With most software, it can take time to learn all the ins and outs and little tricks that make using the software easier. Have you ever learned a new keyboard shortcut for a software you’ve been using for years and found it so useful that you’re kicking yourself not learning it earlier? I certainly have. We thought we’d take the time to highlight five tips and tricks for using Maple Learn, so that you can skip the kicking stage and go straight to the using the cool trick stage!
1. Convert math to text
Here’s the trick that I probably use the most: You can press the spacebar in an empty cell to convert it to text. Just like that! No fiddling with menus, no starting to type and then backtracking as you realize all your words are turning into variables. Just a quick space at then beginning, and then you can type as much text as you’d like. Click the text icon on the left to change it back to math if you change your mind.
2. Assigning variables
Have you ever wanted to assign a value to a variable? Who hasn’t? And luckily, Maple Learn makes it easy to do just that. Just use “:=”. For example, you could say “a:=4”. The variable ‘a’ will now have a value of 4 for that group and all subsequent groups. What’s more, a slider will appear, so that you can adjust the value and see how it affects the rest of the document. You can change the range of the slider using the slider settings (that’s the gear) or disable the slider using the Quick Actions menu (that’s the lightbulb). You can also select “Parameterize …” from the Quick Actions menu when you have an expression that contains variables, and sliders will be automatically created for those variables. Another trick to variable assignments is that if you have a table, you can use the header of your table as a variable that contains all the values in that column. No extra work necessary, Maple Learn does this automatically!
3. Order of execution
One handy feature about Maple Learn is that once you’ve assigned values to variables, you can use those variables again for all the groups that come after it. But hold on, I hear you say. How is that order determined? The Maple Learn canvas is dynamic and doesn’t have a set order to it, so which groups are “after”? Well, I’m glad you asked! The small grey number in the top left-hand corner of the group tells you its place in the order. Maple Learn evaluates any assignments according to this order, which means that a variable assigned in group 3 can be used in any group after 3, but not in groups 1 and 2. The order is determined based on where the groups are on the page, starting with 1 in the top-right corner and moving left to right, top to bottom across the page. That means that if you want to change a group’s place to earlier in the order of execution, all you have to do is move the group higher or to the left! The numbers (and thus the order of execution) will update automatically. Handy.
4. “Reset document” vs. “Clear document”
You may have noticed two seemingly similar buttons in the toolbar: “Reset document” and “Clear document”. Here’s a little secret: they do actually do different things! Say you’re looking at a shared document, like one of the ones in our Example Gallery. You can mess around with it as much as you’d like: change values, add groups to the canvas, zoom around on the graph, whatever suits your fancy. But, if you decide that you don’t like your changes and want to go back to the original document, you can hit “Reset document” and presto! Back to the original. And “Clear document” will, of course, clear the document.
5. Using the keyboard
Are you the type of person who would rather use three keyboard commands to perform a single action than go anywhere near a mouse? Well, you’re in luck, because Maple Learn has several keyboard commands you can use to input functions without even thinking about looking at a menu. You can use standard keyboard math notation and Maple Learn will automatically format it as you would expect: ^ for exponents, * for multiplication, / for division, and so on. What’s more, you can enter “sqrt()” to write a square root symbol, and you can type in any trig function and Maple Learn will treat it as that function! You can see a full list of keyboard shortcuts here. All these things are also available through the palette menus, so a variety of workflows are supported.
So there you have it, our top five tricks for using Maple Learn. If you’re looking for a more detailed guide on how to use Maple Learn, check out the How-To pages at the bottom of our Example Gallery. And if you have any tips you’ve found useful for using Maple Learn, let us and your fellow MaplePrimes users know in the comments!