By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Near the end of October and with all the fuss of an autumn leaf drifting to Earth, PTC released a no-cost application called PTC Mathcad Express. As the “Express” tag implies, this tool is something of a spin-off of the company’s high-power engineering calculation environment PTC Mathcad Prime.
I weasel and say “something of” because PTC Mathcad Express is an unusual hybrid. It’s both a trial unit of the full-featured PTC Mathcad Prime system and a stand-alone engineering calculation tool. No matter how you define it, downloading PTC Mathcad Express seems a no-brainer. Here’s why.
Users have the option to download a full 30-day trial of PTC Mathcad Prime, followed by unlimited PTC Mathcad Express use. It downloads and installs in a jiffy. Down the right-hand side of your worksheet, you’ll see what PTC calls “in-product messages.” These are tips, information on selected features and to get the full-function version of the product, and so on. They are no more intrusive than the ads on any website or Google results pages.
Now this gets really interesting. Three things really stand out here. One, after registering, you have a full-featured copy of PTC Mathcad Prime to work with. It’s good for 30 days. Equation editing, advanced numeric functions and plot types, symbolic computations, unit checking, PTC Mathcad Prime’s highly regarded documentation capabilities, and other goodies are all there for you to use.
Second, after the 30-day period, the program becomes PTC Mathcad Express. While many of the functions of the commercial version gray out, you still have a decent engineering calculation/analysis tool. Features remaining include functionality for mathematical equation and formula writing and editing; mathematical functions and operators for calculating common engineering problems; data visualization using X-Y plots; unit checking; and a host of documentation capabilities. You can access both old and newly formatted PTC Mathcad files.
Three, the PTC Mathcad Express license does not and will not expire, according to PTC. While you’ll have to contend with watermarks and some missing capabilities, you have a powerful tool set that, depending on your needs, might be exactly the key to open the door of your engineering calculation needs. And if you opt to go for the commercial version of PTC Mathcad Prime, you can do it from within PTC Mathcad Express.
This is really clever, I must say. You can learn more about and download PTC Mathcad Express from the link over there.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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