Help, my TI-83 / Ti-84 will not chart


It’s 8 o’clock at night. Dinner is over. You sit down to watch a movie or football on a Monday night – and then it happens. . . “Mammmmmmmmmm (or Daddddddddddd), my calculator is not working. Tomorrow I need to pass my math homework and the schedule is not displayed.”

“It can’t be that bad,” you think. “I passed math in high school. Hell, I even set up a Quicken accounting system at work. How complicated can a calculator be?”

The last time you looked at a baby TI-83 or TI-84 was in August at an office supermarket; it was in front of the shopping basket, and on top of the pile were three circular binders and paper for notebooks. Back then it didn’t look so bad, but now you take a closer look and there are all kinds of keys you’ve never seen on a calculator before. At the bottom is something familiar – the usual array of numeric keys, and on the right the usual keys of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. But what the hell is “MODE”, “DEL”, “STAT”, “ZOOM”, “TRACE”, etc.? What are you going to do? Who will you call?


Here are some really simple things; but remember, the title of this article is “Help, my TI-83 / Ti-84 won’t make a schedule,” and that’s really all this article is about.

Graphics buttons

Look at the top row of buttons on the TI-83 / TI-84 calculator. There should be five of them, apart from the other buttons; and they must have the following labels:

      [Y=]   [WINDOW]   [ZOOM]   [TRACE]   [GRAPH]

All your actions will take place here.

Three main problems

In most cases, the graph is not displayed, there are three reasons:

  1. Graph function.The schedule function is entered incorrectly or not entered at all.
  2. Schedule not included. The schedule function is entered correctly, but the schedule is not enabled.
  3. Preview window. The function preview window is set to the wrong size or location.

We will deal with these one by one.

Check that the schedule is entered correctly

Click [Y=] key at the top of the calculator. This goes to the Y = editor screen. You should see a screen that looks something like this:

Plot1 Plot2 Plot3

Y1 = 2X + 1

Y2 =

Y3 =

Y4 =

Y5 =

Y6 =

The expression “2X + 1” is just an example, but you need to see some expression on the editor screen Y =, not just a bunch of empty lines “Y =”. If you only see the following, you need to add an expression:

Plot1 Plot2 Plot3

Y1 =

Y2 =

Y3 =

Y4 =

Y5 =

Y6 =

If you want to try a really simple expression to make sure the calculator can plot, use “Y1 = X”. This should draw a good line at 45 degrees directly through the beginning of the graph screen.

Make sure the graphics feature is turned on

The graph of the function may not be enabled on the Y = editor screen. This error is a bit subtle. Look at the “=” sign in the equation you are trying to compose. The “=” sign must be highlighted.

If this is not the case, you should hover over the “=” sign and press [ENTER] the key is to highlight it.

You need to set the correct size and location for the preview window

If the viewport is set to the wrong size or location, the calculator may plot, but you will not see it on the screen.

There are many ways to set a preview window, but a simple reliable method is to simply “Zoom out” until you see the feature you are trying to display. Click [ZOOM] key at the top of the calculator. Then press “3” to reduce. Repeat until you see the function you are trying to display. Now you need to have some idea of ​​which window you need to use to see the applied function. Click [WINDOW] the key at the top of the calculator and, if necessary, adjust the display characteristics.