Geometer's Sketchpad

I had reason recently to use the Sketchpad software. I used it to understand some geometry more clearly so I could code it in some software that I am trying to write to design kayaks. Unlike most software that allows you to draw geometric elements, the things that you draw are easily defined relative to other elements. So if you draw a line “parallel” to another line or tangential to a circle, then the software remembers this constraint and if you enlarge the circle or move the line then the other element will move or distort so as to maintain the relationship.

There is nothing remotely like it that I am familiar with. It is very useful when trying to understand geometric concepts. McGraw-Hill abandoned it many years ago, and I do not know why. When you Google the topic, you get directed to various websites, including “official” ones that talk about its death and lack of support etc.

You have to scroll down quite far to find a website that reveals the program still has a heart beat. They call it a “beta test” site. It has been in this “beta” status for many years. The website itself has not been upgraded for years. But the beta works quite well. It is freely available. And it works on Silicon Macs. If you go to the “normal” sites and try and download the legacy version(s) that still exist on the web, you will find they are not compatible with the new Mac hardware.

I write this note because I am such an enthusiast, and I don’t like the thought that somebody looking for this software would very likely not find it. There is a Wikipedia entry that just talks of it death.

In general, the pattern is that software improves or competitors build upon it with better products. I see this as a big exception…

Sketchpad Beta Test for Mac


I work in education and I came across the same dilemma with Geometer’s Sketchpad. Thanks for finding this solution! Beyond there being no replacement for Geometer’s Sketchpad, several textbooks included Geometer’s Sketchpad examples as a core feature. MH’s decision to EOL Sketchpad effectively rendered those textbooks obsolete as well. I’m sure you have come across these alternatives in your research but Geogebra’s Geometry suite is an acceptable solution with a desktop and web interface; Geogebra is more powerful than it appears. Desmos recently added a geometry suite as well but it is rather rudimentary. I hestitate to list Mathematica as another option due to its complexity and cost but it does have some geometry features that might be interesting to you. I haven’t tried these other options but in case you didn’t come across this wikipedia page, List of Interactive Geometry Software. might be of use to you. Given that you found a working version of GSP, I don’t think you’ll need these alternatives but I thought I would write this in case you are fond of trying new software like I am.

Sorry for not including all the links (I was limited to two links). I’ve been lurking here for awhile but this post was the first one I felt I could contribute to in a hopefully meaningful way.


I knew Geogebra, but had not done anything with it. Your comments prompted me to explore it further.

I am very glad it is out there. I prefer Geometer’s Sketchpad for many things, but these programs have a LOT of overlap and, for me, if one were to disappear, I could live with the other. There are also areas that are better covered by Geogebra.

I sense that neither is being actively worked on. McGrawHill basically dropped Geometer’s Sketchpad and I do not know why. Wikipedia writes that Geogebra has been bought out by an Indian company Byju.

On January 25, 2024, lenders began bankruptcy proceedings against GeoGebra’s parent company Byju’s in an effort to repay its loans.[8] On February 1, 2024, Byju’s U.S. division filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware.

So neither program seems heavily maintained in the current time, but both work very well.

Thanks for the heads up.