My student has a TI-83 (I think - it is black, and newer than mine, and I have a TI-82), and she asked me what the three switches were, those at the top of the function list screen (where you input what is to become a graph) - the switches labeled Plot1, Plot2, and Plot3?

I told her 1) I don't know, and 2) I associate "plotting" with the practical side of drawing a graph from a data set, placing the spots to be joined by the function curve.

We did not understand it by experimenting, either.

I will email her any answers, so don't be shy to elaborate a couple of paragraphs on the purpose and usage of those switches.


  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Here is the TI-83 manual. Do a search for plot1. $\endgroup$ – Git Gud Jun 15 '13 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ Without actually knowing what model it is, you could be stumbling around the wrong manuals. It appears that the TI-83, TI-83+, TI-84+, TI-85, and TI-89 could all match the physical description. Verify the model, then go to the source as others have suggested to get the manuals. $\endgroup$ – dfeuer Jun 15 '13 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ @dfeuer, and Git Gud, and amWhy: I am trying to solve a problem, by asking a question. If I don't get an answer, I will consider other ways to solve the problem, you don't need to worry or advice about that. $\endgroup$ – Emanuel Berg Jun 15 '13 at 18:18

My recommendation would be "go directly to the source":

See also this "feature tutorial" for graphic, step-by-step instructions for using various features of the TI- 83, and/or how to use them.

  • $\begingroup$ @Amzoti: The OP has got it, thanks to Git Gud. $\endgroup$ – Emanuel Berg Jun 19 '13 at 8:30

From pages 231-238 of the TI-83 UK manual, I have concluded that my intuition was correct: plotting is about drawing graphs, manually from a data set (although the calculator helps).

It is possible to plot six different diagrams: the data set(s) are interpreted differently for different diagrams.

The most simple example, perhaps, is a filled curve (a graph). Coordinates - the plots - are extracted from two lists, with x positions in one, and y positions in the other.

So, type the coordinates:

{1, 2, 3}->L1

{2, 4, 6}->L2

Then press [STAT PLOT].

An overview is shown. It is possible to have three plotted diagrams at work, at the same time. To experiment with the first (Plot1), press [1] or [ENTER].

Now, some details are shown:

  • On/Off (draw the diagram or not - this can also be set by marking the Plot1 switch in the [Y=] screen)
  • Type (for a curve that passes through the plots, pick the middle icon on the top line)
  • Xlist (the x:es, set to L1 - use the specific one-character key)
  • Ylist (the y:s, set to L2)
  • Mark (how to show the plots when drawn: I suppose it doesn't really matter unless you have more than one diagram, and you like to keep them apart)

So, the coordinates are (x, y) = (1, 2), (2, 4), and (3, 6)!

Example when to use: Say that you have a data set of observations, and you wish to illustrate how close (or not close...) it follows a math function. Plot the data set, enable it, enter the function, draw, and compare.


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