How to Use a Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus

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The TI-83 Plus is a graphing calculator produced by Texas Instruments. An advanced calculator, the TI-83 Plus was programmed to work with several math functions, including calculus and trigonometry. The LCD screen is large and has the ability to enter split screen mode, where the graph updates as the user changes table values. In addition, the TI-83 Plus has flash memory that allows users to update the software and place additional applications on the calculator.

Powering On/Off

Press the "On" button located on the bottom left corner of the calculator to turn on the TI-83.

Let the calculator sit for an extended period of time to enable the "Automatic Power Down" feature. This feature was created to save battery life when the calculator is not used for an extended period of time. When you turn the calculator on again, the screen will have the same information on it as it did when you last used it.

Push the "2nd" button and the "ON" button to turn off the calculator manually. When you turn off the calculator manually, the TI-83 will keep the information you last used on the screen, but it will clear any errors.

Adjusting Screen Contrast

Press the "2nd" button.

Push and hold the up arrow button to darken the screen.

Press and hold the down arrow button to lighten the screen.

Entering Expressions

Press the number, variable or function of the expression using the keypad.

Push the "2nd" button and any of the keys with a yellow character over it to insert the yellow character into the expression.

Press the "ALPHA" button and any of the keys with a letter over it to insert the letter into the expression.

Calculate the expression by pressing the "ENTER" button.


These are the first steps for using the TI-83 Plus graphing calculator. The instruction manual included with the calculator is over 800 pages long and contains detailed explanations of all the functions available on the calculator. To get the most out of the TI-83, read the full manual. The link in the Resources section will take you to a PDF of the manual.