Time to migrate from Mathcad 15 to Mathcad Prime 9 – Tips & Tricks

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Johan Wikblad

Time to migrate your Mathcad 15 worksheets to Mathcad Prime 9!

It is time to migrate your Mathcad 15 worksheets to Mathcad Prime 9. This blog introduces tools, tips, and tricks that you can use in the migration and how to test a workbook for numerical consistency through the migration.

Over the years, Mathcad users have created many worksheets that contain their IPRs, effective and smart calculations, and technical documentation. PTC has made a Mathcad 15 and Prime 1-6 End-of-Sale announcement. Using unsupported software can present risks, so we recommend that all Mathcad users move to the current version. 

Migrating your old Mathcad worksheets to the current platform is important for ensuring that your worksheets and included IPRs can continue their life and can be reused again. We recommend you do this as soon as possible. Validating and verifying the worksheets will be easier when you do it before you lose access to the discontinued Mathcad versions. 


Mathcad Prime 9 comes with a built-in Conversion Tool 

Conversion from the legacy Mathcad version to Prime 9 is now easier than ever.  

Previously, if you were looking to convert a worksheet to the current Mathcad, you also had to have a separate installation of Mathcad 15. Since Mathcad Prime 7, the M15 engine has already been included in Prime with the built-in Conversion Tool, XMCD, and MCD Converter. 

The built-in conversion tool can be easily accessed through the Input/Output tab:

With a few simple clicks, you can add one or several worksheets you want to convert to the current Mathcad. Each of the worksheets can, in turn, even include referenced worksheets.

Once you select the worksheets you want to convert, you can hit the conversion button.

Verify the conversion

Conversion Log

Once the conversion is done, we can check the “Conversion log” that can be found in the lower part of the window. There, we will find all the relevant information regarding the conversion – most importantly, items the tool may have left out during the conversion.

Possible reasons for having dropped items on the conversion include missing Prime functionality, font changes, conversions/replacement/substitutions of syntax in various programming.

Using the Conversion log messages will indicate the additional effort required when opening up your converted worksheet on your current Mathcad.

Open a converted worksheet for the first time.

When you open your newly converted worksheet on your current Mathcad, it is recommended that you “force calculate” your entire worksheet.

Now, we can go through and check all the regions that might have a red arrow. The red arrows are connected to the messages we saw on the Conversion log.

In the following picture, you can see a region with a red arrow.

Clicking the region that contains a red arrow will show a message that tells what has been changed between the two platforms.

Here is another example; in this case, the font formatting was lost during the conversion.

Once you have reviewed the red arrows, you can dismiss them by clicking “Clear Annotations“.


Test, verify, and validate the worksheet

What is Verification and Validation?

In software testing, verification and validation (V&V) checks that a software system meets specifications and requirements to fulfill its intended purpose. It may also be referred to as software quality control.


Verification of the visual elements

What about my experiences converting my worksheets and assisting our customers in their projects?

One of the most common issues I encounter and need to fix manually after conversion is related to text regions that contain some form of superscript and/or subscripts. Prime currently doesn’t support superscripts and subscripts in text regions. For example srd = 500MPa will be converted to srd=500MPa in Prime. Personally, I tend to manually fix it like this: s.rd=500MPa.

If you need a superscript and subscript, inserting a math region, such as illustrated below, is a workaround.

Sure, it works if you have only a few subscripts/superscripts. However, if you have many, it is indeed very tedious work. I have heard that superscripts and subscripts might be on the Prime roadmap, and I look forward to seeing them in a release soon.

Another common thing is the conversion of plots. Currently, the conversion of plots defaults to the original plot functionality that was already there in Prime 1. The original Prime plot functionality doesn’t support legend text boxes, headings, etc. However, this can often be recreated using the chart component in Prime 9. The input syntax is sometimes different, and faithfully recreating your original M15 plots in Prime might require some time. If you have many of these plots, the effort required can be demanding.

Here, we can see an example of a M15 plot that uses legend text and headings.

Currently, the conversion will default to the original plot functionality that doesn’t support legend text boxes and headings.

We can recreate the plot using the Chart component if the legend text boxes and headings are important.

Verification and Validation of numerical consistency

An essential part of converting your M15 worksheets to Prime worksheets is to verify and validate your numerical results. As with any software, you can’t be sure about a converted worksheet unless you have methodically verified and validated it.

How do you know a converted worksheet gives the same results as the original? How do you know that a worksheet generates the same outputs on Mathcad Prime 9 and Mathcad 15?

I’ve included the following list of actions that you can take to make sure that your converted worksheet works as designed.

  • The first and most straightforward approach is to check the Conversion Log. When there is a difference between the two versions, the report will usually tell you if there is a difference in the calculated results or if you should check if the suggested change will affect the outcome of your results.
  • Another way of verifying your results is to compare your Prime worksheet calculations with the original M15 worksheet, either opened in M15 itself or in a static file that we will introduce in the Chapter “I can’t access Mathcad 15 anymore”.
  • When you still have access to M15, we recommend planning validation tests to detect any unnoticed bugs at the verification stage. Plan test cases to validate that the worksheet will not behave in unintended ways, both with test cases within boundaries and with test cases outside the boundaries of allowed inputs. Run your validation tests on both platforms, compare the results, and make adjustments if needed.


I can’t access Mathcad 15 anymore?

If you no longer have access to Mathcad M15, there is a solution that you can use to help with the verification of the conversion. The Conversion Tool in Mathcad Prime 9, XMCD, and MCD Converter allows you to bring a legacy worksheet to Prime 9 and compare the results, even without having M15 installed.

The Conversion Tool can create an HTML file from the M15 worksheet. You can open this with your web browser and then print it to a PDF file. This is a good way to inspect your original M15 worksheet if you have lost access to Mathcad 15.

Please note that when it is in HTML or PDF, you can’t alter your M15 worksheet with new data or recalculate with updated results. Therefore, a parallel validation of a legacy worksheet and the converted worksheet is not possible in this scenario.

It should also be noted that if your legacy worksheets had any collapsed regions when it was last saved, these regions will remain collapsed also in the converted HTML and PDF, so you won’t be able to peek into those regions.

Another way to verify your converted worksheets is to search for archived projects where you might have used the Mathcad calculations. If you find any archived projects, the documents delivered in those projects could provide a good starting point for verification tests in Mathcad Prime 9. You can then compare the outputs with the results included in the documents.

Solving compatibility issues – tips and tricks

Once you have verified and validated your worksheet, the rest will mainly adapt or rearrange the various regions according to your cosmetic preferences. It also includes addressing any possible items that didn’t get automatically converted correctly or finding suitable workarounds to redesign any functionality that is not yet supported by the Conversion Tool.

PDSVISION organizes webinars on Mathcad. I have presented some of my favorite workarounds in these webinars. Please check the PDSVISION course calendar and join the next event!

The conversion failed – what next?

There can be instances when a M15 worksheet fails to convert. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen too often. Sometimes, the solution can be as simple as rerunning the conversion. When the conversion fails, the root cause is usually in the M15 worksheet containing some advanced legacy Mathcad functionalities, such as animated plots, which might not be supported in Prime, or the implementation has significantly changed in the current Mathcad.

Should this happen, I recommend starting over with the worksheet in Prime. Be it a visual presentation such as plots or calculations. Save what can be saved from M15, bring it to Prime, and redesign the worksheet in Prime. This can also give you the possibility to make it even better than last time.

I hope you find this helpful blog, and these tips and tricks will help you migrate your worksheets to Mathcad Prime 9. Remember, if you encounter any challenges, we at PDSVISION’s Mathcad team are happy to assist you.

Because it is time to migrate your Mathcad 15 worksheets to Mathcad Prime 9.


Thank you for reading – All the best!

Johan Wikblad, Technical MathCAD Specialist


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