Typing Mathematical Symbols in Microsoft Word

I frequently have to place small mathematical expressions into the text of documents that I write for work. This is not easy in Microsoft Word. You need to access a variety of menus to apply subscripts or superscripts, or to insert Greek symbols.

I have discovered a neat trick for making math easier to type in Microsoft Word. You can use the autocorrect function to replace an unformatted expression with a formatted one. I use the unit inverse femtobarn frequently. I know that is hard to believe, but it is true. I can now type fb-1 and have fb-1 appear. Other examples are typing -> and have appear → or typing +/- and having ± appear.

First write the expression and format it correctly. Such as fb-1. Highlight the expression and go to the tools menu. Choose autocorrect options. You would see fb-1 in the box. Click on the formatted text button, and it will change to fb-1. Now go the box to the left of fb-1 and type in fb-1. Click add and OK. The original fb-1 may have turned into fb-1 . I am not sure why it does that, but if you type fb-1 it will correctly turn into fb-1.

The text you type does not have to be identical to the text that appears. I type K_s and it appears as Ks. The same for B_s making Bs.

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24 Responses to “Typing Mathematical Symbols in Microsoft Word”

  1. Guess Who Says:

    You spelled “believe” wrong. Your blog needs a spellchecker.

  2. All of the math made it hard to run the spellchaecker.

  3. anonymous Says:

    …and besides, you need to use LaTeX… Microsoft Word is a bit more than ghetto.

  4. I used to be a LaTeX expert and used all of the time. I have it installed in my computer, and I use it to generate documents that go direct to PDF or the printer. If you look at my choices to make subscripted expressions you can see that, B_s.

    It is not option for me when I have to pass documents on to others who do not know or have LaTeX.

  5. This is a good idea that I’ve been using a bit to put math in PowerPoint. In fact, I’m considering entering into autocorrect all (or at least the ones I use most) of the latex math commands and their corresponding output selected from the symbol font. That way I can type \times and get the symbol font’s “x” times character, etc.

    My main concern is then if I can backup/restore/publish the autocorrection translation table.

  6. There are ways to do it. I was able to find it by googling when I first wrote the post.

  7. Heather P :) Says:

    Wow, thanks so much. I could never work out how to do those things, it was realy useful. When ever i wanted to put in a ° (degrees) sign i had to copy and paste one!

  8. This is the post that gets the most hits from search engines. I keep thinking I should expand it, since not everyone may know how to get the symbols in to begin with.

  9. Does anyone know how to make a shortcut for objects created in Microsoft Equation 3.0? I use abbreviations such as “c” with a line over it for “with”, and “s” with a line over it for “without”. It is rather time consuming to click, Insert, Object & create the abbreviation in Microsoft Equation 3.0 each time I want to use it.

  10. I want to have this software

  11. realy useful. When ever i wanted to put in a ° (degrees) sign i had to copy and paste one!

  12. realy useful. When ever i wanted to put in a ° (degrees) sign i had to copy and paste one!

  13. its nice and superb

  14. What does double parentheses mean???

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  20. Manoharan S Says:

    I am Manoharan S, India. I am typing Mathematics in word straightaway without any equation editor help. It is quite easier. I know very well commands to make any fractions. I am doing this job for Government Mathematics Books for the last 15 years.

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