The Equation Editor


Use of the equation editor is the best way to format your equations.  Some equations will be nearly impossible to represent without this editor.  Others will simply look unprofessional.  Compare the following:



dy    ax2 + bx + c

--- = ---------------

dx    (x – a)2



The second form looks better and required about a third of the time to create with the equation editor.  You can save significant amounts of time if you become familiar with the shortcut keys within the equation editor, as described below.


Quickly Entering the Equation Editor


The clumsy way to enter the equation editor is to follow the following menu commands:


insert | object | Microsoft Equation Editor 3.0


A less clumsy method is to place an icon on your editing toolbar.  To do this, follow the menu options “Tools | Customize,” click on the “Commands” tab, click on the “Insert” keyword in the left hand window, and scroll down through the right hand window until you reach “ Equation Editor.”  Drag the symbol ”” to the edit toolbar, and you can then click on this symbol rather than going through the menu items.


An efficient method is to map the equation editor to a keyboard symbol.  I have the editor mapped to the keystroke “Control-E,” so that I can enter and exit the equation editor without having to use the mouse.  To map the equation editor to “Control-E,” do the following:


Tools | Customize

Click on the “Commands” tab.

Click on the “keyboard” button.

Click on “Insert” in the left hand window.

Click on “InsertEquation” in the right hand window.

Type the symbol “Control-E” in the box labeled “Press new shortcut key,” and then hit the “assign” button.


Once this is done, “Control-E” will open the equation editor.  You can exit the equation editor by hitting the escape key.


You now have no excuse not to use the equation editor on a casual basis.  It is only one keystroke away.


While in the equation editor, you can use various keystrokes rather than the cumbersome method of dragging symbols from the menu bar.  The keystrokes are divided into four categories:


1.     Single keystrokes that insert one symbol.

2.     Single keystrokes that bring up templates that you can then fill in (e.g. for integrals, summations and matrices).

3.     Individual keystrokes to change the font (you will need to highlight the text to be changed and then hit the keystroke).

4.     Individual keystrokes to modify text with accents, overscores, vectors and other marks.


In the lists below, CTRL+ means “hold the control key down while hitting ….”  For example, CTRL+K means “hold the control key down while hitting the k key.”  Similarly, “CTRL+SHIFT+K” means to simultaneously hold down the control key, the shift key, and the k key.


Insertion of Single Symbols


To insert                          Press CTRL+K and then …











 (a half space)                 CTRL+<spacebar>



Insertion of templates


Note: While you can simply insert “(“ by using the “(“ key, the parentheses will not grow as the equation becomes more complicated.  You should therefore get into the habit of using “CTRL+(“ whenever you are grouping parts of an equation.



To insert                          Press

                                    CTRL+( (note that it is not necessary to hold the SHIFT key)



 (fraction)                       CTRL+f a¯b

 (slanted fraction)         CTRL+/ a <tab> b

 (superscript)                A CTRL+h b

 (subscript)                   CTRL+l   b

 (sub+superscript)         A CTRL+j b ­ c

 (Integral)                 CTRL+I xdx ­ b ¯¯ a

 (absolute value)            CTRL+t |  a

 (root)                          CTRL+r a

 (nth root)                              CTRL+t n a­­b

 (summation)              CTRL+t s c ­ b ¯¯ a



 (product)                   CTRL+t p c ­ b ¯¯ a


 (3x3 matrix)        CTRL+t m a<tab>b<tab>c<tab>d<tab>e<tab>f<tab>g<tab>h<tab>i<tab>


 (limit)                         CTRL+t u lim ¯ dx®0


Font Changes


To choose                       Press

                        CTRL+SHIFT+ =

                          CTRL+SHIFT+ E

                   CTRL+SHIFT+ F

                     CTRL+SHIFT+ I

 (greek)        CTRL+SHIFT+ G

         CTRL+SHIFT+ B



Accent Marks and Overbars


These commands will apply the mark to the highlighted text or the character to the left of the cursor.


Accent                             Keystroke

 (overbar)                       CTRL+SHIFT+

 (tilde)                            CTRL+SHIFT+ ~

 (vector)                         CTRL+ALT+

 (prime)                         CTRL+ALT+ '

 (double prime)              CTRL+ "

 (dot)                             CTRL+ALT+ .