What fresh hell is this? MS Word’s new equation editor


Every once in awhile, I have to load up a document with equations. Planning journals have no idea what to do with LaTex.

So I wind up with MS Word documents. In the past, I’ve just typeset the equation in LaTex and saved it as a pdf file.

This time out, I wanted to give Microsoft a chance, as I am using the new, very nice Mac version of MS Word.

The equation editor is more stable and less clunky, but it’s a ribbon you have to scroll through for symbols. Now, maybe that’s faster for people who were used to dealing with the equation editor, but those of us from LaTex who are used to just typing \sigma^a_t, the idea that you are going to scroll through the ribbon for the right positioning template, then scroll through for the ribbon for the sigma, then finally get to use your keyboard for a and b is hell.

Oh, and I’M OLD YOU YOUNG COMPUTER SCIENCE BASTARDS. Ribbons with buttons on them the size of half a dime are illegible even with my reading glasses.


5 thoughts on “What fresh hell is this? MS Word’s new equation editor

  1. Nothing is so inefficient as attempts to make things user-friendly for people who already know what they’re doing. For instance, 95% of what I want to do in Stata I can do faster by typing at the command line than by using the menu system.

    On a positive note, have you considered LaTeXiT? This small program launches almost instantly and lets you drag and drop the typeset version of the equation.

  2. Not wishing to enter into the LaTeX vs. Word battle here, because both have their place. The fact is, many people have to use Word simply to collaborate with others who do (whose company/institution policy may require it), or to submit an article to one of the many journals that require it. Just wanted to point out that with MathType, you can type LaTeX directly into Word and convert one or all of the equations into MathType equations with a click. Edit them in MathType or in LaTeX, your choice.

  3. I’m also unsure of how much I like Word’s new equations. I don’t’ like Cambria’s math font, at all. I also hate looking through huge menus for what I need. On the other hand, I am not too much a fan of how LatexIt equation objects display in Word on Mac — they look great in Keynote, not so great in Word.

    The one thing I do like is that Word’s equation editor will auto-translate much Latex code into Word equations. E.g., you can type \propto in a Word equation, and it will translate.

    Still trying to find a less-drastic solution than an all-out ban: I could enforce it in my group, but Word is just used by too many other collaborators to give up on. Maybe post-tenure. 🙂

Comments are closed.