A **graphing calculator** (also **graphics / graphic calculator**) typically refers to a class of handheld scientific calculators that are capable of plotting graphs, solving simultaneous equations, and performing numerous other tasks with variables. Most popular graphing calculators are also programmable, allowing the user to create customized programs, typically for scientific/engineering and education applications. Due to their large displays intended for graphing, they can also accommodate several lines of text and calculations at a time.

Some of the more recent graphing calculators are capable of color output, and also feature animated and interactive drawing of math plots (2D and 3D), other figures such as animated Geometry theorems, preparation of documents which can include these plots and drawings, etc. This is giving the new graphing calculators a presence even in high school courses where they were formerly disallowed. Some calculator manufacturers also offer computer software for emulating and working with handheld graphing calculators.

Many graphing calculators can be attached to devices like electronic thermometers, pH gauges, weather instruments, decibel and light meters, accelerometers, and other sensors and therefore function as data loggers, as well as WiFi or other communication modules for monitoring, polling and interaction with the teacher. Student laboratory exercises with data from such devices enhances learning of math, especially statistics and mechanics.

Since graphing calculators are usually readily user-programmable, such calculators are also widely used for gaming purposes, with a sizable body of user-created game software on most popular platforms. Even though handheld gaming devices fall in a similar price range, graphing calculators offer superior math programming capability for math based games. However, for developers and advanced users like researchers, analysts and gamers, 3rd party software development involving firmware mods, whether for powerful gaming or exploiting capabilities beyond the published data sheet and programming language, is a contentious issue with manufacturers and education authorities as it might incite unfair calculator use during standardized high school and college tests where these devices are targeted. Nowadays graduate (Masters) students and researchers have turned to advanced Computer Aided Math software for learning as well as experimenting.

Read more about Graphing Calculator: Types, History, Graphing Calculators in Schools, Programming

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### Famous quotes containing the word calculator:

“Man is a stream whose source is hidden. Our being is descending into us from we know not whence. The most exact *calculator* has no prescience that somewhat incalculable may not balk the very next moment. I am constrained every moment to acknowledge a higher origin for events than the will I call mine.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)