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RE: Mathcad and or Excel

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I'll chime in, too, that Mathcad is much easier to follow and check on
paper.  If you have not seen Mathcad, I you can get Mathcad Explorer, a free
viewer, here:

   >To expose the formulas in Excel, ...VIEW tab, then click in the FORMULAS

I find this a hassle because cells have to be resized for long formulas or
else they are not seen.  Basically, the whole format of the sheet has to be
changed.  Also, checking requires referencing _cells_ vs. variables that are
immediately identified.

Two more arguments for Mathcad:

1).  When writing a new sheet, you can enter formulas as you know them,
w*l^2/8 (it actually looks it does in books), vs. h13*h14^2/8.  Once w, for
example, is defined (i.e., w:=12 or w:=p*s) it is easy to remember and use
in the rest of the sheet.  In Excel, you have to keep scrolling back, "now
where did I enter w?"  Excel formulas are also much longer and can get mind
boggling.  Especially when you have to use several sets of parentheses.

I will disclaim that there may be some way to define variables in Excel, but
I haven't figured it out.

2).  Mathcad has programming functions that are also visible.  You can see
the "code" that is executed.  If - THEN types of logic are clear and easy to
write and follow.  You can get pretty complicated without losing control.

One big gripe I have is that Mathcad is full of annoying bugs.  I haven't
seen calculations errors, but the interface is screwy.

Actually, I find I need both.  Mathcad is not as good as Excel for long
lists of numbers.  For example, taking the output from a truss analysis and
doing load combinations.  You can do it in Mathcad but you have to use
arrays and it's too cumbersome for simple work.


Ed Fasula