One thing we all love about OS X is the great built in software. iLife, Safari, even Preview. But one lovely app that no-one ever seems to mention is Grapher. It lurks in the depths of the Utilities folder, and is a brilliant app for anyone who is doing math at any level.
Grapher was re-introduced to OS X in 10.4 after an absence since OS 9, when it was called Graphing Calculator. This little app has come a long way since then, and now we have an incredibly simple program for making beautiful graphs. Simply enter whatever formula you want graphed in the white bar at the top, and it draws graphs that can be exported as TIFF, PDF, EPS or JPEG.
But 2D graphs are boring! The really cool stuff is 3D, when you get into the more complicated formulas. No, I’m not rocking the super-advanced math, so I have no clue how the math works in the below screen shot, but it is a Torus Knot. Thankfully, some programmer at Apple does know their stuff, and has helpfully included a list of nifty 2D and 3D graphs building equations.
Using all the fancy technologies built into OS X, Grapher is a very pretty app and makes a great demo for showing your PC friends what your computer can do. It doesn’t matter if you only know graphs as “hey, look at all the lines”, or you are a genius and know how to make practical use of the 3D graphs, Grapher really does its job well.
Grapher is not available for download, as it is bundled with OS X 10.4. Look in your Applications folder for ‘Utilities’.