one worksheet is accessible from another open worksheet. This can lead to confusing results.

Using the Help System
Maple has an extremely in-depth help system. To access it, choose Help -> Topic Search. Enter the word you are looking for (e.g., matrix) and you should see a list of topics. Clicking on one will open a \’help browser\’, a window that lets you wander through related topics. We suggest that you \’surf\’ the help system – casually browse, looking at anything that seems interesting. That way you will have some idea of what is available to you in the future.
If you know exactly what you need help on, you may also type (in Maple) > ? simplify (for example) to get help on the Maple command \’simplify\’.
A very useful feature of the help system is the examples section. Use the Edit->Copy Examples menu command to copy the examples. Then switch to your worksheet (or open a fresh one) and use the Edit->Paste menu command. Now you can execute the examples, and experiment until you are comfortable with the commands.
Maple Syntax and Built-in Data Capabilities
As with any computer language, Maple has its own syntax. As a new user of Maple, you can save yourself a lot of head-scratching if you get to know these symbols.
Enter the commands given or make up similar problems.

Some syntactical caveats:
Maple is case sensitive. foo, Foo, and FOO are three different things.
Using the % operator can give confusing results. It always returns the last output from the Kernel, which may have nothing to do with where the cursor is (or which worksheet is active).
If Maple doesn\’t recognize something, it will assume it is a variable. For example, typing i^2 will give you i2, while you may have wanted -1. You can move your cursor up to a previous line, press Enter, and the line will re-execute. When copying and pasting using a mouse, by sure to also highlight the execution group symbol ([). If you don\’t, the lines will be pasted in reverse order due to a bug.
Spaces are optional.
Greek letters may be entered by spelling their name. For example, alpha is always displayed as , and Gamma is displayed as (note upper-case).
Built-in Data Capabilities
Maple can handle arbitrary-precision floating point numbers. In other words, Maple can store as many digits for a number as you like, up to the physical limits of your computer\’s memory. To control this, use the Digits variable.

You can control where plots are drawn by choosing Options->Plot Display->Inline or Window. Either way, if you select a plot with the mouse, you can use the toolbar to change the rendering style, axes, and lighting.
To copy a plot to the clipboard (as a graphics file), right-click (or Option-Click for Mac users) on the plot and select Copy.
Look into these commonly used plotting commands:
textplot, textplot3d Draw text anywhere in a plot display
Display several plots at once animate, animate3d Adds a dimension of time to your plot.
Various options, including line weight, color, sampling, etc.
Further Reading
For further guidance as a new user, try the tour. Choose Help->New User\’s Tour.
Other sources of information include:

Download Getting Started with Maple pdf from, 10 pages, 132.7KB.