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Using a Gizmo

How to use Gizmos

Jeremy Brown avatar
Written by Jeremy Brown
Updated this week

Gizmos are interactive simulations that allow you to enter and manipulate different variables within a simulation, experiment, visualization or formula. While the Gizmo library is very diverse, the controls you interact with are more uniform. Once you are familiar with these basic controls and functions, you can use most Gizmos with ease.

The following outlines some of the typical controls, functions, and features you will experience as you use Gizmos.

  • Interactive controls Gizmos feature interactive controls that allow you to set up and run your simulation.

  • Sliders allow you to modify a range without typing. To use a slider, position your mouse or finger (if on a mobile device) over the slider to grab it, then move it to the position or value you want by holding the mouse button down or moving your finger. For sliders with a value, you can also type the number in the text field and press enter to change the amount.

  • Draggable objects are moveable items, including points, lines and shapes. These objects can be moved using the same process as the sliders above.

  • Selectable objects are interactive items that do not move, such as objects, areas on a grid, and lists. To select the object, click it; to deselect, click it again.

  • Play, pause, and reset are buttons that activate an action within a Gizmo. These often use icons similar to music players. Press the button to initiate an action. Keep in mind that reset will clear anything interactive you changed in your Gizmo, such as values and objects.

  • Checkboxes and buttons allow you to change certain parameters in the Gizmo, such as hide/show, allow/don’t allow, or change units. To select a parameter, click it; to change, click it again (check box) or click a different parameter (button).

  • Tabs Many Gizmos feature data that is generated by a simulation. This information is accessible on a second tab found at the top of the Gizmo, typically labeled Data.

  • Tools Gizmos includes additional tools to help you use a Gizmo. Most are found in the Gizmo Tools Menu. Click the Tools Menu to expand it; click it again to collapse it.

    • Screenshot allows you to take screen captures of a part or all of a Gizmo. See our article on the screenshot feature to learn more.

    • Arrows are draggable objects you can place on your Gizmo to highlight something. Arrows can be moved using the same process as sliders (see above). To remove an arrow, grab it and move it over the Tools Menu, then drop it.

    • Help is a draggable object that offers contextual help when you move it over a Gizmo feature. Help can be moved using the same process as the sliders above.

    • Sound allows you to turn the sound of Gizmo off and on without muting the speakers on your computer or device.

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