How to Write Mathematics Using MS Word (or Powerpoint)
by Peter P. Wakker
Added March 2018: the equation editor of Word now is much better than in 2004, and I often use it. Much maths in the annotated bibliography dates from earlier times, and uses special fonts. Below follows the 2004 explanation. The only relevant point in 2018 is how to download fonts, which can be done using the link in Section 1 below.
I prefer not to use an equation editor.
Most formulas for powerpoint I first write in MS-Word
and then paste-copy to powerpoint, having both programs
In the rest of this text, I explain how I write maths
The fonts with mathematical symbols
that I use can be downloaded
2. The Symbols
The link to a pdf file that has the
symbols that I use is given below, containing the abbreviations that I use,
including summations, integrals, and fractions.
Pdf-file with mathematical symbols.
The next section explains an efficient manner to type these symbols
in MS-Word through abbreviations and the autotext function.
I also add the above file as MS-Word file, so that you can easily copy
symbols. Here some symbols will probably not show up properly on your screen.
The reason then is that you donyt have the fonts installed on your computer
that are used for those symbols. If the symbols in question are important to
you, you can download the fonts as indicated on top of this file, after which
you get the symbols properly.
MS-Word file with mathematical symbols. (Some symbols
may not show up properly on your screen.)
We want to type the symbols faster than clicking our way through Insert-Symbol etc.
Faster than macros is the autotext function. (Until 2003 I recommended using
the autocorrect function, but in more recent versions of MS-Word and Windows
there are some difficulties with the implementation of autocorrect.)
To illustrate how autotext
works, we let it reproduce a. I assume that you have
saved a working copy of the MS-Word file of the previous section onto your computer, and
have it opened before you (and maybe a printed
version of this file). We will let autotext replace a by alpha at places where we
This is how autotext works. From now on, in all files you work on in MS Word
on this computer, if you first type ga and then F3, a
will appear. In this manner, you can introduce all symbols you like into the
autotext function and then type mathematics efficiently.
Highlight/mark a (no need to copy or anything).
Highlighting is the first step of copying something. It usually makes the
highlighted text look black on the screen.
Type ALT-F3. A box called “Create Autotext” appears.
Type “ga.” This ga appears in the box Create Autotext.
Youyre back in Word-input-mode.
From now on you can use Autotext to easily reproduce the alpha, as follows.
Type ga, after a space (ga must be separated from the preceding text).
Then type F3. The a appears.