By Jeff McCalla, Steve Ouellette

Graphing in 3D on the TI-Nspire helps students to visualize what a function would look like in 3D (and you don’t need to wear uncomfortable glasses to see it). 3D Graphing allows you to enter an expression of the form z(x,y). To graph and explore in 3D, follow these steps:

  1. Press [DOC]→Insert→Graphs.

  2. Press [MENU]→View→3D Graphing.

    2D and 3D graphing are completely separate environments. In the first screen, you may notice the menu options are only those that are unique to the 3D graphing environment.

  3. Type a function in the entry line, z1(x,y)=sin(x)·cos(y) and press [ENTER] to graph it.

    See the second screen.

  4. Use your Touchpad keys to rotate the graph.

    For fun, press [A] to auto-rotate the graph; pressing [R] allows you to manually rotate the graph again using your Touchpad arrow keys. Press


    to shrink the box or [x] to magnify the box.

  5. Press [MENU]→Trace→zTrace.

    Hold the [SHIFT] key down and use your Touchpad arrow keys to trace the graph. See the third screen.

  6. Explore some new color options of your 3D graph by right-clicking on the graph, [CTRL][MENU]→Color→Custom Plot Color.

    You can vary the color of your graph by steepness or height. The top and bottom of your graph can be different colors and you can even change the wire color!

Hover over the graph and press [CTRL][MENU]→Attributes to customize the transparency and resolution of your 3D graph.

3D graphing has many customizable features. You can graph multiple 3D graphs on the same axes. Take some time to explore this powerful feature — the possibilities are endless!


Limit the number of 3D graphs that you put on a handheld. It takes a lot of computing power to draw 3D graphs, causing a memory drain. If you have too many 3D graphs in one document, your handheld may turn off and reboot.