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How to Use the Basic Functions of a Graphing Calculator

Going from a pocket calculator to a graphing calculator can be as daunting as going from a skateboard to a car. Make the jump and learn the basics of using a graphing calculator.


  • Step 1: Turn it on and off Turn on the graphing calculator by hitting the On button and turn it off by holding down the 2nd key and pressing the On button.
  • Step 2: Lighten and darken Lighten and darken the screen by the pressing the 2nd button and simultaneously pressing either the Up or Down arrow.
  • Step 3: Use multiple functions Use the multiple functions of the buttons. Press a button to use the function written on the button, and hold the 2nd key while pressing a button to use the function written above the button.
  • TIP: Some graphing calculators also have a third function that can be accessed by holding down the Alpha key while pressing the button.
  • Step 4: Open the menu Access the calculator's menu by pressing the button labeled Mode. Then move the cursor with the arrow keys, pressing Enter to change settings.
  • Step 5: Type equations Type equations on the main screen the way they would look if you were writing them, and press Enter to display the answer. Follow the order of operations when entering equations.
  • TIP: Use parentheses to break up the equation in the order each part should be solved. Operations inside parentheses are completed first.
  • Step 6: Clear Erase unwanted items on the screen by hitting the Clear button.
  • Step 7: Graph Graph an equation by pressing Y=. Then type the equation and press the Graph button.
  • Step 8: Adjust the graph Adjust the picture of the graph by pressing the Window button. Adjust the values of the x and y axes and the x and y minimum to show key aspects of the graph.
  • FACT: Casio produced the world's first graphing calculator, the fx-7000G in 1985.

You Will Need

  • Graphing calculator
  • Understanding of the order of operations

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