\( \newcommand{\abs}[1]{\left| \, {#1} \, \right| } \) \( \newcommand{\cm}{\mathrm{cm} } \) \( \newcommand{\sec}{ \, \mathrm{sec} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\units}[1]{\,\text{#1}} \) \( \newcommand{\vhat}[1]{\,\hat{#1}} \) \( \newcommand{\vhati}{\,\hat{i}} \) \( \newcommand{\vhatj}{\,\hat{j}} \) \( \newcommand{\vhatk}{\,\hat{k}} \) \( \newcommand{\vect}[1]{\boldsymbol{\vec{#1}}} \) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\|{#1}\|} \) \( \newcommand{\arccot}{ \, \mathrm{arccot} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arcsec}{ \, \mathrm{arcsec} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arccsc}{ \, \mathrm{arccsc} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\sech}{ \, \mathrm{sech} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\csch}{ \, \mathrm{csch} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arcsinh}{ \, \mathrm{arcsinh} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arccosh}{ \, \mathrm{arccosh} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arctanh}{ \, \mathrm{arctanh} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arccoth}{ \, \mathrm{arccoth} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arcsech}{ \, \mathrm{arcsech} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arccsch}{ \, \mathrm{arccsch} \, } \)

17Calculus - Graphing Utilities

Single Variable Calculus
Multi-Variable Calculus

On this page we discuss some free graphing options to get high quality graphs for your homework and to help you understand math more deeply.

Summary Recommendation

By far we recommend GeoGebra as the best graphing utility we have seen. It is easy to learn, makes high quality graphs and it is versatile. It can be downloaded to windows or mac or used online and you can save your graphs online if you need to. All of the functionality is free.

Detail Recommendations

Your class may require graphs using a graphing utility. Remember, these are to be used only if your instructor allows a graphing utility for your work. If you are asked to graph by hand, check with your instructor to see what they allow.

We have recently been using GeoGebra to graph 2D and 3D plots. We highly recommend it since you can download it and use it on your Windows computer or you Mac and I think there is a Linux version as well. You can upload your graphs to your free online account and save them. If you don't want to run it on a local computer, you can build your plots online too. It has a fairly short learning curve but there are a lot of tutorials and videos to get you started.

Winplot used to be the number one recommended graphing utility on this site and for my classes. It is free, easy to use and does everything asked for in the courses that I teach. The learning curve is short and there are videos to help understand how to use it. One drawback is that it works only on Windows computers. There is no Mac version. But newer Macs have the ability to run Windows programs (in a Windows emulator like Parallels). I was able to get this to run in Linux (I use Ubuntu) with Wine.

GCalc is a Java based utility. You don't have to download anything to use it. So, it will work for Mac users (if you don't have Grapher). However, it is not a powerful as other graphing options.

Graph can be downloaded from sourceforge.com. It is easy to use and free. I haven't used this much, so I'm not sure if it will cover everything you need.

GnuPlot is a free graphing utility that you can download. This page shows promising graphs but I have never used it.

Here is an article explaining how to use google to plot functions. Google Plot

Wolfram Alpha is incredibly rich in mathematics tools. But be careful how much you use it. Don't rely on it too much. The notation is unusual in a strange way and can be confusing. But the graphing is pretty nice.

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