New Features in Version 5

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New Features in Version 5

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The Geometer’s Sketchpad Version 5 contains many improvements and new features. It's not only more powerful than previous versions, it's also easier to use and more expressive mathematically.

The most important changes are described here.


Display points in a variety of sizes and paths using any of four widths and any of four patterns.

Create angle markers with the Marker tool to identify angles, to mark congruent angles and right angles, and to measure angles.

Create tick marks with the Marker tool to identify path objects, to mark congruent segments, and to mark parallel lines.

Show the frame of a polygon, and hide the interior if you prefer.

Set the transparency and layer of pictures, interiors, and loci and iterations of these objects.

Display functions using either y= notation (for instance, y = x2) or f(x) notation (for instance, f(x) = x2). Set the default notation for new functions by choosing Edit | Preferences | Text. Change the notation for a particular function using the Calculator's Equation pop-up menu.

Display a value in radians as a simple fraction of π when appropriate and as a decimal value otherwise.

Define a custom transformation using any two points, one of which depends on the other, as an example, and apply the resulting transformation to almost any other object.


Make points easier to select by making them larger or by making them more magnetic.

Use the Context menu to easily access commands for specific objects, including commands to change the layer of layered objects, to change the value of parameters, to change the resolution of loci and transformed pictures, and to change the depth of iterations.

Create a parameter using a keyboard shortcut directly from the Calculator.

Directly edit the value of a parameter that has an edit box.

Set the precision and keyboard adjustment increment for new parameters easily, based on the number of decimal places you type when you create the parameter.

Create two separate buttons a Hide button and Show button in a single step by holding the Shift key while choosing Edit | Action Buttons | Hide & Show.

Open a sketch from a Sketchpad LessonLink activity directly from within Sketchpad. Choose File | Sketchpad LessonLink®, enter your ClassPass, and choose the sketch you want.

Powerful Text Features

Use Hot Text to include labels and values from your sketch as you create or edit a caption. Hot Text labels make it easier to include mathematical formatting in your captions.

Use Hot Text to display equations in forms like y = 2x2 5.4x + 2.3. The Value as Addend format displays linked values preceded by a + or sign as appropriate.

Display calculations, functions, and object labels using mathematical italics consistent with the most common standards for mathematical typesetting. Turn mathematical italics on or off using Edit | Preferences | Text.

Style text as bold, italic, or underline more easily by using keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+B, Ctrl+I, Ctrl+U (Windows) or B, I, U (Mac), or by using new commands on the Display | Text submenu.

Use Unicode to include mathematical symbols and to write captions in various languages. Use shortcuts to include subscripts, Unicode symbols, and Greek letters in labels.

Set the default text style easily for labels, captions, values, action buttons, tables, or axis tick numbers.

When text affected by an iteration is attached to a point that's also affected by the iteration, the text is iterated along with the point.

More and Better Tools

Use the Polygon tool to construct a polygon, a polygon with its edges, or only the edges.

Use the Marker tool to draw free-hand ink and to create angle markers and tick marks. Use drawn free-hand ink to define a function.

Use the Information tool to explore the relationship in a sketch, by showing objects’ information balloons or exploring objects’ properties.

Use a custom tool as a command by selecting the appropriate given objects and then holding the Shift key while choosing the tool from the Custom Tools menu.

Choose a Tool Folder easily, and automatically copy example tools to it.

More and Better Objects

Rotate and dilate pictures and create custom transformations of pictures.

Attach pictures to one, two, or three points, enabling general affine transformations.

Crop a picture to a polygon to display only a particular portion of the picture. You can transform the resulting cropped picture.

Save sketches with pictures more compactly with efficient compression techniques.

Construct loci and iterations of other loci, of function plots, and of pictures.

Construct a locus based on a changing parameter.

Create a Movement button that moves a parameter's value to the value of some other parameter, measurement, or calculation.

Create a Sound button to play a sound defined by a mathematical function. Explore the properties of sound waves and the mathematics of oscillating functions and addition of waveforms.

Easier and More Powerful Graphing

Investigate the family of functions y = ax2 + bx + c as parameter a changes from -3 to 3.

Measure the value of a point on an axis or on any other path. Plot a value on an axis, a line, or any other path.

Construct an intersection of a function plot with another function plot, an axis, or another geometric object.

Use trigonometric numbering on the horizontal axis of a rectangular or square coordinate system. Use Axis Properties to use trigonometric numbering on a vertical axis.

Use free-hand ink or an imported picture to define a function.

Measure both the abscissa and the ordinate of one or more points in a single step by holding the Shift key while choosing Measure | Abscissa & Ordinate. (If the coordinate system is polar, the command becomes Measure | Polar Distance & Direction.)

Plot points using any combination of fixed and measured values by choosing Graph | Plot Points and providing values for x and y (or r and θ), either by typing fixed values or by clicking measured values in the sketch.

Choose Graph | Plot Parametric Curve to construct a parametric plot, with its  (x, y) or (r, θ) values determined by evaluating two functions.


Export sketches as interactive HTML pages that incorporate a wider variety of constructions, including functions and function plots.

Automatically copy jsp5.jar alongside a newly exported HTML document so that you can preview the resulting JavaSketchpad web page.