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Ti-84 Plus Graphing Calculator For Dummies

Ti-84 Plus Graphing Calculator For Dummies

3.0 1
by Jeff McCalla, C. C. Edwards

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Get up-to-speed on the functionality of your TI-84 Plus calculator

Completely revised to cover the latest updates to the TI-84 Plus calculators, this bestselling guide will help you become the most savvy TI-84 Plus user in the classroom! Exploring the standard device, the updated device with USB plug and upgraded memory (the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition), and


Get up-to-speed on the functionality of your TI-84 Plus calculator

Completely revised to cover the latest updates to the TI-84 Plus calculators, this bestselling guide will help you become the most savvy TI-84 Plus user in the classroom! Exploring the standard device, the updated device with USB plug and upgraded memory (the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition), and the upcoming color screen device, this book provides you with clear, understandable coverage of the TI-84's updated operating system.

  • Details the new apps that are available for download to the calculator via the USB cable
  • Walks you through menus and basic arithmetic
  • Addresses graphing and analyzing functions as well as probability and statistics functions
  • Explains how to use the calculator for geometry
  • Reviews communicating with PCs and other calculators

TI-84 Plus Graphic Calculator For Dummies, 2nd Edition is the perfect solution for getting comfortable with the new line of TI-84 calculators!

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Ti-84 Plus Graphing Calculator For Dummies

By C. C. Edwards

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-118-59215-1


Starting with the Basics

In This Chapter

* Turning the calculator on and off

* Using the keyboard

* Utilizing the menus

* Setting the mode of the calculator

* Using the Catalog

The most popular calculator in the world just got a makeover! In this book, you find out how to take advantage of the improvements that have been made to the TI-84 Plus, as well as all of the built-in functionality that has not changed. The best way to use your calculator to the fullest is to read this book and start playing with the device.

The TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition graphing calculator is loaded with many useful features. With it, you can solve equations of all types. You can graph and investigate functions, parametric equations, polar equations, and sequences. You can use it to analyze statistical data and to manipulate matrices. You can even use it to calculate mortgage payments.

What if you own the TI-84 Plus and not the TI-84 Plus C? No worries! The vast majority of the steps will be exactly the same for both calculators. You'll see a difference in the appearance of the graph screen — the TI-84 Plus C has a higher resolution color screen. If you own the TI-84 Plus, ignore any steps referencing color and skip Chapter 22 (about inserting color images) altogether.

If you've never used a graphing calculator before, you may at first find it a bit intimidating. After all, it contains about two dozen menus, many of which contain three or four submenus. But it's really not that hard to get used to using the calculator. After you get familiar with what the calculator is capable of doing, finding the menu that houses the command you need is quite easy. And you have this book to help you along the way.

Why Didn't I Think of That?

You may have the same reaction that I did to some of the changes that have been made to the calculator: "Why didn't I think of that?" It's possible that you did actually! Many of the changes to the TI-84 Plus are a direct result of feedback received from teachers and students. After all, Texas Instruments is committed to providing the best tools for the teaching and learning of mathematics and science.

What does the C stand for in TI-84 Plus C? Color! Say goodbye to having trouble distinguishing functions when you're graphing more than one function on the same screen. Although some of the improvements are subtle, you'll notice others the first time you pick up your new calculator. Here's a small sampling of the changes:

[check] New menu options: I love that all additional menu options have been strategically placed at the end of menus. For example, a new option in the Stat CALC menu, QuickPlot & Fit–EQ as illustrated in the first screen in Figure 1-1. Have you memorized keystrokes, like [ZOOM][6] for ZStandard? No problem! The functionality you know hasn't changed.

[check] Status Bar: A quick glance at the top of your screen informs you of the mode settings (like Radian or Degree) as well as a battery status icon. See the top of any of the screens in Figure 1-1. The Status Bar is always there whether you're working on the current line of the Home screen, graph, or table!

[check] Higher resolution LCD backlit screen: Not quite HD quality, but the new screen has more than seven times as many graph area pixels as the original (266×166 versus 96×64)! Plus, you can work on problems at night on a screen that's backlit.

[check] Border on graph screen: Helpful info like function names and coordinates of intersection points are kept separate from the graph, as shown in the second screen in Figure 1-1. Whoever thought of this is brilliant!

[check] Table enhancements: Separator lines and color-coded lists (matching the functions) are more pleasing to the eye. Built-in tips called Context Help are located at the top of the screen, including hints like Press + for ΔTbl. Check out the new table look in the third screen in Figure 1-1.

Think you've seen it all? Not even close. I explain these improvements and much more — just keep reading.

Charging the Battery

The TI-84 Plus C uses a Li–ion battery, similar to the one in your cellphone, that holds a charge for up to two weeks. Texas Instruments (TI) recommends charging your battery for at least four hours for peak performance. On the right side of your calculator, an LED light lights up during the recharging process. An amber color indicates your calculator is charging, and a green color indicates your calculator is fully charged. There are three ways to recharge your calculator battery:


The TI-84 Plus does not have a rechargeable battery. You must open the back panel and insert four new AAA batteries.

[check] TI Wall Adapter: Simply plug in the adapter that came bundled with your calculator.

[check] USB computer cable: Use the USB computer cable that came with your calculator and a computer to charge your calculator. Plug the USB hub into the computer and plug the mini-USB hub into your calculator.


Your computer may not recognize the USB computer cable you are using to charge your calculator. If this happens, download TI-Connect software from http://education.ti.com. For more details on downloading and installing TI-Connect, see Chapter 20.

[check] TI-84 C Charging Station: If your classroom has one of these, simply place your calculator in one of the slots of the charging station.

In the top-right part of the screen, a battery status icon indicates the battery level. There are four different battery levels plus a charging icon, as shown in Figure 1-2.


If your battery loses its charge, the RAM memory on your calculator may be cleared. If you have programs or data that you don't want to lose, back up your calculator (see Chapter 23 for more details). Your calculator gives you a warning message, as shown in Figure 1-3.

Turning the Calculator On and Off

Press [ON] to turn the calculator on. To turn the calculator off, press [2nd] and then press [ON]. These keys are in the left column of the keyboard. The [ON] key is at the bottom of the column, and the [2nd] key is the second key from the top of this column.

To prolong the life of the batteries, the calculator automatically turns itself off after five minutes of inactivity. But don't worry — when you press [ON], all your work will appear on the calculator just as you left it before the calculator turned itself off.

The first time you turn on your calculator, you're greeted by an information screen, as shown in Figure 1-4. A few helpful reminders are displayed on the information screen. If you want to see this screen the next time you turn on your calculator, press [2]. Otherwise, press [1] or [ENTER].


In some types of light, the screen can be hard to see. To increase the contrast, press and release [2nd] and then hold down [up arrow] until you have the desired contrast. To decrease the contrast, press [2nd] and hold [down arrow].

Using the Keyboard

The row of keys under the calculator screen contains the keys you use when graphing. The next three rows, for the most part, contain editing keys, menu keys, and arrow keys. The arrow keys ([right arrow] [left arrow] [up arrow] [down arrow]) control the movement of the cursor. The remaining rows contain, among other things, the keys you typically find on a scientific calculator.


Keys on the calculator are always pressed one at a time; they are never pressed simultaneously. In this book, an instruction such as [2nd][ON] indicates that you should first press [2nd] and then press [ON].

Accessing the functions in blue

Above and to the left of most keys is a secondary key function written in blue. To access that function, first press [2nd] and then press the key. For example, π is in blue above the [^] key, so to use p in an expression, press [2nd] and then press [^].

Because hunting for the function in blue can be tedious, in this book I use only the actual keystrokes. For example, I make statements like, "π is entered into the calculator by pressing [2nd][^]." Most other books would state, "π is entered into the calculator by pressing [2nd]π."


When the [2nd] key is active and the calculator is waiting for you to press the next key, the blinking [] cursor symbol is replaced with the [up arrow] symbol.

Using the Α key to write words

Above and to the right of most keys is a letter written in green. To access these letters, first press Α and then press the key. For example, because the letter O is in green above the [7] key, to enter this letter, press Α and then press [7].

Because hunting for letters on the calculator can be tedious, I tell you the exact keystrokes needed to create them. For example, if I want you to enter the letter O, I say, "Press Α[7] to enter the letter O." Most other books would say "Press Α[O]" and leave it up to you to figure out where that letter is on the calculator.


You must press Α before entering each letter. However, if you want to enter many letters, first press [2nd]Α to lock the calculator in Alpha mode. Then all you have to do is press the keys for the various letters. When you're finished, press Α to take the calculator out of Alpha mode. For example, to enter the word TEST into the calculator, press [2nd]Α[4][SIN][LN][4] and then press Α to tell the calculator that you're no longer entering letters.


When the calculator is in Alpha mode, the blinking [] cursor symbol is replaced with the [A] symbol. This symbol indicates that the next key you press will insert the green letter above that key. To take the calculator out of Alpha mode, press Α.

Using the [ENTER] key

The [ENTER] key is used to evaluate expressions and to execute commands. After you have, for example, entered an arithmetic expression (such as 5 + 4), press e to evaluate that expression. In this context, the e key functions as the equal sign. Entering arithmetic expressions is explained in Chapter 2.

Using the [X, T, Θ, n] key

[X, T, Θ, n] is the key you use to enter the variable in the definition of a function, a parametric equation, a polar equation, or a sequence. In Function mode, this key produces the variable X. In Parametric mode, it produces the variable T; and in Polar and Sequence modes, it produces the variables θ and n, respectively. For more information, see the "Setting the Mode" section later in this chapter.

Using the arrow keys

The arrow keys ([right arrow], [left arrow], [up arrow], and [down arrow]) control the movement of the cursor. These keys are in a circular pattern in the upper-right corner of the keyboard. As expected, [right arrow] moves the cursor to the right, [left arrow] moves it to the left, and so on. When I want you to use the arrow keys — but not in any specific order — I refer to them all together, as in "Use the [right arrow][left arrow][up arrow][down arrow] keys to place the cursor on the entry."

Keys to remember


The following keystroke and keys are invaluable:

[check] [2nd][MODE]: This is the equivalent of the Escape key on a computer. It gets you out of whatever you're doing (or have finished doing) and returns you to the Home screen. See the next section for more about the Home screen.

[check] [ENTER]: This key is used to execute commands and to evaluate expressions. When evaluating expressions, it's the equivalent of the equal sign.

[check] [CLEAR]: This is the "erase" key. If you enter something into the calculator and then change your mind, press this key. If you want to erase the contents of the Home screen, repeatedly press this key until the Home screen is blank.

What Is the Home Screen?

The Home screen is the screen that appears on the calculator when you first turn it on. This is the screen where most of the action takes place as you use the calculator — it's where you evaluate expressions and execute commands. This is also the screen you usually return to after you've completed a task such as entering a matrix in the Matrix editor or entering data in the Stat List editor.


Press [2nd][MODE] to return to the Home screen from any other screen. This combination of keystrokes, [2nd][MODE], is the equivalent of the Escape key on a computer. It always takes you back to the Home screen.


If you want to clear the contents of the Home screen, repeatedly press [CLEAR] until the Home screen is blank.

The Busy Indicator

If you see a moving dotted ellipse in the upper-right corner of the screen, this indicates that the calculator is busy graphing a function, evaluating an expression, or executing a command.


If it's taking too long for the calculator to graph a function, evaluate an expression, or execute a command, and you want to abort the process, press [ON]. If you're then confronted with a menu that asks you to select either Quit or Goto, select Quit to abort the process.

Editing Entries

The calculator offers four ways to edit an entry:

[check] Deleting the entire entry:

Use the [right arrow][left arrow][up arrow][down arrow] keys to place the cursor anywhere in the entry and then press [CLEAR] to delete the entry.

[check] Erasing part of an entry:

To erase a single character, use the [right arrow][left arrow][up arrow][down arrow] keys to place the cursor on the character you want to delete and then press [DEL] to delete that character.

[check] Inserting characters:

Because "typing over" is the default mode, to insert characters you must first press [2nd][DEL] to enter Insert mode. When you insert characters, the inserted characters are placed to the left of the cursor. For example, if you want to insert CD between B and E in the word ABEF, you would place the cursor on E to make the insertion.

To insert characters, use the [right arrow][left arrow][up arrow][down arrow] keys to place the cursor at the location of the desired insertion, press [2nd][DEL], and then key in the characters you want to insert. Notice, the cursor does not blink with the typical [] you're used to seeing; instead, it blinks with an underscore. When you're finished inserting characters, press one of the arrow keys to take the calculator out of Insert mode.

[check] Keying over existing characters:

"Type over" is the default mode of the calculator. So if you want to overtype existing characters, just use the [right arrow][left arrow][up arrow][down arrow] keys to put the cursor where you want to start, and then use the keyboard to enter new characters.

Copying and Pasting

Save time by not retyping similar expressions from scratch! Press [2nd][MODE] to access the Home screen.

Press the [up arrow] key to scroll through your previous calculations. When a previous entry or answer is highlighted, press [ENTER] to paste it into your current entry line. See the first two screens in Figure 1-5.

After you have pasted the expression into the current entry line, you can edit the expression as much as you like. See the third screen in Figure 1-5.


If the answer is in the form of a list or matrix, it cannot be copied and pasted. Instead, copy and paste the expression. Also, notice that the mode settings don't display in the Status bar when you're scrolling through the calculator history.

Using Menus

Most functions and commands that you use are found in the menus housed in the calculator — and just about every chapter in this book refers to them. This section is designed to give you an overview of how to find and select menu items.


Excerpted from Ti-84 Plus Graphing Calculator For Dummies by C. C. Edwards. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Excerpted by permission of John Wiley & Sons.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jeff McCalla is a mathematics teacher at St. Mary's Episcopal School in Memphis, TN. He cofounded the TI-Nspire SuperUser group, and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science & Mathematics Teaching. C.C. Edwards is an educator who has presented numerous workshops on using TI calculators.

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TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator For Dummies 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
95Cherokee More than 1 year ago
Haven't read the book yet, but I have to vent about the delivery. This book had to travel from Monroe Township, NJ to my home in western PA - a distance of about 330 miles; or about 6-7 hrs drive. The book left NJ on June 15th and arrived in Kentucky - KENTUCKY! - the same day. There it sat - IN KENTUCKY - until June 18th, at which time it was placed on the back of a blind donkey for its journey to the far away land of PA, where it arrived on June 21st. Perhaps delivery wouldn't take six days (even with the blind donkey) if the book hadn't have spent FOUR DAYS IN KENTUCKY. I will be back to review the book after I've checked it out, but at the moment this is looking like my last B&N purchase. I'm giving the book three stars right now, simply because I'm required to give a rating... hopefully I can change it, if appropriate, after reading the book.