How to Enter Mathematical Equations into a Microsoft Word Document

422157 How to Enter Mathematical Equations into a Microsoft Word Document

Microsoft Word provides several methods for entering mathematical equations into documents. Here is an overview of the main options:

Use the Built-In Equation Editor

The easiest way to enter an equation is to use Word’s built-in Equation Editor:

  1. Click Insert > Equation or press Alt + =
  2. Select one of the built-in equations from the menu
  3. The equation will be inserted into the document

To edit the equation, double-click on it and the Equation Editor will open.

Write Equations by Hand

You can write equations freehand using a mouse, stylus or touchscreen:

  1. Click Insert > Equation > Ink Equation
  2. Write the equation using a finger or stylus. Word will convert handwriting to text
  3. Click Insert once finished writing

This method allows you to write equations naturally as you would on paper.

Type Equations from Scratch

To type an equation from scratch:

  1. Press Alt + =
  2. Type the equation using LaTeX formatting
  3. Use backslash \ to insert Greek letters and math symbols
  4. Press spacebar to convert the LaTeX code into symbols

For example, type \alpha and press spacebar to insert α. Here is a reference for LaTeX symbols.

Insert an Equation Object

You can insert Equation Editor 3.0 as an object:

  1. Click Insert > Object
  2. Select Microsoft Equation 3.0
  3. Click OK
  4. The Equation Editor will appear in the document

This method opens the editor in a layer above the document for advanced formatting.

Tips for Creating Equations

Here are some tips when working with equations:

  • Use Equation Tools tab to edit existing equations
  • Break complex equations into smaller pieces using multi-line formatting
  • Insert symbols, Greek letters, radicals, integrals, etc. from the symbols library
  • Use LaTeX formatting for advanced equations
  • Adjust font, size, color, and more from the Home tab
  • Right click equations to cut, copy, paste, or delete
  • Wrap inline equations in $ $ signs and display equations in $$ $$

Common Issues with Equations

Here are solutions to some common issues that can occur:

Equations Display as Boxes – Enable “Show picture placeholders” under File > Options > Advanced

Equations Disappearing – Click to the left or right of the space to make them reappear

Text Overlapping Equations – Set line spacing to “Single” under Home > Paragraph

Equations Cut Off – Increase line spacing or use a larger font size

Cursor Jumps Around – Click outside the equation then back inside to reset the cursor


Microsoft Word provides versatile tools for typing, handwriting, and inserting mathematical equations. Mastering the Equation Editor and LaTeX formatting language enables creating complex equations with ease. Paying attention to document formatting helps ensure equations display correctly. With some practice, Word can handle all your math equation needs.

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