Getting Started

Maxima is a command-line system. You enter a command, obtain an answer and can enter the next command.

A command is an expression that can be spread over many lines and is closed with a semicolon. e.g.

(%i1) 14*(7 + 3);

You obtain this answer:

(%o1)  140

Note that nothing will happen when you forget to enter the semicolon. Maxiama will simply wait for further input

You can enter an expression that contains variables:

(%i2) (x + 2)*(x - 3);

Maxima answers this expression in unsimplified form:

(%o2)  (x - 3) (x + 2)

Note that you have to type an asterix to denote multiplication. Maxima prefers a writing form that does not use a multiplication operator: Like in traditional mathematical notation, multiplication is implicit.

Perhaps you would prefer to see the product expanded. This is something that you have to ask for.

(%o5)	  x  - x - 6

Note the interpretation of powers:

(%o2)	     x
(%o4)	     x

We see that x^3^4 is evaluated as x^(3^4), not as (x^3)^4.