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Essential Tools for Students and Experts

11 Best 3D Graphing Calculator Software Tools

Picture of Max von Übel
by Max von Übel
Jan 12, 2018

Are you stuck with your math problem? Here is a list of some of the best 3D graphing calculator tools. Some of them can guide you step by step through the problem – others are suitable for professionals.

The handheld 3D graphing calculator is a staple for any high school student who has moved beyond basic maths problems. This is because the display of graphs is an essential aid for understanding advanced problems in fields such as math, physics, and chemistry. Some desktop 3D graphing calculator tools go even further by offering step-by-step expressions so that students ca better wrap their heads around advanced mathematical concepts.

Professionals also benefit from 3D graphing calculators. Spreadsheets can be loaded into many of them to perform statistical operations.

Finding the right 3D graphing calculator for your needs can be tricky. That’s why All3DP has compiled a list of some of the best 3D graphing calculator tools.

The 3D graphing calculator software in the following table is given in alphabetical order. You can filter them to your needs.

Best 3D Graphing Calculator Tools

Product Display Mode OS Cost
Academo 3D Browser Free
Algeo 2D Android Freemium
Calcflow 3D Oculus Free
CalcPlot3D 2D/3D Browser Free
Desmos 2D Browser, iOS, Android Free
GeoGebra 2D/3D Browser, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS Free
Grapher 2D/3D macOS Free
Graphing Calculator 3D 2D/3D Windows, macOS, Linux Freemium
Mathpix 3D Browser, Android, iOS Freemium
Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 2D/3D Windows Free
Quick Graph 2D/3D iOS Freemium

Best 3D Graphing Calculator Tools


Best 3D Graphing Calculator Academo

Image of Best 3D Graphing Calculator: Academo

Academo features an easy to use 3D graphing calculator tool. Enter a mathematical expression using the variables x and y. The tool will then plot it as a surface. Fine-tune the result by setting the range for the variables. Viewing options are pretty basic, but sufficient – The plot can be rotated and enlarged. You can trace the values of the graph by browsing it with your mouse.

However, this tool will not calculate solutions of the equation such as the zero of a function for you. The range of possible functions that can be entered into the expression box is limited but covers most of your everyday algebra needs. Possible expressions include the sine, cosine, tangent, square root, logarithm, and a few other essentials. Last but not least, you can share the graph by sending the link since the expression is included in the URL. In sum, this may not be the best 3D graphing calculator tool, but it will perform just fine for the operations it was designed for.

  • Display Mode 3D
  • OS Browser
  • Cost Free

Best 3D Graphing Calculator Algeo

Image of Best 3D Graphing Calculator: Algeo

So, you want to have a handheld graphing calculator, but don’t have the dough to buy one? Not a problem. Download this 2D graphing calculator tool to your Android device and get started right away! This app lets you use advanced functions such as sine, cosine or logarithms. Instead of squeezing your expression in a single line, Algeo displays the input as you would write it with pen and paper. Also, say goodbye the Enter button. This calculator tool answers your formulas automatically.

Algeo plots functions and calculates solutions of the equation such as the zero of a function for you and jumps to them. In case you need the values of a range of points, this 2D graphing calculator tool can output a table of values instantly. This feature allows you to correct your own solutions in a breeze.

  • Display Mode 2D
  • OS Android
  • Cost Freemium

Best 3D Graphing Calculator Calcflow

Image of Best 3D Graphing Calculator: Calcflow

If you want to want to experience 3D graphs in proper 3D, take a look at Calcflow. This is an open source 3D graphing calculator tool for Oculus and Vive that offers a completely new approach to maths. The advantage of operating a 3D graphing calculator tool is that the human brain is capable of interpreting the visual information quicker and more reliable than it can on 2D projections such as on computer screens and in textbooks. After experiencing functions in 3D, understanding even complex mathematical concepts becomes easier even when they are written out.

By using the Oculus Touch you are able to manipulate vectors with your hands. This transforms your Oculus Rift into an ingenious didactic tool to explore vector addition and cross product intuitively. If you don’t know expressions of the top of your head, you can load a series of presets into this 3D graphing calculator tool and manipulate the variables to explore the manifold mysteries of math! For the future versions, the developers are planning export to the OBJ format and expand the tool’s usefulness not only for learners but also professional engineers and designers.

  • Display Mode 3D
  • OS Oculus
  • Cost Free

Best 3D Graphing Calculator CalcPlot3D

Image of Best 3D Graphing Calculator: CalcPlot3D

If you need a free professional 3D graphing calculator tool that runs in the browser, CalcPlot3D is the only calculator you will ever need. Although this tool does not come with tutorials or manuals, the developers have prepared a large library of expressions that you can load. This way, you can study space curves, implicit surfaces, parametric surfaces and vector fields on the living object, so to speak.

The extensive viewport settings show that this 3D graphing calculator tool was designed with professional users in mind. Graphs can be viewed as humble 2D projections, but if you have the necessary hardware you can also display them either in colored red-cyan or as stereo pairs. CalcPlot3D is the perfect tool to create plots for publications since it features several styling options for creating contour plots of the graphs.

  • Display Mode 2D/3D
  • OS Browser
  • Cost Free

Best 3D Graphing Calculator Desmos

Image of Best 3D Graphing Calculator: Desmos

Desmos is a high grade 2D graphing calculator tool for the browser and iOS devices that can be used for free. This browser app uses a very easy to remember notation for entering expressions. While you can simply use it as a tool in your everyday work, it also comes with a math learning platform. Teachers listen up! Desmos provides many classroom activities ready for use, but if they don’t fit your student needs you can create your own with the included activity builder. You can check a classroom set of graphs at a glance and prepare the next lesson accordingly.

Desmos is not only designed for use by students. It is also very well suited for demonstrating algebraic phenomena in the classroom, as it comes with a rendering mode that increases the contrast of the graphs for beamer projection. This graphing calculator tool also caters to the need of blind students. Not only can Desmos be configured to read expressions. It can render graphs as audio loops of modulated tone pitch, points of interest like intersections are rendered as pop sounds and other sonic aids.

  • Display Mode 2D
  • OS Browser, iOS, Android
  • Cost Free

Best 3D Graphing Calculator GeoGebra

Image of Best 3D Graphing Calculator: GeoGebra

GeoGebra is a free 3D graphing calculator tool that has been developed for use in mathematics and science education. In the program, constructions can be made using points, vectors, segments, lines, polygons, conic sections, inequalities, implicit polynomials, and functions. These elements can then be dynamically modified to better understand their properties. Moreover, constructions can be studied in a range of different views. This allows pupils, for instance, to study geometric objects from the vantage point of algebra.

The online learning capabilities of GeoGebra are particularly strong: Teachers can create worksheets that they share with their class to solve. Worksheets can also be shared with teachers for re-use. The objects made in this 3D graphing calculator tool can be exported in a wide range of formats. As static images, Vector files, LaTeX code, animated GIFs, and many more.

  • Display Mode 2D/3D
  • OS Browser, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
  • Cost Free

Best 3D Graphing Calculator Grapher

Those of you who own an Apple computer, already have one of the best 3D graphing calculator tools bundled with macOSX (10.4 and later). Grapher is capable of 2D and 3D graphing and supports various coordinate systems (linear, polar coordinates, linear-logarithmic, log-log, polar log). At the top of the view enter the expression. You don’t have to learn a new notation for entering expressions, since this 3D graphing calculator tool comes with an equation palette that allows you to drag and drop the most common symbols. As you enter the expression after expression in the top field they will be overlayed in the viewport. To the left of the viewport, the expressions are listed. Here, you can select and deselect expressions for viewing.

In addition to curve plots, you can also load spreadsheets into Grapher to create a point plot. Grapher’s inspector is where you turn when you want to prepare your graph for publication. It allows you to select different styles of lines (straight, Bezier), the color, the marks used to designate points and much more. In case that you create a variable parameter animation Grapher allows you render it and save as a Quicktime movie file.

  • Display Mode 2D/3D
  • OS macOS
  • Cost Free

Best 3D Graphing Calculator Graphing Calculator 3D

Image of Best 3D Graphing Calculator: Graphing Calculator 3D

Unlike macOS, Windows does not ship with its own 3D graphing calculator tool. Luckily there are some free solutions available, one of them is Graphing Calculator 3D. This sophisticated program allows you to plot in 2D and 3D. It can also handle implicit and parametric equations. Overall, the user interface invites exploration and experimentation of mathematical phenomena: While you type in the equation in the field to the left of the viewport, the graph is being updated after each keystroke. Impressively, this 3D graphing calculator works cartesian, polar, spherical and cylindrical coordinate systems. What is more, you can import your own data as spreadsheets to plot it Graphing Calculator 3D.

The appearanceth of the plots can be manipulated down to the last details. For instance, there are comprehensive rendering options that you to style graphs according to your needs. In addition, you can, of course, control the resolution of the graph by moving a slider. In case you need the values of a range of points, this 3D graphing calculator tool can output a table of values in an instant. This feature allows you to find solutions to complex problems in a breeze.

  • Display Mode 2D/3D
  • OS Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Cost Freemium

Best 3D Graphing Calculator Mathpix

Image of Best 3D Graphing Calculator: Mathpix

Mathpix is a 3D graphing calculator tool that runs both in the browser and on mobile devices. solve equations, vector, display point clouds, and vector fields exports to 3D files also offers a series of applications that are designed for use by teachers and students in the classroom.

The mobile apps are particularly convenient, as they don’t require entering expressions manually. Instead, equations can be entered using optical character recognition. Meaning students can take pictures to solve their math problems in case they are stuck. Being a learning tool, Mathpix will not simply display the graph and the solution, but it will also guide the students step by step. This way they will be able to transfer what they have learned to the next problem. Conversely, teachers can speed up their grading of papers. Because of its thought through feature set, MathPixs may well be one of the best 3D graphing calculator tools.

  • Display Mode 3D
  • OS Browser, Android, iOS
  • Cost Freemium

Best 3D Graphing Calculator Microsoft Mathematics 4.0

Image of Best 3D Graphing Calculator: Microsoft Mathematics 4.0

Microsoft developed its own 3D graphing calculator tool called Microsoft Mathematics 4.0. Though it used to be a paid product, it has been available for free download for a couple of years. This program is not only a scientific calculator but also a powerful teaching tool. Meaning this 3D graphing calculator tool helps students to visualize, understand and apply abstract math concepts. What makes it particularly suitable for students since is the featured step-by-step equation solving. This way students can wrap their heads around the fundamentals of pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, physics, chemistry, and calculus at their own pace. In addition to the exact symbolic output, the program also displays a decimal output which helps students understand the correlation between the two.

To facilitate studying, it is also possible to load a library of 100 standard equations. However, the core component is the 3D graphing calculator that enables users to animate the parameters of their equations allowing an intuitive grasp of their role for the graph. Among the other advanced features are a triangle solver, a unit conversion tool, and ink handwriting support.

  • Display Mode 2D/3D
  • OS Windows
  • Cost Free

Best 3D Graphing Calculator Quick Graph

Image of Best 3D Graphing Calculator: Quick Graph

If you want to have a handheld graphing calculator, but don’t want to buy one? Not a problem. Download this 3D graphing calculator tool to your iOS device and get graphing quickly! Quick Graph features an intuitive interface that makes it easy to enter expressions equations in mathematical notation and visualize them in as graphs in both 2D and 3D. What is more, this app supports all the coordinate systems you could ask for: cartesian, polar, spherical and cylindrical. In 3D mode, graphs can be shaded and lit to bring out the depth of the surface you are studying.

To make plotting even easier, Quick Graph comes with a library of commonly used equations. Most of the feature set is free. The viewport can display up to 6 graphs at a time – in case that does not cover your needs, buy an upgrade. The paid version also includes implicit graphs, inequalities, and other advanced features.

  • Display Mode 2D/3D
  • OS iOS
  • Cost Freemium

3D Graphing Calculator Tools FAQ

What is a Plot?

Before inkjet printers and computer memory became affordable, graphs and 3D objects were saved as vector graphic files. These files had the advantage that their size was immensely smaller than raster graphics files, because they only displayed the outlines of objects. Hard copies were made using “plotters” – output devices that drew on paper along the X- and Y-axis using pens. Although they are no longer a necessity, vector files are still popular for their clarity.

Are 3D Graphing Calculators Tools better than Handheld Calculators?

This largely depends on the handheld calculator. One criterium is the support of CAS, or computer algebra system that 3D graphing calculator tools offer by default. Meaning you can enter mathematical equations symbolically and return symbolic equations as answers as you would with pen and paper. This makes it easier for students to transfer what they have learned from one mode of calculating to the other.

While advanced handheld 3D graphing calculators usually support CAS, most low-cost calculators do not offer this feature. The developers of some of the best 3D graphing calculators take advantage of CAS by offering step-by-step solutions to symbolic expressions so that students can study and understand their math problems in detail.

Moreover, CAS capability can mean that certain 3D graphing calculator won’t be permitted on standardized exams. Before buying a handheld calculator, you should find out what exact models are approved.

Did we miss a 3D graphing calculator that you can recommend? Let us know in the comments.

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