# Factor help

• Factor
• Input help

On this screen you can factor any expression according to standard rules of basic Algebra. If you need to perform a different operation, press the corresponding operation button.

## What kind of expression can be factored?

If an expression is a factorable sum (e.g. a2-b2), Algebrator will factor it for you. However, note that the expression should be simplified prior to factoring.

## How can I factor an equation?

Equations cannot be factored; they need to be solved. Press the Solve tab to solve an equation.

## How do I enter a new expression to factor?

Press the New. Please note that your current expression will be erased.

## How do I enter an exponent?

Enter the base and then press the ^ key to enter the exponent. Once you are done entering it, press or Right arrow key to return the cursor to the base.

## How do I enter a mixed number (e.g. 5 ½) ?

There is no special notation for mixed numbers. You need to enter them as a sum (e.g. 5+½). If the mixed number is negative, make sure to place it in parentheses, e.g. -(5+½).

## How do I enter a fraction?

Fractions can be entered in two different ways. If you haven't started entering it, your best option is to use the fraction template key ÷, and "fill in" the numerator and denominator. If you have already started the fraction (e.g. in a+b you want the variable 'b' to be the fraction's numerator), the easiest way to complete it is to use the fraction line symbol /. If your numerator or denominator is complex, we highly recommend using the fraction template key ÷.

## How do I divide?

First, press the F symbol to access the alternate keyboard. Then, press the division symbol key : for division.

## How do I enter an expression under a root?

If you need a square root, press the square root key , and enter the expression. For cube root, press F and then . You can also use the left arrow key to access and edit the root index (in case you need higher order roots).

## How do I edit something in the middle of an expression without erasing everything?

Use the or Left arrow key to reach the desired edit point.

More than 90% of the problems found in a typical algebra textbook can be entered using the default keyboard layout accessible via the Keyboard. If you need to enter a different variable, a function, or a special constant (such as π), press the A or F keys to access alternate keyboards. Once you press an alternate keyboard key, the keyboard reverts to the primary keyboard.

The key remembers the last used variable. This will speed up the problem entry since you don't have to repeatedly access the alternate keyboard layout for frequently used symbols.

The left and right arrow keys allow you to move through the expression, one character at the time. The right arrow key can also be used to 'exit' exponents, denominators, and parentheses.

Always be aware of your cursor location. For example, if you type in a^2 to enter the power a2, make sure to 'exit' the exponent before adding another term (e.g. a2+2a). The exponent is exited via or Right arrow key. If you don't, then your expression will look like this: a2+2a.

When you press the ( key, both left and right parenthesis are created, and the cursor is placed inside them. Once you are finished typing the parenthesized expression, use or Right arrow key to exit the parentheses.a The same concept applies to the absolute value key.

In order to use the subscript key _, you already need to have the variable (without subscript) typed in. The same goes for the power key ^. In contrast, if you want an expression under the root, first press the root key , and then enter the expression.