The calculator can use only specially written programs. Programs for the calculator are available on numerous web sites, including this one. The links page lists some other sites having calculator programs.
The easiest way to enter programs into the calculator is to use a data cable and a PC. You would download the program to the PC, and then download the program to the calculator. This arrangement would also let you save programs you write. Instead of laboriously writing down your program on paper, you could upload it to the PC and save it on disk, diskette, or CD-ROM.
However, in the absence of a data cable, there is little alternative to using the calculator’s program edit mode to enter the program. You enter the program edit mode from the calculator’s graphical menu. On the FX-7400G-Plus, for example, you would press the AC/ON key to turn the calculator on, use the arrow keys or pad to move the highlight to the PRGM icon, and press EXE. Alternately, you would press the AC/ON key to turn the calculator on, and press the 6 key to select the programming mode. The FX-7400G screen image to the right of this paragraph shows the graphical menu with the programming mode selected.
Once you have selected the programming mode, you must choose a program to edit, or create a new program. The FX-7400G screen image to the right of this paragraph shows the program mode with no programs currently resident. The only option given to you by the menus is NEW: create a new program. The NEW menu item is above the F3 key. You would now press the F3 key to create a new program.
Once you have chosen to create a new program, the calculator presents a form into which you enter the program name. Program names may be eight characters long, and may include letters, numbers, and a few symbols. Using names consisting of letters and numbers only, without embedded spaces, is good practice. After entering the program name, you can press the F3 key, which has a key icon above it. This lets you assign a password to the program. This password provides some level of privacy to the program. You can run the program without the password. However, you cannot edit the program without the password. The privacy provided is minimal, as many programs can recover the password from a backup of the calculator memory. When you have entered the program name and possibly password, press the EXE key.
Finally, you are in the program editor. The FX-7400G screen image to the right of this paragraph shows a typical segment of a program. The language used by the calculator is in some ways similar to BASIC. However, you cannot enter the program with the alphabetic keys on the calculator keyboard. Instead, you must enter each of the keywords through a menu command. For example, in order to enter the “If” keyword, the following sequence must be used: SHIFT, VARS, F1, F1. The key sequences for the FX-7400G and the CFX-9850G happen to be the same for this keyword.
The first SHIFT puts the keyboard in an alternate (“shifted”) state. The VARS key has the label “PRGM” immediately above it: the “shifted” state of VARS is PRGM. The SHIFT VARS key sequence selects a “programming” menu, shown in the FX-7400G screen shot to the right of this paragraph.
The F1 key, underneath the label “COM” on the screen, then selects the menu for structured control flow elements. Pressing the F1 key the first time changes the menu to show the first of several menus of structured control flow elements. The FX-7400G screen shot to the right of this paragraph shows this menu.
Finally, the F1 key, underneath the label “If” on the screen, then selects the “If” keyword in the programming language. Pressing the F1 key a second time inserts an “If” keyword into the program. Pressing the QUIT key at this time brings back the original (“Top”, “Btm”, “Menu”) menu. Pressing the QUIT again brings you back into the program list.
The screen shots for the corresponding CFX-9850G screens are below. Notice that the CFX-9850G screen shots contain more information, and additional context in the case of programs, as its screen is larger than that of the FX-7400G. (The screen shots also exaggerate the brightness and saturation of the various colors on the CFX-9850G: the screen shots look a great deal better than does the actual screen.)
The calculator’s user guide lists the available keywords and symbols, and the keystrokes needed to generate them.
Copyright © 2001 Brian Hetrick
Page last updated 28 April 2002.