First things first. Create a new Blockpad file and select New Document.
Dynamic equations act like spreadsheet formulas, but in a document. The input is highlighted blue, and the calculated section is purple.
Equations are entered exactly like a formula in a spreadsheet, but they appear in mathematical notation.
Numbers in a formula/dynamic equation can have units assigned to them.
To assign a unit, type the unit text after the number.
The unit text must match what is stored in the Blockpad library, but Blockpad will often auto correct to what's intended. The dropdown selection will also help.
The formula will convert, multiply, and cancel the units as necessary.
To convert a value to a different unit, type "to" and the desired units.
This sometimes needs to be done at the end of a calculation, because the units will not always auto-cancel.
If units are incompatible, the equation will calculate, but it will show a question mark instead of the unit and an error on the equation.
Blockpad supports ft-in units. So, 4 ft 3 in is a legitimate number value, which can be used in calculations. To convert to ft-in units, type "to ft in" after a value.
There are other similar units:
Sometimes calculations require you to strip units from a number, often in formulas that come from empirical studies.
To strip out units, divide the value by the number 1 with the units the value is assumed to be. If the value has compatible units it will do any conversions automatically.
To assign units to a unitless value, multiply the value by 1 with the unit you want to add. You can convert again using "to unit" described above.
You can do this inside of equations as necessary.
For more information on Blockpad units, including a full list, check out our website: Units.
In Blockpad, formula/dynamic equation results are stored in the file as values. These values can be given names so you can reference them in other formulas.
Values are created with calculations or just typing the value into the formula.
You can reference values with no name. Blockpad will create the name for you. If you try to reference a value using copy reference or click functionality (see Referencing a value below), then Blockpad will auto-assign a name to that value.
Values can also be text. To create a text value, use quotation marks (") or apostrophes (') to begin and end the text.
There are three ways to specify a value reference in a formula.
The primary option is to click on the value like clicking on a spreadsheet cell.
The second option is to use the copy reference tool.
You can also just type the name in. The dropdown will help you out.
A location in front of the name with dot notation may be needed if the value is in a different frame. When in doubt, clicking and copy reference can always be used. See frames for more information about location and value containers.
If the same name is used more than once in a frame, Blockpad will show an error where that name is referenced.
This is because Blockpad works like a spreadsheet in terms of dependencies, so you can use a value from anywhere in the document (above or below). To redefine a value (like in programs such as Mathcad), you can use step-by-step sections.
If a value is renamed, references to that value will update to the new name. The reference won't be broken.
There are a few built-in number values. To use them, type the name into an equation like a normal value.
You can show different parts of a dynamic equation to control what information is visible.
You can show and hide:
You can also choose to view the equation as multiple lines and turn the math layout off.
Show steps and separate lines.
Hide the calculation.
Hide name and result, show steps.
Hide name and formula.
Just like in conventional spreadsheets, Blockpad gives you options for how to display values, like number of decimals, scientific notation, etc. Blockpad offers more options too, like number of significant figures to display or fractions with a specified denominator.
There are a few value format options directly in the toolbar, like fraction or scientific notation, but there are more options in the value format window.
Note that the value format doesn't affect the actual number stored in Blockpad, which is always in decimal format like in conventional spreadsheets.
For example, all of the values below are stored the same in Blockpad, even though the formula result on the far right is shown in sixteenths.
Learn more about value formats here.