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There are four sections to this document

  • Before you can use the Equation Editor
  • (Very) Basic operation of the Equation Editor
  • Shortcut Keys are your very best friend
  • Simonds tips on using the equation editor

Before you can use the Equation Editor

The other three sections of this document will work only if the Microsoft Equation Editor has been installed on the machine you are using; the Equation Editor comes with Microsoft Office but is not installed under a standard installation. The computers in the Sylvania CRC and Sylvania math classrooms all have the Equation Editor installed. On your home machine you probably will need to load your Microsoft office CD and do a custom install to install the Equation Editor. (It's easier to do than the phrase "custom install" implies. J ) All of the maneuvers described in this section of the document will need to be done at most once.

After installing the Equation Editor, you also want to customize your toolbar so that the Equation Editor button  is easily accessible. (The button is already on the CRC and math classroom machines.)

The menu shown in Figure 1 was opened by selecting Tools - Customize from the toolbar menu across the top of the screen, then selecting the commands file-tab at the top of the dialogue box, then selecting the insert category on the left side of the box, and finally scrolling down on the right-side of the box until the Equation Editor button was in view. Once you have located the Equation Editor button, left-click and drag the button up to your toolbar menu.

Figure 1: Customizing your Toolbar

(Very) Basic operation of the Equation Editor

Once your Equation Editor button is in place, all you need to do to open an Equation Box is left-click that button. Upon your click an Equation Box like that shown in Figure 2 will appear as well as the Equation Editor Menu shown in Figure 3. (As a side note I should mention that the Equation Editor Menu has the unfortunate habit of sometimes opening directly on top of the location at which you are typing. L Should this happen, simply left-click and drag the solid strip across the top of the box until the box is out of the way.)

Figure 2: Equation Box

Figure 3: Equation Editor Menu
The Equation Editor Menu can be used to insert both symbols and templates for complicated mathematical expressions. For example, Figure 4 shows what you click to insert the Pi symbol; Figure 5 shows what to click to insert a fraction template.
Figure 4: Inserting a Pi symbol

Figure 5: Inserting a Fraction Template

Once a template has been inserted into your Equation Box, you need to look and see where inside the template the cursor is flashing. You then go ahead and type the information that goes into that location. To move to the next location in the template you press the Tab key. You also press the Tab key to exit the template. When you are done typing in your expression, you left-click anywhere outside of the Equation Box. If you need to edit an existing Equation Box you simply double-click anywhere over the expression contained within the box.

Shortcut Keys are your very best friend

Mousing all of your math symbols and templates gets real old real fast; thankfully there are shortcut keys that enable you to avoid your mouse in most circumstances. The shortcut keys are found in the Help Menu when you have an Equation Box open. I have copied the most commonly used shortcut keys into figures 6, 7, and 8.
Figure 6: Shortcut Keys for selected Math Templates

Figure 7: Shortcut Keys for after the fact symbol Embellishments

Figure 8: Shortcut keys for selected math symbols

Creating Math Inside Word Part II

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