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Top 3 Mathcad conversion problems and how to solve them

    When converting an old Mathcad file (.mcd or .xmcd), you will probably see some conversion annotations. You can find a lot of information on this in the Migration Guide found in the Resources tab in Mathcad Prime:

    mathcad-migration-guide-01

    Many of the annotations can be ignored. Others might have a simple workaround.
    However, they all fall into five different categories:

    • Display Difference
    • Unsupported Formatting
    • Calculation Difference
    • Unsupported Calculation
    • Unsupported

    Often the annotation is self-explanatory, like in this case, where it explains that the programming operator ‘otherwise’ has been renamed to ‘else’:

    mathcad-migration-guide-02
    mathcad-migration-guide-03

    If you only get ‘Display Differences’ like this:

    mathcad-migration-guide-04
    mathcad-migration-guide-05

    You can probably push the ‘Clear Annotations’ button and recalculate your worksheet, and scroll through to see if everything looks ok:

    mathcad-migration-guide-06

    But let’s have a look at three common problems.

    1. Subscripts and superscripts in text regions

    In Mathcad 15 and earlier, you can select characters in a text region and make them subscripted or superscripted:

    mathcad-migration-guide-07

    That feature is not yet available in Mathcad Prime. So we will get an ‘Unsupported Formatting’ annotation on all regions where these occur:

    That feature is not yet available in Mathcad Prime. So we will get an ‘Unsupported Formatting’ annotation on all regions where these occur:

    mathcad-migration-guide-08

    In the Prime worksheet, you can see that the formatting is lost:

    mathcad-migration-guide-09

    A simple workaround that will work in most cases is to use the ‘Math in Text’ feature:

    mathcad-migration-guide-10

    Then you can create almost any type of equation:

    mathcad-migration-guide-11

    And then make Math Formatting changes, so it looks good:

    mathcad-migration-guide-12

    2. Units in plots

    Units are treated differently in Mathcad Prime. We now have a unit placeholder to specify what unit to use on the axes. So we can no longer use units in the tick marks. If we have a plot that looks like this in Mathcad 15, the converter will not say anything:

    mathcad-migration-guide-13
    mathcad-migration-guide-14

    When you open the converted file in Prime and recalculate, you will see an error saying, “Tick marks are unitless. Insert units next to the trace definitions.”:

    mathcad-migration-guide-15

    Following that advice, we get the plot we want:

    mathcad-migration-guide-16

    We can see a related problem if we’re using the ‘quick plot’ feature. That’s when we use an undefined variable when plotting and not specifying a range ourselves. Things like this work in Mathcad 15:

    mathcad-migration-guide-17

    But will not work in Prime even if the converter isn’t complaining. After a recalculation, you will see an error. And in this case, the error isn’t that helpful:

    mathcad-migration-guide-18

    The workaround here is to create the range, including units, manually:

    mathcad-migration-guide-19

    See page 39 in the Migration Guide for Mathcad Prime 8 for more details.

    3. Titles, Labels and Legends in 2D plots

    In 2D plots, in Mathcad 15, you can add a title, axis labels and a legend list. Those features are not currently available on Prime. Here you can see a plot in Mathcad 15 converted to Prime:

    mathcad-migration-guide-20
    mathcad-migration-guide-21

    In cases like this, you might consider recreating the plot with the Chart Component found on the Mathcad tab. Then you will have access to the mentioned features and much more:

    mathcad-migration-guide-22

    Should you run into conversion issues, we can help. For complicated tasks, we offer consultancy.
    If you are a Mathcad user who has many files made in Mathcad 15 or older, and you don’t want to spend your valuable time on conversion, you can outsource this cumbersome task to Alfasoft.