Your TI-84 Plus can draw graphs, calculate logarithms and exponents, crunch matrices and even do calculus. The bad news is that with this much power packed into one calculator, there simply isn"t room for every function on the keyboard. Case in point, the TI-84 Plus lacks a straightforward single button for entering fractions or mixed numbers – but you can still get there by using a few extra keystrokes.

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Press the Alpha key on the upper left of your TI-84 Plus keypad. Then press the Y= key, located just below the calculator"s screen. This brings up a series of shortcut menus; the first menu, FRAC, controls the input of fractions and mixed numbers.

Press Enter (located in the lower right corner of the calculator) to select the n/d function. This brings up the template for creating a fraction.

Input the numerator of your fraction (the number on top of the fraction line). Then use the down button to navigate to the denominator and enter its value. You can use this process for entering fractions at any point that your TI-84 Plus allows input.

You can also use the FRAC menu to enter mixed numbers on your TI-84 Plus calculator. As with entering fractions, press ALPHA and then Y= to bring up the FRAC menu. Then use the arrow keys to select the second option in the menu, Un/d. This brings up the template for entering a mixed number. Enter the whole number first, and then use the arrow keys to mouse through the template as you enter the numerator and denominator too.

There are two other entries in the FRAC menu. Selecting the third option converts improper fractions into mixed numbers, and vice versa. So if your results appear in improper fraction form and you"d like to see them as a mixed number instead, select this function. The fourth option converts fractions to decimals and back again.

You can also use the TI-84 Plus"s mode settings to determine how your answers are shown. The default settings are that if you use fractions in an operation, the result will be shown in fractions; and that mixed numbers will be displayed as an improper fraction. To change these settings, press the MODE button. Your current settings will be highlighted on the screen. Use the arrow keys to navigate and Enter to select new settings:

Select n/d if you want your results to be shown as an improper fraction when possible. Select Un/d if you"d rather see your results as a mixed number (again, when possible). In the next option down, highlight and select Dec if you"d like your results to default into decimal form, Frac if you"d like them to default into fraction form and Auto if you"d like them to appear in the same form as your original input.

Lisa studied mathematics at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and spent several years tutoring high school and university students through scary -- but fun! -- math subjects like algebra and calculus.

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