# Typing formulas

mgookin
What software works best for a student to be able to sit at a blank page and be able to efficiently type formulas without having to fight the software for nomenclature, super/subscript and Greek letters?

And how about freebody diagrams, graphs, etc? Isn't there academic software for all of this?

calcium12
cant you just insert formulas in Microsoft word ? (2007)

mgookin
I find MS Word to have too many shortcomings. There is no ability to sit at a keyboard and type. It's a constant fight to get subscript, superscript, Greek letters and formatting to work. What should take 15 seconds to type takes 15 hours of fighting an obviously defficient application. I choose to invest my efforts in learning Physics, Calc, Chem, etc. and not how to fix what Microsoft screwed up (again).

When you are in Equation Editor in Word, superscript and subscript are grey. That's as stuck on stupid as stuck on stupid gets.

So what software exists for doing Physics homework?

El Moriana
In the MS word equation editor you don't use the sub/superscript buttons used in normal text. It has a its own that you can find under the "Design" tab under "Script".

Sub and superscript can also be achived by using "_" and "^" respectively as operators (in equation editor).
For example, typing "a^3" will automatically change to "a3" after you press space. This makes typing formulas quite a bit faster.

Extra:
• the "/" operator automatically creates a fraction
• bracketing the expressions before and after operators applies the operator to everything in the brackets.
• pressing "Alt"+"=" opens the equation editor

As a more complete example, type "(a^3_(2b)+2)/(c+5)" into equation editor.

If you are set on finding a new program, however, MathType is quite good.

Thats it. I realize this is uber late, but the info is there incase it is needed in the future.

Gold Member
I use $\LaTeX$ to typeset everything. It's available free, but you do need to learn the markup language. (On the plus side, you'll then have no problems doing mathematical typesetting on PF!) There's a WYSIWYG editor for $\LaTeX$ called LyX that some people find easier than writing all the markup themselves.

Another option is using MathType with Word. MathType has a somewhat hard-to-find option that lets you use $\TeX$ markup to enter formulas. That way you wont have to typeset the entire document.

"www.miktex.org"[/URL]
[PLAIN]"www.lyx.org"[/URL]
[PLAIN]http://www.dessci.com/en/products/mathtype/" [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator:
Bill Simpson
These folks

http://www.mackichan.com/

seem to do a good job and offer free trial versions.

I used their lowest end product, scientific notebook, years ago for a little while, was happy with how easily I was able to produce what I thought were good looking documents and didn't think I would ever need or want to step up their higher level products. But I should say that it looks like some people are much more fanatic about desktop publishing everything thing they do, so use this suggestion at your own risk.