Your Engineering Pad in Browser

It was always easy to spot engineering students in college. They had slide rules on their belts (later, calculators) and wrote everything on engineering pads. These were usually a light brown or green and had a light grid on one side, ready to let you sketch a diagram or a math function. These days, you tend to sketch math functions on the computer and there are plenty of people willing to take your money for the software. But if you fire up your browser, head over to and you might save a little cash.

Although it looks a lot like a Jupyter notebook, the math cells in EngineeringPaper keeps track of units for you and allows you to query results easily. Want to read more? Luckily, there is an EngineeringPaper worksheet that explains how to use it. If you prefer your explanations in video form, check out their channel, including the video that appears below.

If you don’t have the patience for reading documentation, you can jump right into a sheet to compute the parameters of a parallel plate capacitor. If you click the little hamburger above the cell that says “Air” you can select from a few dozen dielectric materials.

By default, the program replies to queries in SI units even if you didn’t use them in the original data. You can, though, force the answers to be in your favorite units if you like. Well, within reason. It stubbornly refused to answer us in furlongs per fortnight. It did, however, accept rods per picosecond.

While we still miss the ubiquitous engineering pad, we have to admit the graphs this thing creates look better than ours. Not to mention the inclusion of a system solver which our old paper pad lacked.

Wolfram Alpha is mostly free and very capable, but they do want you to pay for certain things. If you don’t mind writing Python or some other “real language” there’s always Jupyter.

Thanks to [Daniel Crowley] for the tip!

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