# Alternatives to MS Equation Editor 3.0

1. Jan 19, 2012

### vanmaiden

Is there a free program that can make the inclusion of proper mathematical notation (e.g. limits, sums, functions, etc.) in MS Word easier than Equation Editor 3.0? The last time I had to write a math paper, the hardest part of the process was the constant inputs of / revisions to equations and symbols.

Thank you!

2. Jan 19, 2012

### Simon Bridge

Slightly longer: depends - different editors have different emphasis so your papers may be easier to write in them. However afaik, they all follow much the same paradigm.

You'll have noticed how useful PFLaTeX is in these forums?

You can also get a plugin that lets you use it in Word ... never used it myself though.
http://texpoint.necula.org/

What everyone at the high-end does, they use LaTeX to write the whole paper.
You can get powerful free programs that will let you write LaTeX documents for any platform and the discipline is well worth learning.

(These programs can output to almost any format and there are converters to any other format. So if a teacher is boorish enough to absolutely insist on Word files, you can still do that.)

3. Jan 19, 2012

### vanmaiden

How long would it take to pick up LaTeX?

4. Jan 19, 2012

### jhae2.718

It doesn't take too long, especially if you have any experience with other markup languages. If I remember correctly I took about a day to get going with it. (Some things, of course, are harder and take more time.)

5. Jan 19, 2012

### Simon Bridge

I'd agree there - it took me about a day. My main issue was getting the document metadata sorted.

There are a range of editors - but I've always just used a text editor and run the latex engine from the commandline. Shop around.

There are lots of guides too:
The not so short introduction to LaTeX is a good one.
Typesetting math is pp49-63 in that, gives you an idea.
On top of which you get automatic numbering of equations and headings with the ability to add dynamic references.
You ca also change paper sizes with a few keystrokes without having to redo the layout.

You don't get as much choice in terms of fonts and layout as you do with Word, and the defaults include things you are not used to like wide margins.
The defaults have been worked out by people who have to read papers a lot - some of them, scores a day or more. This means that they have very firm and good ideas about what sort of layout makes a paper easy to read. LaTeX layout is a good start to getting an A - especially if all the others are using Word.

Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
6. Jan 19, 2012

### robphy

Have you looked at MathType http://www.dessci.com/en/products/mathtype/trial.asp ?
After the trial period, it becomes MathType lite, which [still] has support for $\LaTeX$.

I like the new feature of recognizing handwriting.
Unfortunately, this feature only seems to work for Windows 7.... I wish this worked on Windows XP TabletPCs.

Alternatively, this came up in a google search: http://latexinword.sourceforge.net/ (I don't know much about it.)

On a side note, depending on the type of equations you write,
you could take advantage of copy and paste [and modify]... with LaTeX [as markup-text] or EquationEditor [as a metafile]. In addition, you could write programs [in perl, python, Maple, etc...] that write LaTeX.

7. Jan 19, 2012

### Simon Bridge

LaTeX is well supported in a range of wysiwyg text editors ... including libre office. It's a case of googling for variations till you get one you like.
A thought everyone with XP tablets had upgraded to something linuxy by now?

8. Jan 19, 2012

### Dr Transport

9. Jan 19, 2012

### robphy

The only thing that comes close to the Inking experience on a XP-TabletPC is "Windows 7 [on a TabletPC]".
Linux doesn't quite do it as well. The so-called "tablets" (with touch, but not a true Wacom-based [or nTrig-based] digitizer) also fall short.

10. Jan 20, 2012

### vanmaiden

Great to hear! I don't want to knock MS Equation Editor 3.0 too much, but after writing my first math paper, the hardest part was the constant copy-and-pasting. I'll look into this.

11. Jan 20, 2012

### vanmaiden

I have a friend that used the 30-day free trial and said it worked well. I'll play around with that too if one can still get use out of the program after the 30 days.

12. Jan 20, 2012

### Simon Bridge

Oh no - it's fine for womping up a quickie equation if you don't need many of them - as you have found.
You'll have seen from the responses that using $\LaTeX2e$ :) is very strongly favored.

You basically get to choose between a plugin for an existing wysiwyg editor, a gui especially for latex like Lyx, or the set of CLI tools that all these are based on and using them directly.
If you also have one of the linux's or BSD's, they come with all the latex tools already.

Naturally I prefer people to favor free/open source programs before restricted/proprietary ones. There's lots to choose from, happy hacking.