How to Make TI-83 / Ti-84 Graph Work

It is that time of the night and you’re at home enjoying a movie or a Monday Night Football after the dinner and suddenly something comes up. It’s your child calling you, which is as a reason of the calculator not responding, and he or she have to turn in for this or her math homework the next day, meanwhile the graph isn’t showing up.” Then you thought to yourself “This can’t be that bad”, “Passing a high school math wasn’t a big deal”, and then you ask yourself “How can fixing a calculator be that complicated.”

It has been since August at the office superstore that you looked at your child’s TI-83 or TI-84; it was in the front of a shopping cart on top of a pile three ring binders and notebook paper, and it didn’t look so bad then, but when looking at it right now there are differences in the key settings which makes it look complicating.

You are still familiar with the keys at the bottom – which is a normal looking array of number keys, at the right also are the regular add, subtract, multiply, and divide keys, but what startle you is the inclusion of keys such as “MODE”, “DEL”, “STAT”, “ZOOM”, “TRACE”, etc.

What will you do? And who are you going to call?

Identifying the Graph Buttons

Looking at the top row buttons of TI-83/TI-84 calculator you will see five buttons set apart from each other and labeled as follows;
[Y=]   [WINDOW]   [ZOOM]   [TRACE]   [GRAPH]

This dictates where all of your activities will be taking place.

Three Main Reasons Why the Graph isn’t Responding

Many at times when the graph is not working or displaying, it may be due to the following reasons:

1.  Graph Function

2.  Graph Not Turned On

3.  Viewing Window not properly set

The things you need to do to make the graph work include:

Be Sure that the Graph Function is Entered Properly

To do this press the [Y=] key at the top of the calculator, this takes you to the Y= editor screen. On the Y= editor screen you should see a screen display similar to this:

Plot1    Plot2    Plot3

Y1=     3X+2

With the rest “Y=” being empty, your screen editor may not have the same expression as  "3X+2" which is just an example, still you will see some kind of expression in the Y= editor screen, and not just a series of empty "Y=" lines. Peradventure you have only the empty “Y=” on the screen, what you need to do is add an expression. If you also want to be sure that the calculator can plot, you may try a really simple expression, for example "Y1=X". It should be able to plot a nice 45 degree line directly through the origin of the graph screen.
Like this:

Be Sure the Graph is Turned On

There is a tendency that the graphing function is not turned on in the Y= editor screen. The error in this case is quite subtle, in the sense that you must highlight the “=” sign in the equation you are trying to plot. If the “=” is not highlighted, you must direct your cursor to the “=” sign and click the “ENTER” button in order to highlight it, in so doing the graph is turned on.

Be Sure the Viewing Window Settings is Correct
Wrong settings on the size and/or location of the viewing window may disrupt the display of the plotted graph even if the calculator has plot the graph. There are several means by which you can set the viewing window, but the easiest and reliable method is the use of “Zoom Out” which you continue to do until you see the function you’re trying to graph.

To do this you will click on the “ZOOM” button at the top of the calculator, afterwards you then press “3” on the calculator to zoom out, continue to do same until you see the function you are trying to graph. After doing the above process, the next thing to do is press the “WINDOW” key at the top of the calculator to adjust the display characteristics as necessary, so as to see the function plotted. This few tips should be able to help you overcome the nightmare of the graph issues on TI-83 or TI-84 calculator.