[25.May.2022] Top 3 conversion problems


When converting an old Mathcad file (.mcd or .xmcd) you will probably see some conversion annotations. You can find a lot of information on this in the Migration Guide found in the Resources tab in Mathcad Prime:


 01 migration


Many of the annotations can be ignored. Others might have a simple workaround.
However, they all fall into 5 different categories:

  • Display Difference
  • Unsupported Formatting
  • Calculation Difference
  • Unsupported Calculation
  • Unsupported

Often the annotation is self-explanatory like in this case where it explains that the programming operator ‘otherwise’ has been renamed to ‘else’:

02 otherwise03 else


If you only get ‘Display Differences’ like this:


04 exp 1505 exp P8


You can probably just push the ‘Clear Annotations’ button and recalculate your worksheet and scroll through to see if everything looks ok:


 06 clearannot


But let’s have a look at three common problems.


  1. Subscripts and superscripts in text regions

In Mathcad 15 and earlier you can select characters in a text region and make them subscripted or superscripted:

07 subsup 15

That feature is not yet available in Mathcad Prime. So we will get un ‘Unsupported Formatting’ annotation on all regions where these occur:


08 subsup annot

In the Prime worksheet you can see that the formatting is lost:


09 subsup P8 2

A simple work-around that will work in most cases is to use the ‘Math in Text’ feature:


10 subsup P8 3

Then you can create almost any type of equation:


11 subsup P8 4

And then make Math Formatting changes so it looks good:


12 subsup P8 5


  2. Units in plots 

Units are treated in a different way in Mathcad Prime. We now have a unit placeholder so we can specify what unit to use on the axes. So we can no longer use units in the tick marks. If we have a plot that looks like this in Mathcad 15, the converter will not say anything:


13 tick14 tick annot

When you open the converted file in Prime and recalculate you will see an error saying “Tick marks are unitless. Insert units next to the trace definitions.”:


15 tick P8 1


Following that advice we get the plot we want:


16 tick P8 2

We can see a related problem if we’re using the ‘quick plot’ feature. That’s when we use an undefined variable when plotting and not specifying a range ourselves. Things like this work in Mathcad 15:


17 units 15

But will not work in Prime even if the converter isn’t complaining. After a recalculation you will see an error. And in this case the error isn’t that helpful:


18 units P8 2

The workaround here is to manually create the range including units:


19 units P8 3

Please have a look at page 39 in the Migration Guide for Mathcad Prime 8 for more details.


  3. Titles, Labels and Legends in 2D plots

In 2D plots in Mathcad 15 you can add a title, axis labels and a legend list. Those features are not currently available in Prime. Here you can see a plot in Mathcad 15 converted to Prime:


20 title 1521 title p8 1


In cases like this you might want to consider recreating the plot with the Chart Component found on the Mathcad tab. Then you will have access to the mentioned features and much more:


22 title p8 2


Should you run into conversion issues we can help. For complicated tasks, we offer consultancy.
If you are a Mathcad user who has many files made in Mathcad 15 or older, and you don’t want to spend your valuable time on conversion, you can outsource this cumbersome task to Alfasoft.