New Scale Options For Graphs

The latest versions of our graphing products (FX Draw, FX Graph and FX Stat) now include more formats for scales.

Existing Styles

Our graphing products have always been able to mark axes in terms of pi.

You also can (automatically) use degrees.

New Styles

Currency, fixed decimals, percentages and scientific notation are now all possible.

Controlling The New Options

You can select the new scale types on the Scales tab.

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New Probability Questions in FX Library

We recently uploaded some new probability questions to FX Library, and the development of one of them is indicative of the power of Efofex Parameters.

It all started when we developed a simple tree diagram question about different coloured socks in a box. It is exactly the standard sort of question that is perfect for MultiDocs as a push of a button produces one of the 400 available variations.

You can find this document in FX Library or through this direct link.

Something Interesting

A basic rule of developing MultiDocs is “Regenerate, Regenerate, Regenerate”. Regenerating quickly shows up flaws in the question design and is a crucial tool to developing these questions. As we regenerated this question, we noticed something unexpected – the answers were much more likely to be one side of 0.5 than the other. We have often found this while developing MultiDocs – the process of designing questions that can self modify can lead to a much deeper understanding of the topics.

In this case, that deeper understanding lead to the development of an interesting investigative activity which starts like this.

There is actually quite a lot of mathematics going on behind this with a few interesting results!

You can find this activity in FX Library or using this direct link. As with all FX Library materials, subscribers can use the documents in their teaching with almost no copyright concerns.

FX Library is a growing library of materials that you can use directly in your teaching or as a source of exemplars for your own questions.

Visit FX Library

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Introducing FX Library

MultiDocs are a new, incredibly powerful way to use Efofex products but they can be challenging to write. FX Library is a collection of pre-written MultiDocs that you can use in two ways.

  • As a subscriber, you can download documents from the library and use them immediately, either as standalone documents or copying questions from the documents into your own materials.
  • You can also use FX Library documents as exemplars on how to write questions with Efofex Parameters.

When you visit FX Library, you will see the following:

The FX Library Screen
  1. Search the database of documents using key words.
  2. Take note of the number of variations available for that document. These range from 1 (for documents which do not include parameters) up to 100 000. Actually, many documents have literally billions of variations available – we just set the maximum at 100 000.
  3. When you select a line in the database, the page will load the document into a viewing window.
  4. If you are happy with the document, download it to your computer and start using it.

Accessing FX Library

The easiest way to access FX Library is from the Word toolbar. This will take you directly to the page on our site. You can also visit it here.

The FX Library Button

Copyright?

Subscribers can use the materials in FX Library with almost no restrictions. You can find more information here.

The Future

At the moment, FX Library contains about 60 documents. These make great exemplars so you can see just how to use Efofex parameters. Over time, the number of documents will expand greatly and our goal is to make FX Library a comprehensive source of mathematical materials that you can use to create your own, incredibly versatile MultiDocs

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Introducing MultiDocs

In recent months, Efofex has introduced two powerful new technologies.

Our New Toolbar

Cross-platform, faster, more powerful… what’s not to like about the new toolbar. Even if you want to keep using our products as you always have, the new toolbar makes this faster, more reliable and easier to share.

You can find more information on installing and using the new toolbar here.

Efofex Parameters

Parameters are a powerful addition to Efofex products that allow you to create equations and graphics that can modify themselves in a mathematically consistent way. This allows you to create objects that can have multiple versions.

Using objects based on parameters is easy, particularly from within Word (using our new toolbars). You can find more information on this here.

Creating objects which use parameters is more of a challenge. We have created comprehensive (and constantly expanding) documentation to help you with this IF YOU CHOOSE TO CREATE. You can find this information here.

MultiDocs

These two new technologies combine to produce MultiDocs. So what are MultiDocs?

MultiDocs Are Just Word Documents

The only difference is that any included Efofex drawings and equations can be be made to be self-modifying. You can write questions that “change the numbers” at a push of a button. You write ONE question (and even a solution) but have access to multiple variations. In fact it is fairly easy to create documents that can transform themselves in billions of different ways!

One Document. Multiple Versions. That’s a MultiDoc.

Incredibly Flexible

MultiDoc creators have access to all of the power of FX Draw and FX Equation. Just about every aspect of diagrams and equations can be made modifiable. The options are almost unlimited.

Alternatively, you can just keep using Efofex products to create mathematical documents as you always have. You don’t HAVE to learn anything unless you want to.

All The Power Of Word

MultiDocs Are Just Word Documents. All the power and flexibility of Word can be applied to MultiDocs. You get to use a product you know well in a new, more powerful way.

Accessible For Everyone

FX Draw and FX Equation are specialized tools that do a complicated job. Many teachers can not find the time to learn how to use them to their full potential. MultiDocs put that power into a format that is accessible to everyone. You can use a MultiDoc to create a new version of a test, worksheet or exam without knowing how to use our specialized products.

So What Next?

To use MultiDocs, you need to access and install the latest versions. You can find more information here.

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Using The New Toolbar

The new toolbar allows you to manage, regenerate and create MultiDocs which is a powerful new addition to Efofex’s toolset – but what if you just want to add or edit a simple graphic like you always have?

This page shows you how.

Creating and Editing Graphics and Equations Using the New Toolbar

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Word Toolbar Refresh

Our latest downloads include a refreshed version of the Word toolbar with some new features added.

The Latest Toolbar

As a reminder, this is our new Word integration toolbar that is now available on Windows AND Mac machines. It brings all of the power and convenience of the old Classic Mode systems to a new group of users as well as massively increasing the usefulness of our products in Word “multidocs”.

There are a number of new features that have been implemented.

  1. Buttons on the toolbar now respond to the currently open products as well as what is selected. The Regenerate button (for example) only becomes active if the currently selected object is a regeneratable object. Information on the basic usage of the toolbar can be found here.
  2. The Reparametize button makes it easier to use multiple copies of a question in a document. More information on reparametization can be found here.
  3. We have added a link to the documentation for the new toolbar, Efofex parameters and Multidocs to the toolbar.
  4. Finally, we have added a direct link to FX Library which is our collection of prewritten MultiDocs which you can use as examples on how to use Efofex parameters – or just download and use immediately with your students.

Should I Change?

The new toolbar makes Efofex integration into Word incredibly powerful and productive. We recommend that long-term users of our products upgrade at their earliest convenience. There is a little bit to learn, but we have tried to make the change as easy as possible. Visit our dedicated page for long-term Windows users here.

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Sorry, No More Checks/Cheques

While very few schools still want to pay us by check/cheque there are still some, usually in the USA and Canada. Banks have tried very hard to discourage their use, particularly internationally, by massively raising fees and delaying remittances. We have kept the option alive for some schools for which it was a requirement. This became much more difficult when COVID19 arrived.

Recently our bank has told us that they will no longer accept foreign currency checks/cheques. We are left with no choice but to follow their lead and have recently removed the option from our website.

Schools can now remit using credit cards, PayPal or direct deposit to our Australian bank account. In some circumstances we can also offer direct deposit to a local account (particularly in the US). This is negotiated on a case-by-case basis and there is no option to deposit checks to the local account.

In summary, we can no longer accept checks/cheques as payment.

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New Newsletter – Efofex Insiders

We have created a new newsletter – Efofex Insiders – which is where you will publish all of the technical changes that go on. This is the sort of information that is crucial and interesting to a subset of our customers. Most of you probably do not want to know!

So… if you are a bit of an Efofex guru and want to keep up to date with all of the latest features and changes (particularly with the exciting changes happening with Efofex Parameters), sign up now!

You can sign up here…

Subscribe to Efofex Insiders

Efofex Insiders will be a more active list and you can expect to see articles published most weeks. The digest will be mailed out Monday mornings. Just so you know what you are getting into, we have included a sample article below.

New Prime and Composite Commands for Efofex Parameters

We have added new prime and composite commands to Efofex parameters. You can now define a parameter which is guaranteed to be a prime number like this:

$p=prime(1,100)

$p will be a randomly selected prime number between 1 and 100. The composite command uses the same notation.

Prime numbers are particularly useful for designing parametised algebra questions.

Efofex Insiders is all about providing fine detail without annoying most of our customers. Subscribe now! Efofex Insiders

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New Feature – Voronoi Diagrams

Due to the topic’s inclusion into the IB program, we have added Voronoi diagrams to FX Draw and FX Graph. This new feature has been included into software releases dated after November 5 2020.

If you do not know of Voronoi diagrams, you can find more information here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voronoi_diagram

Note that we only implement the Euclidean distance version of Voronoi diagrams.

Even if you do not teach the IB course, Voronoi diagrams are a fertile source of ideas for investigative activities related to coordinate geometry.

Using Voronoi diagrams is easy.

  1. Create a graph.
  2. On the quick entry screen, type any fixed points you want to include in the diagram.
  3. Make the final function line Voronoi()

4. When you return to FX Draw, the Voronoi diagram will be automatically drawn.

Now you can select the marked point tool and add more points. The diagram will be redrawn interactively.

Marked Points are versatile as you can select and move them dynamically.

Thanks to MM from Pembroke in South Australia for the suggestion!

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Stopping Word From Compressing Your Images

Microsoft Word will sometimes compress your images and this can have a severe effect on your graphics, particularly if they contain text.

Image Quality Has Degraded

You can prevent this quality loss in Word’s options. You can prevent the quality loss in both the current document and all NEW documents.

Word for Windows

Go to Word’s File menu and choose Options

  1. Go to the Advanced Tab
  2. Scroll down to Image Size and Quality
  3. Put a check mark in Do not compress images
  4. Select whether you wish this to apply to the current document or all new documents.
Word’s Option Screen

Word On Mac

The process is similar on the Mac. Go to the Word menu (at the top of screen) and choose Preferences.

  1. Click on the Edit options
  2. Put a check mark in Do not compress images in file
  3. Choose whether you want the setting to apply to the current file or all new files.

Our Recommendation

Teachers tend to produce graphics where high accuracy is required and we recommend that you set Word to Do Not Compress for all new documents – as well as updating the setting for old files you are working on. While image compression has few issues when used on photographs, it can make your output look much worse than it should.

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