Teaching Long-time PTC Mathcad Users New Tricks

One of the first reactions we hear from many long-time customers after they first convert from Mathcad 15.0 to PTC Mathcad Prime 2.0 is usually something along the lines of, “Woah! This new user interface is DIFFERENT!” There is no argument there- the user interface of PTC Mathcad Prime 2.0 consists of a slick ribbon with images and buttons very similar to those that can be found in Microsoft Office. However, we believe that the overall change of the UI can improve productivity of engineers and will help to launch PTC Mathcad software into a more progressive version of its former self.

Getting started in Mathcad Prime 2.0

If the idea of change and re-learning some of the controls of PTC Mathcad makes you a little uneasy, fear not! We have included a number of features to help with your transition! The first feature is the “Getting Started” tab which can be found in the UI ribbon at the top of your worksheet. This tab gives users access to a number of resources to get started. Here are two items that existing Mathcad users will find the most helpful:

Mathcad Prime 2.0 tutorialTutorial – gives a step by step introduction to basic Mathcad functionality, including the organization of the ribbon and functionality.


Mathcad Prime 2.0 migration guideMigration Guide – gives examples on differences between product versions and how to convert existing worksheets.


Another feature that is very helpful in learning how to navigate through the ribbon is called “Tooltips”. Every item in the ribbon and elsewhere in PTC Mathcad Prime 2.0 contains a brief description of what it does. Tooltips help you to confirm that the functionality you’re about to use is what you expect when the name and/or icon is not familiar. This description always includes a keyboard shortcut if one exists and helps you to learn the keyboard shortcut when different from Mathcad 15.0. It should be noted that the majority of the Mathcad 15.0 shortcuts work in PTC Mathcad Prime 2.0, but there are a few differences as a result of trying to implement more of the “type what you see” principle as much as possible. For example to type a range operator, you would type “1..2”, and to type ≥, you type “>=”.

One last trick is the F1 button… Press it and the PTC Mathcad Prime 2.0 Help Center immediately pops up.  Outside of PTC Mathcad Prime 2.0 you can always ask a peer on PTC Community for tips and advice or ask questions here on the blog.

Are you ready to give the new ribbon UI a chance? Try PTC Mathcad Express for free and take as long as you need to adjust to the new user interface!

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10 thoughts on “Teaching Long-time PTC Mathcad Users New Tricks”

  1. Rick says:

    Look Anna, it’s not the UI of Prime that’s the problem. We aren’t stupid out here. It’s the v15 functionality that is missing from Prime that is the problem. I personally cannot and will not migrate to Prime until it performs ALL of v15 functionality as was promised when Prime was first introduced! If you can help in any way to get this through to PTC, it would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Anna Giangregorio says:

      Hi Rick,

      Your concern is totally understandable. The PTC Mathcad team is actively adding more and more functionality to each version of PTC Mathcad software so that it will perform above and beyond the v15 functionality. We are putting in a lot of hard work to create the best software for our users and hope you understand that there is a small lag time for the creation and implementation of such a powerful tool. We understand this pain point and is one of the reasons why we offer a free version of Mathcad 15.0 when users convert to PTC Mathcad Prime 2.0.

  2. Raiko says:

    Hello Anna

    so far PTC has failed to make a case for MC Prime. Ribbon UIs, tool tips and help communities (which is state of the art) aren’t compelling enough a reason to convert to Prime. Specifically when so many features are either missing or incomplete.
    It’s not as if engineers don’t like to learn something new. However, it must be genuinly new and not merely old features hidden in a new place.

  3. Anna Giangregorio says:

    Hi Raiko,

    We at PTC felt that in order to continue to provide users a quality tool there needed to be an update in the interface to match industry trends and robustness of software within the tool. Although some of the functionality isn’t all there yet, we felt this update would be less of a painful process now versus further down the line when users would be missing even more functionality that would most likely have been built into the software at that point. Here are some more points as to why we have updated: http://communities.ptc.com/photos/3328

  4. Hi Anna,

    Thank you for a nice article!
    I especially liked the tips at the end with the 1..2 and <= (the last one being new to me). Is there an article pinpointing changes like these in Mathcad Prime 2.0 (vs 15)? Would love to have a "shortcuts/typing in MC15 and Prime difference" sort of article, pinpointing these changes.

    Have a nice day! 🙂

    1. Anna Giangregorio says:

      Hi Torgrim,

      I’m so glad you like the tips in the post! We love when our readers have suggestions for future blog posts and I will definitely work on getting something written on shortcuts and the differences in typing between Mathcad 15.0 and PTC Mathcad Prime 2.0.

      Enjoy the rest of your day!

  5. Virgil says:

    If you (PTC) feel that is a need for an update in the interface, please do it.
    I strongly suggest that you should use the Creo Ribbon for Mathcad. It will look good also on Windows 8, because of the flatness.
    Also, please add an option to turn off font rendering (ClearType) for the GUI font.
    Thank you.

    1. Anna Giangregorio says:

      Hi Virgil,

      PTC Mathcad Prime 1.0, PTC Mathcad Prime 2.0, and PTC Mathcad Express all have a UI very similar to the one in Creo. They both have ribbons with icons and different tabs for different functionality within the software.

  6. Ross Dempsey says:

    I have recently joined a new company and purchased Mathcad Prime 2.0, because I have used previous versions of Mathcad over many years. I am extremely disappointed with this software and regret purchasing it. It was a waste of the company’s money and of my time. I have been using many types of computer software for 30 years, and never experience an upgrade which loses functionality like Mathcad Prime 2.0 has. It is really a disgrace, and when I read your replies to other respondents you clearly don’t understand. It has become almost uinusable for me because of its deficiencies in fundamental areas.
    I used to have a high regards for Mathcad, but not any more. The time I have wasted trying to find basic functionality which is no longer there is ridiculous.

  7. MikeG says:

    Ribbons let you play bee-a-boo looking for the functions you need vs. Mathcad’s ability to display every toolbar at once.

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