Getting Started: Desmos Graphing Calculator

Welcome! The Desmos Graphing Calculator allows you to plot points, graph curves, evaluate functions, and much more. 

 

Plotting Points and Graphing Curves | Points of Interest | Audio Trace | Evaluating a Function | Navigating a Graph | Save and Share your Graph | Learn More

 

Plotting Points and Graphing Curves

When you visit the graphing calculator, you will find the expression list on the left and a grid on the right. In the expression list, you can enter coordinates, expressions, equations, and more. Try entering a point like \((1,3)\), graphing a line like \(y=-2x+4\), or graphing a parabola like \(y=x^2+1\). You can turn on and off any expression by toggling on and off the colored icon to the left of your expression.
GIF created in the Desmos Graphing Calculator graphing (1,3), y=-2x+4, and y=x^2+1.

Points of Interest

When you graph an expression or equation, you will notice points of interest in gray on your graph. For example, when you graph \(f(x)=-2x+4\) you will see two points of interest for the x and y intercepts. Graphing another function, like \(g(x)=x^2+1\), will show the points of intersection of the two curves. To see the points of interest, select the curve you’re interested in (you can click on it on the graph or on its expression line). Hover over the points of interest to reveal the labeled coordinates of the point. Select a point to display the label (the label will remain on the screen until you deselect the point).

GIF highlighting the intersections of f(x)=-2x+4 and g(x)=x^2+1 as well as the intercepts.

Audio Trace

Audio trace is a powerful accessibility feature that allows users to explore a single equation or an entire system of equations through sound. When focused in an expression, press Alt + T to activate audio trace mode and type H to hear the graph. Many commands are available both from the computer keyboard or via the on-screen keypad, including choices to adjust the graph’s volume and playback speed and move between points, points of interest, and curves. Audio trace mode can also describe the point, curve, and axes you’re investigating! Learn more about setting up a screen reader on our accessibility page at desmos.com/accessibility.

Listen to the video to hear \(f(x)=-2x+4\) audio traced from left to right. Notice how an overtone plays when moving from negative to positive x values (the independent variable) and static occurs when moving from positive to negative y values (the dependent variable). The pops occur when \(f(x)\) intersects with \(g(x)=x^2+1\). Open the graph here and try listening to \(g(x)\).

Evaluating a Function

One way to evaluate a function is to use function notation. Continuing with the example above, we can evaluate the function \(f(x)=-2x+4\) by substituting in different values such as \(f(0)\) or \(f(5)\) in another line. To see multiple values at once, you can create a function table. If you press the ‘edit list’ button on the top right of the expression list, you will see a ‘create table’ button that can be used to plot a table of input and output values that match your function. By default, a function table plots points for the input \((x)\) values from -2 to 2. You can press return to add a row and enter more values in the \(x\) column to evaluate in your function. You can also delete any of the input values and choose others.

GIF evaluating f(x)=-2x+4 at multiple values in the expression list and creating a table using the settings menu.

 

Navigating a Graph

To move around the graph, you can click on the graph paper and drag to pan. Zoom in and out using the plus and minus buttons on the graph. To set the viewing window to a specific domain and range, open the settings menu using the wrench icon and enter a lower and upper bound for the x and y axes. If you want to return to the original view, press the home button.

GIF grabbing and panning around a graph and using the graph settings menu to manually change the viewport.

 

Save and Share your Graph

To save your graph, press the save button in the upper left corner. If you’re not logged in, the calculator will prompt you to log in or create an account before saving. To access your saved graphs, click on the ‘open graph’ icon in the upper left hand corner. You can also share a link or export an image of your graph by using the ‘share graph’ button next to your account name.

GIF using the Save button to save the graph and share graph button to show how to get a shareable link.

 

Learn More

Desmos Graphing Calculator User Guide

Functions

Graphing Calculator Keyboard Shortcuts

Graphing and Connecting Coordinate Points

Lists

Tables

What Accessibility Features does Desmos offer?

Please write in with any questions or feedback to support@desmos.com.