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Excel/Trigonometric identities in Excel Application.


Dear Damon

1. Are all Trigonometric identities (functions,formulas etc)  available in Excel application for plotting graphs ?. Examples : Sec, Cosec, Cot, Sin(A+B), Cos(A+B), Tan(A-B), Sin(A-B), Cos(A-B), SIN2A, COS2A etc

2. Similar to Microsoft Excel applications for desktop, laptops machines are there Spreadsheet apps for Smartphones devices which will plot graphs of the above trigonometric identities ?.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Hello Prashant,

1. Excel supports all the trigonometric functions, including hyperbolic trig functions, as well as their inverses.  Excel does not directly support some of the functions you mentioned because these are not essential basic functions.  Example: Sin(2a) is easily formed by multiplying the argument (a) by 2.  Likewise sin(a+b) is not elemental, but calculated by simply adding a and b to get the argument.  Similarly, cosec(x) is calculated simply by using the sin() function since cosec(x) = 1/sin(x). There is no trigonometric function or identity that Excel cannot evaluate using simple substitutions like these.

2. Unfortunately I have found that the spreadsheet apps for smartphones are severely lacking in graphing capability.  I looked at two apps in particular for the iPhone: OfficeSuite and Numbers (the Apple Excel app).  Both of these apps provide Excel spreadsheet "compatibility" which is not true compatibility.  Both apps provide all the essential trigonometric functions as I mentioned above. However, I was unable to get either app to plot a function f(x) versus x as an Excel scatter plot, but only as a category axis plot, which is not very helpful. This means that you cannot plot two columns of data where one column represents the x-axis values and the other the y-axis values.

I know there are other choices for smartphone Excel apps, but these apps are generally not very thoroughly documented, which makes it difficult to determine whether they are capable of doing such plots, and if so, how.  I also did not investigate Android apps.  If you are using an Android phone I suggest you try one of the Excel apps and see if you can get it to simply plot two columns of data, interpreting one column as the x axis values and the other column as the y axis values.

I hope you find this helpful.

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Damon Ostrander


I have extensive experience with VBA programming in Excel 5 through Excel 2013. As a former aerospace engineer with a large aerospace corporation and consultant in a small defense technology services company, I have developed a wide range of applications in VBA, including simulations involving mixed-language programming, satellite orbit mechanics, graphics and animation, and real-time applications. I am interested in moderate to hard VBA-related questions only.


I have developed and taught several courses in Excel VBA programming and also VBA programming in Office 97, 2000, and 2007. I have developed a number of large technical applications in Excel VBA for use within the aerospace industry.

B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley.

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