Revised 13 Jun 2014
Copyright © 2001–2014 by Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems
Summary: Some common problems on the TI-83 or TI-84 calculator look intimidating because the messages are strange, but they’re easy to fix. This page helps you with the TI-83, TI-83 Plus, TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus, and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition.
See also: Web pages for my students include lots of how-tos for the TI-83/84 and TI-89/92 families.
See also: Texas Instruments pages on the TI-83 and TI-84 family (accessed 2014-06-13).
General advice: Most messages give
you a choice of
Goto. If it’s
available, always pick
Goto: the TI-83/84 will show you the
exact spot where it found something wrong. That’s usually enough of a
clue that you can figure out what’s wrong.
Goto and recheck your
equation on the
Make sure you pressed the
X,T,θ,n] key for x and not the [
times key. Also, make sure you distinguished between the minus key
−] and the change sign key [
change sign key makes a shorter minus sign than the minus key.
Quit and then press
Make sure your
Xmax is greater than
Ymax is greater than
Are you doing a scatter plot?
Y=] and check that
only one of
Then press [
STAT PLOT] followed
by the number of the active plot. ([
STAT PLOT] is
the shifted [
Check which list numbers are mentioned.
ENTER] and make sure that you have equal
numbers of entries in the two lists.
Are you doing regression analysis?
Note the two lists mentioned in your regression command,
LinReg(ax+b) or similar. Press [
and make sure that you have the same number of entries in the two
lists, at least two rows.
Are you doing anything else?
Quit and then press
Make sure that there are no highlights on
Plot3 at the top of the screen. If one is highlighted, cursor
to it and press [
ENTER] to deactivate it.
This message has several possible causes.
Plot1 Plot2 Plot3turned on, and it refers to two lists that don't have the same length. The cure is to press [
Y=] and turn off the unwanted plot.
1] and check your lists.
L1] but if you miss the [
2nd] you actually type a Y. In the same way you might type a Z where you intend to type L2.
L1, but that is not the same as the predefined list called
L1(note the small-capital L), and of course similarly for lists 2 through 6. If you accidentally delete a predefined list from the editor, make sure to bring it back with the
In general, when you see this message you need to check carefully through what you’ve done to make sure that you used lists where you were supposed to, and nowhere else.
A TI-83 (not Plus or Silver) is trying to receive something that it can’t handle. If what you’re trying to transfer is a program, these features work in the TI-83 Plus and all later TI-83s and TI-84s, but not in the orignal TI-83:
You’ve passed an incorrect argument to a function, such as cos-1(2) or pxl-on(160,160).
It’s easy to hide one without intending to, just by pressing the
DEL] key while positioned on a column head.
To bring back L1 through L6 in that order, press
ENTER]. This runs
SetUpEditor command; you will not lose any numbers
from any lists.
Use the arrow keys to move to the column heading, not the
first number of the list. Then press [
ENTER]. All the numbers from the list will be erased,
and the cursor will move to the first row so that you can begin
No, you don’t have to re-enter the whole list. Use the arrow keys
to move to the number just after where the missing number
should go. Press [
INS] (the shifted
DEL] key) and a space will open up in the list.
Are you plotting specific points?
9], which is
tells the TI-83/84 to adjust the window to show your points or histogram
with maximum detail.
Are you plotting one or more functions?
If you don’t see your function graph anywhere, your window is probably set to a region of the xy plane the graph just doesn’t happen to go through. Depending on the function, one of these techniques will work:
ZoomFitis a good first try. Press the [
ZOOM] button, then [
0] (zero). (Thanks to Marilyn Webb for this suggestion.)
ENTER]. If you need to, press [
ENTER] again to zoom out further.
Xmaxso that they include the x domain you’re interested in, and
Ymaxto include the y range you want to see.
Are you plotting a histogram?
WINDOW]. Set the X’s in terms of your
class limits, as follows:
Xmin= one class width less than the smallest class mark
Xmax= one class width more than the largest class mark
Xscl= the class width
Set the Y’s in terms of your frequencies, namely:
Ymax= the highest frequency (if it’s a relative frequency histogram, you can use 1)
Yscl= some convenient fraction of
Are you plotting a distribution using
Please see that section of this page.
This sometimes happens after zooming, or if you manually alter some window parameters. What happens is that the tick marks are so closely spaced that they merge together visually.
WINDOW] and adjust the
Yscl or both.
Tick marks will appear every
Xscl units left and right,
and you want that to be a reasonable fraction of the range between
Tick marks will appear every
Yscl units up and down, and
you want that to be a reasonable fraction of the range between
This means both your
are too small. Fix this on the
WINDOW screen, as
explained above, under
My screen is covered with horizontal or vertical lines.
Is your grid turned on?
FORMAT] (the shifted [
key) and verify that
GridOn is highlighted. If not,
cursor to it and press [
Check your X and Y scales.
WINDOW] and look at
should be greater than 0 and less than the range from
Xmax. For instance, if
Xmin is −20 and
Xmax is 20, the range is 40
and you might want
Xscl to be 2, 5, or 10.
Also on the
WINDOW screen, look at
It should be greater than 0 and less than the range from
Ymax. For instance, if
Ymin is −10 and
Ymax is 10, the range is 20
and you might want
Yscl to be 1 or 5.
Y=]. Look at
and so on. Cursor to the equal sign for each unwanted function,
and press [
ENTER]. You’ll need to cursor down to examine
Y0=, because the
Y= screen shows only seven functions at a time.
GRAPH] to redraw the graph.
Are there funny arrows at the left of your
The illustration and solution are courtesy of Jesse Phillips, who cites a page from the Texas Instruments support site that has since been removed by TI for some reason:
In order to select additional graphs, the Transformation Graphing App will need to be uninstalled from the TI-83 Plus Family and TI-84 Plus Family. Uninstalling the App does not erase it from the calculator, it disables it from interfering with the normal graphing modes. Below are the steps to successfully uninstall the App.
- Press [
Transfrmfrom the menu
Is too much shaded in for the limits you set?
You need to clear each drawing before making the next.
DRAW as the shifted [
PRGM] key near
the middle of the keyboard. Press [
1] to paste
ClrDraw to the home screen,
Does the distribution not appear at all, or only in part?
You need to set your window parameters. Press [
and then set them as follows. (The numbers in parentheses are for a
standard normal distribution, with mean=0 and standard deviation=1,
where you specify only two parameters to
Xmin= mean minus 4 standard deviations (For standard ND, use -4.)
Xmax= mean plus 4 standard deviations (For standard ND, use 4.)
Xscl= standard deviation (For standard ND, use 1.)
Ymax= 0.4 divided by standard deviation—remember you can enter the expression and let the TI-83/84 do the arithmetic for you (For standard ND, use 0.4)
Yscl= 0.1 divided by standard deviation (For standard ND, use 0.1)
After setting the window parameters, press [
to return to the home screen, then [
to re-execute the
Many TI-83/84 owners don’t realize that the contrast is adjustable. Here’s how:
2nd] button. Verify that the blinking up arrow appears in the display.
The calculator will remember your contrast setting; you don’t have to adjust it every time you turn the calculator on.
You’ve executed a regression from the
menu. You get the
slope and intercept all right, but where are r and r²?
For some reason, your TI-83/84 comes from the factory configured not to display correlation coefficients. You need to make a one-time mode setting so that these are displayed in future regressions:
CATALOG] (the shifted [
x−1] key. (A green D is printed above that key. Do not press the green [
ALPHA] key first, because the
CATALOGcommand automatically puts the TI-83/84 in alpha mode.)
ENTER] to select the command, and [
ENTER] again to execute it.
You don’t need to re-enter your regression command. Just
ENTER] and [
to recall it, then [
ENTER] to execute it.