TI-83 Plus Keyboard Basics - dummies

By C. C. Edwards

The row of keys under the calculator screen on the TI-83 Plus contains the keys you use when graphing. The next three rows, for the most part, contain editing keys, menu keys, and arrow keys. The arrow keys


control the movement of the cursor. The remaining rows contain, among other things, the keys you typically find on a scientific calculator.

Keys on the calculator are always pressed one at a time; they are never pressed simultaneously.

How to access the functions in yellow

Above and to the left of most keys is a secondary key function written in yellow. To access that function, first press [2nd] and then press the key. For example,


is in yellow above the [^] key, so to use


in an expression, press [2nd] and then press [^].

When the [2nd] key is active and the calculator is waiting for you to press the next key, the blinking solid cursor symbol is replaced with a reversed-out arrow symbol.

How to use the [ALPHA] key to write words

Above and to the right of most keys is a letter written in green. To access these letters, first press [ALPHA] and then press the key. For example, because the letter O is in green above the [7] key, to enter this letter, press [ALPHA] and then press [7].

You must press [ALPHA] before entering each letter. However, if you want to enter many letters, first press [2nd][ALPHA] to lock the calculator in Alpha mode. Then all you have to do is press the keys for the various letters.

When you’re finished, press [ALPHA] to take the calculator out of Alpha mode. For example, to enter the word TEST into the calculator, press [2nd][ALPHA][4][SIN][[LN][4] and then press [ALPHA] to tell the calculator that you’re no longer entering letters.

When the calculator is in Alpha mode, the blinking cursor symbol is replaced with the reversed-out A symbol. This symbol indicates that the next key you press will insert the green letter above that key. To take the calculator out of Alpha mode, press [ALPHA].

How to use the [ENTER] key

The [ENTER] key is used to evaluate expressions and to execute commands. After you have, for example, entered an arithmetic expression (such as 5 + 4), press [ENTER] to evaluate that expression. In this context, the [ENTER] key functions as the equal sign.

How to use the variable key


is the key you use to enter the variable in the definition of a function, a parametric equation, a polar equation, or a sequence. In Function mode, this key produces the variable X. In Parametric mode it produces the variable T; and in Polar and Sequence modes it produces the variables


and n, respectively.

How to use the arrow keys

The arrow keys


control the movement of the cursor. These keys are in a circular pattern in the upper-right corner of the keyboard. As expected,


moves the cursor to the right,


moves it to the left, and so on.