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Programming Tricks

In TI-82 Basic© Programming Language
The language you program in if you use the programming that came with your calculator out of the box is called TI-BASIC.

If you already know that, and have read much of the manual coming with your calculator and have made quite a few programs, read below. The following has information about fixing small errors and fine-tuning programs. Because I am sick of doing it to a lot of the programs I find on the Internet

Below you will find new tricks in writing programs, and information on how to fine-tune your programs. The main ways to tune up your program, is make to it faster and smaller. In computers, memory is cheap, and comes in large amounts, thus computer programmers are allowed to be pretty sloppy. As you know computers are extremely fast, and picking up speed everyday. Thus math problems involving simple calculations, are not a problem. With the calculator, it is a different story. As you have probably already noticed, the calculator can sometimes be slow, and cramped for memory. The single trick to solving both problems is to not have things in your calculator program that are unnecessary. My advice is to make sure you research lots of possible ways of doing the problem . . . or experiment.


Commas (,) are extremely helpful in programming your TI-82 Calculator. They do not do amazing tricks, or give you great graphics. Instead, they can reduce the memory size of your program, and make it quicker to make programs. Here are some examples:

Instead of writing

You can write

(Remember you can only fit 16 characters across the screen including decimals, and spaces!)

Even another way is the following:

:Output(1,1,"THE ONLY
 BY          COUNTIN
 G THE       SPACES.")

The first letter each line, as it would show up on the home screen, is bolded.

Notice that spaces are insterted between each line, because the TI-82 will actually wrap the text to the next line (given you use spaces to the edge of the screen).

*Courteousy of Matthew Cortez

You can also use commas with these operations:

Function Variables

Have you learned that you can evaluate the input of a function not by tracing it on the graph, but by writing:
This will give you the output of the function if you plug in 2. You can also store 2 into the variable X. Then just key in Y1 and hit enter and this will give you the output of 2 into the function.

If you think that is cool, another trick is when you need to have a function stored in one of the Y=. Did you know you can actually prompt the user for a function or have the program store a function every time the program is executed? The trick to this trick are quotes ("). Going like this does not work:

:X-3->Y1;      !WRONG!

You have to put quotes around your function.


You can also prompt the user for a function by:

:Prompt Y1

Then in the program the user must put quotes around the function he would like to input.

This is handy, but the user would have to reenter his function every time if the program requires the user to, which could be a pain in the butt.

Loops and Repeats

Do you use loops in your programming? For instance, do you use For(, Goto, Lbl, Repeat? Well make sure you do not have any tasks within your loops that do not change no matter how may times the loop is repeated. In other words, do not allow the calculator to do something more than it needs to.

Storing and Playing with different Data Sets

The TI-82 and other Texas Instruments are very capable in dealing with many values. What is the calculator's trick to dealing with all this values? If you do not know, it uses the LIST operation. Did you know that you could use it in your programming? You probably figured, as I did easily, that you can manipulate existing LISTS in their entirety with programs, but that you can even input into lists using programs, one value at a time. This is the trick:

If you want to input into the first LIST and into the second variable use this:

This will store five in the second value down in L1. Say you wanted to store a value each time the program executed. To do this you would say you would store a value to a LIST then store it to the value of a variable that is changing each time a loop is done or as the program continues. For instance you could store random outputs of functions each time:


To be continued ...

This was written by ©Aaron Hawley

If there are any errors, things I forgot or suggestions please Email Me