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2138 Maxima Computer Algebra System (Sep. 15, 2021)

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Show Notes

Click here for some hints and suggestions for getting started with Maxima

Maxima is hosted on and can be downloaded from SourceForge at;

The Maxima mailing list is called maxima-discuss and you can sign up for it at:

Robert Dodier can be reached via e-mail at:

Richard Fateman is another developer on the Maxima project and can be reached at:
If you have questions for him you can send an e-mail to him at:

Getting started with Maxima and JAWS

Below are some helpful hints for getting started with a screen reader in Windows and Maxima.

Important: Command lines in Maxima are terminated by ";" (semicolon) followed by hitting "enter". If the command line is terminated with a "$" (dollar sign) followed by "enter" the output for that command is suppressed.

To get help for a particular topic or function enter a "?" (question mark), followed by a space, followed by the keyword, and hitting "enter". For example:
? keyword
Be sure to include a "space" between the question mark and the keyword. The search will be executed by simply hitting "enter".
Use "??" (double question mark) to find inexact matches. After either command you will be presented with a list of help topics from which to choose.

In Maxima, the ":" (colon) is used as an assignment operator. For example:
assigns the value of "2" to "x".
The "=" (equals sign) is used for equations. for example:
x + y = a + b;
represents the equation "x + y = a + b".

When using Maxima with a screen reader you will want to display the output in a 1D format rather than in the 2D format used by most sighted users. This can be done by entering the command:
If you don't want to have to enter this command each time you start Maxima you can put an entry in the user initialization file that runs automatically each time Maxima starts. To do this follow the steps below:

  1. The location of the user initialization file can be found by typing:
    into the Maxima command line. This will usually be the file c:/users/user_name/maxima.
  2. In this directory open a text editor to edit the file:
  3. In the text editor include the line:
    Terminating the command with the "$" (dollar sign) will suppress the output from this command when Maxima is started.
  4. Save the modification and close the text editor. The next time you start Maxima it will display all output in a 1D format.

Below are some other hotkeys that are useful in navigating in Maxima's console window:

To find other episodes discussing mathematics, enter “math” into the search field on our web-site at .