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Polypad User Guide


This tutorial provides an overview of the tools and functionality of Polypad. Below are the topics covered.

  • Introduction (adding tiles, tile options, copying tiles)
  • Saving and Sharing Polypads
  • Advanced Features (layering and locking tiles, customization options)
  • Additional Features (equations, text editing, sound effects, and more)

Introduction to Working with Tiles

Adding Tiles to the Canvas

To add tiles to the canvas, drag it onto the canvas or click on the tile. Select a tile to reveal an action bar for that tile. Change the placement of the action bar by clicking the pin.

Tile Options

Click on the gear on the action bar to see a variety of features for each tile type.

Copying Tiles

Copying tiles is very useful in Polypad. Copy tiles by selecting the copy option at the bottom of the canvas, clicking "c" on the keyboard, or holding down the "ALT" to create a copy by dragging.

Saving and Sharing Polypads

Saving a Polypad

Easily save Polypads and create folders to organize Polypads. Double-click on a saved Polypad to quickly load the canvas.

Sharing a Polypad

There are 3 options for allowing access to a saved Polypad:

  • Sharing on and Access set to "Public": Anyone can access the Polypad with the link. No account is needed to view the Polypad.
  • Sharing on, Access set to "My Students" (in a teacher account) or "My Teacher" (in a student account): Only students or teachers connected to a Mathigon class can access the Polypad.
  • Sharing off: Only the owner of the Polypad has access.

The options shown in gray (Everyone in my school, and Specific user) are not yet available.

More Advanced Features


Layering options for tiles appear in the setting menu for each tile type. Click on the gear in the action bar of each tile to change the layering options. Text, Equations, and Question Builder boxes are automatically set to Keep on Top. Learn more about layering at the 7:00 mark in the video below.


Click on the gear in the action bar of each tile to change the interaction options. Learn more about interactivity options at the 5:30 mark in the video below.

Default allows users to move, delete, and copy tiles, change the color, and access all options in the action bar.

Select Locked to prevent users from making any changes to the given tile. A locked tile functions as a fixed image on the canvas. Users cannot copy, move, rotate or do anything else with the tile. Unlock all tiles in the settings menu.

Select Cannot Move to fix the tile in one place while allowing users to make copies of the locked tile. This feature is useful tiles need to serve as a template or pile of unlimited tiles. Unlock the position in the same manner as locking the position.

Invisible tiles remain on the canvas and can be used to align other tiles.

Edit locked and invisible tiles by turning on this mode in the Grid and Display menu.

Customizing Polypads

Click on the tools icon on the settings bar on the right-hand side of the canvas to reveal the Customize UI panel. These settings allow you to customize which Polypad features and user interface (UI) elements are enabled. The settings are stored when you save your file, allowing you to create custom activities with only a subset of features. If you disable the sidebar entirely, you can still save the canvas be using command-S or control-S on your keyboard. Watch this video to learn more.

Other Features

Evaluating Expressions

Polypad will evaluate expressions creating using the Equation Editor. Turn this option on and off in the settings menu. The expressions work appropriately on the balance scale.

Changing Colors

Use the color picker at the bottom of the canvas to change colors. Click on the slider to change the RGB values or to enter an RGB value. Use the bottom slider to change the transparency of the tile.

Text Box and Equation Editor

Easily change the size and color of text and equations.

Pen Tool

Use the pen tool for to write on the canvas and use the ruler tool to draw straight lines.

High Contrast Mode

High Contrast Mode is found in the settings toolbar and is helpful when projecting a Polypad on a large screen.

Dark Mode

Select Dark Mode in your account settings menu.

Sound Effects

Sound effects are available for most probability tools as well as merging Number Cards. Sound effects can be turned on and off in the Customize UI settings menu.

Keyboard Shortcuts

There are a number of keyboard shortcuts in Polypad.

You can find this list within Polypad by clicking on the “?” on the settings bar on the right of the canvas and then selecting “Accessibility.”

Learning about Tiles

Visit the Tutorial Page for learning about using all the different tiles.