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RE: MathCAD

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Gautam,

I have used both excel and mathcad frequently. I started with excel,
then incorporated mathcad ... now I only use excel. The reason is I just
got much better with excel and learned more and more tricks. If you
learn VBA you'll never go back to mathcad.

The absolute biggest drawback with mathcad compared to excel is mathcads
inability to do lookup functions like excel. The problem is mathcad is
not user friendly when it come to handling text strings. For example, if
I wanted to type in W16x40 and have all the section properties pop up,
it would take linking to an excel table and then coding the text string.
In excel, I can just have a list box show up and all the sizes are there
for the choosing - this way I won't make a typo (say W16x41) for a steel
shape that does not exist and have a bunch of errors show up.

The drawback is that it takes extra effort in excel to show formulae on
the print out. Mathcad is better suited for complex math - not the
algebra we do most of the time. Mathcad is nice because the formulas
show up and the units are automatic-but a simple beam calculation may be
3 pages long - if statements take up a lot of paper space.

To make my spreadsheets presentable, I rarely show formulas, but I do
label each and every variable and show all the critical variables. I
also reference code sections. If a plan checker wants to check the
numbers, he can do it his own way and compare results. If he wants a
proof, I grab a text book or hand calc done in the past, input the
parameters, and give him the sample calc and the spreadsheet showing the
same answer.

I find it hard to believe that most plan checkers are interested in
thumbing through a 2" thick set of calculations (although that is what
the client is paying for) and nit-pick with the results. Most of the
time they 'focus' on the drawings and make sure the calc exists. This is
a generalization, but for the most part true. You are the one who really
needs to understand the calculation-do it a way someone else can verify
the answer, but don't bend over backward to try to appease someone who
will simply make sure the calc is in there without really getting deeply
involved. All you are after is the right answer, the plan checker should
have his own method to quickly evaluate the accuracy of any number
produced on a project. 

My spreadsheets are very thorough and used for cookbook type calcs. For
example, I have one that will do double reinforced concrete beam with
cracking analysis for long term deflection - I provide all the
variables, plot the shear, moment, and deflection diagrams. It shows
much more information that say an enercalc printout, which is commonly
accepted today. You just have to test the spreadsheet to make sure there
are no mistakes.

-gerard

-----Original Message-----
From: G Manandhar [mailto:grm(--nospam--at)engineer.com] 
Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2002 2:07 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: MathCAD

Nels:

I noticed that you are hooked on Mathcad.  I have been using excel to do
my design and have not quite moved on to Mathcad though I have thought
about it.  I would appreciate if you could share your experience in
moving from excel to mathcad.

I have developed quite a collection of design programs in excel and am
kinda hesitant to move on to Mathcad.  I am not sure if Mathcad can read
excel files - that that would certainly help.

Gautam Manandhar
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nels Roselund, SE" <njineer(--nospam--at)att.net>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 10:40:04 -0700
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Subject: MathType -- Is any one using it?


> Have you tried, or are you using MathType?  How does it compare with
Mathcad
> or Tedds?
> 
> It's a math software that works in word processor program, MSWord or
> MacIntosh.  It looks good.
> 
> It's available from www.nasatech.com/software/mathtype for $129.  I'm
hooked
> on Mathcad, but the MathType demonstration makes it look worth trying
in
> lieu with keeping up with the Mathcad periodic upgrades.
> 
> Nels Roselund
> Structural Engineer
> South San Gabriel, CA
> njineer(--nospam--at)att.net
> 
> 
> 

-- 
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