# Your First *Mathematica* Calculations

Type and then press Shift+Enter (hold down the Shift key and press Enter) to tell *Mathematica* to evaluate your input.

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Your first calculation will take longer than subsequent calculations because the *Mathematica* kernel has to start up.

You can use *Mathematica* just like a calculator. Type the input and press Shift+Enter. Here is the result.

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Here is an example from algebra. Type the input Factor[x^25-1] and note that as you type, the first bracket after the function name Factor has a special color until the closing bracket is typed.

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You can recall your most recent input (or output) in your next evaluation by pressing (or ).

*Mathematica* uses syntax coloring to help you compose expressions that are complicated. As part of that, function names and variables that are known to the *Mathematica* kernel are colored black. New symbol names are by default colored blue, but turn black after being evaluated for the first time.

You can configure the syntax coloring system using the Syntax Coloring dialog box. To open the dialog box, choose Edit ► Preferences, click the Appearance tab, and then the Syntax Coloring tab.

Integrate is just one of over a thousand built-in *Mathematica* functions.

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Plot3D produces a three-dimensional plot. The graphic appears directly in your notebook, and can be interactively rotated and zoomed in or out.

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You can get instant information about a built-in function. Type ?, the function name, and then press Shift+Enter.

To complete a partially typed command name, press . This is equivalent to Edit ► Complete Selection. To see a function template for a given function, press . This is equivalent to Edit ► Make Template.

To abort a calculation, press More options for controlling evaluation can be found under the Evaluation menu.

## Some *Mathematica* Conventions

Here are some basic things to remember when working with *Mathematica*: