# Typing Math in Microsoft Word

Written by Jennifer Marsala. Last updated August 30, 2024

## Description

This tutorial is designed to help students and teachers understand how to type mathematics in Microsoft Word by 1) selecting symbols and functions from the equation toolbar, 2) using the Ink Math option to convert handwritten math to typewritten math, 3) typing keystroke commands for math symbols and functions, and/or 4) using LaTeX commands.

### Creating accessible mathematics

The keystroke commands in this tutorial can help all users to type math content quickly without searching for symbols in Microsoft Word's equation toolbar, but these keystrokes are particularly useful for those who are visually impaired, since the equation toolbar can be difficult to navigate with a screen reader.

The math content created with Microsoft Word's equation tool is accessible with the JAWS screen reader. Teachers can therefore use the equation tool to create accessible mathematical documents, and students with visual impairments can use the equation tool to create mathematical output for their coursework. See the University of Houston's JAWS screen reader tutorial to learn how to use JAWS and to learn tips for creating accessible documents.

This webpage is accessible with the JAWS screen reader when using Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Firefox as your browser.

## Table of contents

Click on any link below to navigate to that portion of the document.

- Description
- 1. Opening Microsoft Word's built-in equation tool
- 2. Creating math content using the equation toolbar
- 3. Exiting the equation tool
- 4. Converting handwritten math to typewritten math
- 5. Keystrokes for common math symbols and functions
- 6. Troubleshooting for keystroke commands
- 7. Editing equations and switching between linear & professional modes
- 8. Discovering other equation tool commands
- 9. Typing equations with LaTeX in Word
- 10. Text mode
- 11. Equation display size and other options
- 12. Setting a Word document to open in read-only mode
- 13. Math accessibility tips
- Contact / Feedback

## 1. Opening Microsoft Word's built-in equation tool

Microsoft Word's equation tool can be accessed by selecting **Insert**
from the top ribbon, and then selecting **Equation** from the **Symbols**
group at the far-right side of the ribbon. You can alternatively use the
keyboard shortcut ALT + EQUALS to open the equation tool.

An equation box appears within the Word document as shown in the screenshot below:

The equation toolbar also appears at the top of the screen, as shown below.

Note: The equation toolbar disappears whenever you are
working on content other than mathematics. If you want to edit an equation and can
no longer see the equation toolbar, first place your cursor within the desired
equation. If the equation toolbar does not show up, click the **Equation** menu
at the very top of Word's ribbon. (In the above screenshot, the **Equation**
menu is blue and is located to the right of the **Acrobat** menu.) The **Equation**
menu is only visible when your cursor is placed within math content.

## 2. Creating math content using the equation toolbar

### Exploring the equation toolbar

Note: Alternative keystroke commands are described later in this document for sighted or visually impaired users who find it easier to type commands than to choose math symbols from the equation toolbar.

After selecting **Insert** and **Equation** or the
shortcut ALT + EQUALS, the equation toolbar appears at the top of the screen. You
can use selections from this toolbar along with characters from your keyboard to
type math content.

Use the **Symbols** scrollbar, shown in red above, to scroll
through symbols in that category. Also explore the dropdown menus in the **Structures**
group, indicated in green above, to view selections for fractions, scripts, radicals,
etc.

Use the **Symbols** dropdown, shown in blue above, to view
the full palette of symbols for the current category and to select and view other
symbol categories. The names of the eight symbol categories are shown in the screenshot
below.

Three examples are given below to illustrate how the equation toolbar can be used to create math content.

### Equation Toolbar Example 1

Use the equation toolbar to create the following math content: $x-y=\displaystyle\frac{3}{5+z}$.

Follow the steps below:

1)**Insert** + **Equation** or ALT + EQUALS. An equation box
appears within the document.

2)

Type the following characters from your keyboard within the equation box: the letter x, then the dash symbol (for the minus sign), then the letter y, then the equals sign.3)**Structures** group of the toolbar and
choose the fraction style that you prefer.

4)

Two input boxes appear within the fraction — one for the numerator and one for the denominator, as shown in the screenshot below.To type $\displaystyle\frac{3}{5+z}$ : Place your cursor in the numerator and type the number 3. Then place your cursor in the denominator (or use the down arrow to navigate from numerator to denominator) and then type 5+z. Note that you do not need parentheses around the 5+z, due to the input box that Word created for the denominator. The final output should appear as $x-y=\displaystyle\frac{3}{5+z}$ . (Refer to the next section to learn how to exit the equation tool.)

Note: Fractions can alternatively be typed with keystrokes; the keystrokes for common math symbols and functions are discussed later in this document.

### Equation Toolbar Example 2

Use the equation toolbar to create the following math content: $7\pm 4\pi \cdot {\Omega}^{2}$.

Follow the steps below:

1)**Insert** + **Equation** or ALT + EQUALS. An equation box
appears within the Word document.

2)

Type the number 7 from your keyboard.3)**Symbols** group and select that
symbol. If you cannot find it, click on the **Symbols** group dropdown and
make sure you are viewing the **Basic Math** category. (If you need to
change the symbol category, refer to the earlier section on exploring the equation toolbar.)

4)

Type the number 4 from your keyboard.5)**Basic Math** symbols category. (It
is also found in the **Greek Letters** category, shown later in this problem.)
Click on the **Symbols** dropdown to view all symbols in the **Basic Math**
category (recommended) or use the scrollbar to scroll up or down to find the
symbol.

The entire **Basic Math** palette is shown below.
Find the $\pi $ symbol and select it.

6)**Basic Math** category of symbols. (There is an
operator in the same row as $\pi $ that resembles a multiplication dot but is a
small square rather than a small circle.)

The dot multiplication symbol can be found in the **Operators**
category of symbols. Switch symbol categories from the **Basic Math** category
to the **Operators** category as shown in the screenshot below.

A long palette of **Operators** symbols should
appear. Choose the dot multiplication symbol from the first row of symbols, as
shown in blue below. (Note that the JAWS screen reader will read this symbol as
“dot operator.”)

7)

To produce the output $7\pm 4\pi \cdot {\Omega}^{2}$, we now need to type ${\Omega}^{2}$.First click the **Script** dropdown from the **Structures**
group, and then choose the **Superscript** option.

Your equation should look like the one below, with one input box for the base and another for the exponent:

Next, we need to find $\Omega$, which is the capital Greek letter Omega. It can be found in the **Greek
Letters** category of the **Symbols** group. Switch symbol categories to **Greek
Letters** as shown in the screenshots below.

Find $\Omega$ in the **Greek
Letters** palette. (Side note: $\pi $ also appears in this group.) Place your
cursor in the input box for the base, which was created by the Superscript
structure, and then select the $\Omega$ symbol as shown
below.

Lastly, place your cursor in the input box for the exponent and type the number 2.

Your final output should be $7+4\pi \cdot {\Omega}^{2}$. (Refer to the next section to learn how to exit the equation tool.)

Note: The symbols for $\pi $, the multiplication dot, the superscript, and $\Omega$ can alternatively be typed with keystroke commands, discussed later in this document.

### Equation Toolbar Example 3

Use the equation toolbar to create the following math content: $x=\sqrt{y+1}+3$.

Follow the steps below.

1)**Insert** + **Equation** or ALT + EQUALS. An equation box
appears within the Word document.

2)

Type the x key and the equals key from your keyboard.3)

Select the square root symbol from the equation toolbar, using one of the following two methods:**Option 1:** Choose the square root symbol from
the **Basic Math** category of the **Symbols** group. (If you need
to change the symbol category, refer to the earlier section on exploring the equation toolbar.)

**Option 2:** You can instead choose the square
root symbol from the **Radical** dropdown of the **Structures** group.

The square root output looks different with each method as shown in the screenshot below:

These two square root options require slightly different steps for additional input, as described below.

4)**Symbols** group (Option
1):

Type (y+1) from your keyboard; the parentheses are needed since there is more
than one term under the square root. Then press the spacebar to complete the
square root; notice that the parentheses disappear but the entire expression y+1
is placed under the square root. Finally, type +4 from your keyboard.

If you used the square root symbol from the **Radical**
dropdown (Option 2):

There is an empty input box within the square root. Place your cursor inside
that box, type y+1 from your keyboard (parentheses are not needed), press the
right arrow to exit the square root, and type +4.

In both instances, the output is as follows. (Refer to the next section to learn how to exit the equation tool.)

Note: The square root symbol can instead be typed with keystroke commands, discussed later in this document.

## 3. Exiting the equation tool

If you are typing math content on a line by itself (or at
the very end of a line) and are finished typing content for that line, simply
press enter to go to the next line and exit equation mode in Word. You can then
type regular text on the new line or can begin another equation using ALT +
EQUALS or **Insert** + **Equation** again.

If you are typing inline math content (math content which is contained in the same line as regular text) and wish to resume typing regular text on that same line after the math content, press the right arrow to exit the math content equation box. Then press the spacebar key to create a space between the math content and your next word and type the rest of your sentence as usual. (Omit the spacebar key if you are typing punctuation immediately after the math content.)

## 4. Converting handwritten math to typewritten math

Microsoft Word's equation tool can recognize handwritten mathematics
and convert it to typewritten mathematics. If you can write on your screen with
a stylus or with your finger, or if you are adept enough to write using your
mouse, press **Insert** + **Equation** or ALT + EQUALS, then select **Ink
Equation** from the **Tools** group.

Hand-write the desired math in the yellow box and look at the
preview box. You can change your input with the *Write, Erase, Select and
Correct*, and *Clear* tools. (You can even erase or select/correct one
character at a time!) When you are done writing, select Insert and the equation
will appear in the main document. You can also edit after insertion within the standard
equation box. Three examples of handwritten equations and previewed typewritten
output are shown below.

## 5. Keystrokes for common math symbols and functions

In the alphabetical list below, you can find manual keystroke commands for many common math symbols and functions in Microsoft Word. These commands can be used by those who are sighted or visually impaired as an alternative to navigating the equation toolbar. Each of these commands can be used after pressing ALT + EQUALS, which opens Word's equation tool and creates a box to enter mathematical input. Make sure that you also read the instructions above on exiting the equation tool to resume typing regular text.

The **Conversions** group of the equation toolbar should
be set to **Unicode** for the full list of commands to work; **Unicode**
should be the default unless you have changed it.

The list below is not exhaustive. To find additional keystroke commands, see the section on discovering other equation tool commands. If the commands in the list are not working for you, see the section on troubleshooting keystroke commands.

Note for JAWS screen reader users: When encountering keystroke commands and instructions to produce sample equations, you may want to use the left and right arrows to step through one character at a time to make sure that each character is properly understood. Also note that a capital letter is only used at the beginning of commands involving capital Greek letters; all other letters in commands are lowercase.

### Alphabetical list of math symbols and functions along with manual keystroke commands

#### A

**Angle:** \angle followed by spacebar, produces the
output $\angle .$

**alpha (lowercase):** \alpha followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\alpha .$

#### B

**beta (lowercase):** \beta followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\beta .$

#### C

**chi (lowercase):** \chi followed by spacebar, produces
the output $\chi $.

**Composition of functions** (small circular symbol): type \circ followed by spacebar, produces the output $\circ .$ (Note that the JAWS screen reader reads this symbol as “ring operator.”)

**Congruence symbol:** \cong followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\cong .$ (Note that the JAWS screen reader reads this
symbol as “approximately equal to.”)

**Cosecant function:** csc followed by spacebar, followed
by the content you want to type within the function (remember parentheses as
needed), followed by the right arrow to exit the cosecant function to type more
math content.

**Cosine function:** cos followed by spacebar, followed
by the content you want to type within the function (remember parentheses as
needed), followed by the right arrow to exit the cosine function to type more math
content.

**Cotangent function:** cot followed by spacebar,
followed by the content you want to type within the function (remember
parentheses as needed), followed by the right arrow to exit the cotangent
function to type more math content.

**Cube root:** \cbrt followed by spacebar, followed by
the content that you want included inside the cube root, followed by spacebar.

•To obtain $\sqrt[3]{x}$, type \cbrt followed by spacebar followed by x.

•To obtain $\sqrt[3]{x+5}$, where you want the x+5 inside the cube root, you must use parentheses: Type \cbrt followed by spacebar, followed by (x+5), followed by spacebar.

•To obtain $\sqrt[3]{x+5}+7$, where you want the x+5 inside the cube root and the +7 outside the cube root: Type \cbrt followed by spacebar, followed by (x+5), followed by spacebar, followed by +7.

#### D

**Degree symbol:** \degree followed by spacebar.

Note that no superscript command is necessary. To produce the output $30°$, type 30\degree then spacebar.

**delta (lowercase):** \delta followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\delta $.

**Delta (uppercase):** \Delta followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\Delta$.

**Division symbol:** To create a division symbol that
looks like a horizontal line with a dot above and below, type \div followed by
spacebar. Produces the output $\div $. (See Fractions to create a fraction)

#### E

**Element of:** \in followed by spacebar, produces the
output $\in $.

**Empty set:** \emptyset followed by spacebar, produces
the output $\varnothing $.

**epsilon (lowercase):** \varepsilon followed by
spacebar, or \epsilon followed by spacebar. These commands produce the output $\varepsilon$ and $\epsilon $, respectively*. (See accessibility notes below.)

***Accessibility notes for the epsilon symbol** — for JAWS screen
reader users or for those preparing accessible mathematical documents:

The symbol produced by the \epsilon command is not being read by JAWS (even
though the symbol displays visually). The \varepsilon command is read properly by
JAWS, so use \varepsilon if you need to produce an accessible lowercase epsilon
symbol. If you discover a change in the behavior of the \epsilon command with
JAWS, please send a note via the feedback section.

**Equals sign:** Use the keyboard equals sign, =.

**Exponents/Superscripts:** Use the caret key followed by
the desired exponent followed by spacebar. Remember to include parentheses around
the exponent if needed.

•$y^2$ can be obtained by typing y^2 followed by spacebar.

•$3x^2+1$ can be obtained by typing 3x^2, then spacebar, then +1. (Also see note below.)

•$2^{x+1}$ can be obtained by typing 2^(x+1) followed by spacebar.

Note: You can omit the spacebar after the exponent when you type other operators such as the plus sign immediately after the exponent. So $3x^2+1$ can alternatively be produced by typing 3x^2+1 (with no spaces). However, the spacebar after the exponent can NOT be omitted when the exponent appears at the end of the expression. For the output $y^2$ or $2^{x+1}$, the spacebar at the end is needed (or the output contains the caret symbol).

#### F

**Fourth root:** \qdrt followed by spacebar, followed by
the content that you want included inside the fourth root, followed by
spacebar.

•To obtain $\sqrt[4]{x}$, type \qdrt followed by spacebar, followed by x, followed by spacebar.

•To obtain $\sqrt[4]{x+5}$, where you want the x+5 inside the fourth root, you must use parentheses: Type \qdrt followed by spacebar, followed by (x+5), followed by spacebar.

•To obtain $\sqrt[4]{x+5}+7$, where you want the x+5 inside the fourth root and the +7 outside the fourth root: Type \qdrt followed by spacebar, followed by (x+5), followed by spacebar, followed by +7.

**Fractions:** To create a fraction, type the numerator
(using parentheses as needed), followed by the forward slash key, followed by
the denominator (using parentheses as needed), followed by the spacebar.

•The fraction $\frac{3}{7}$ can be typed with 3, then /, then 7, then press spacebar. The fraction will appear larger if typed on its own line, as shown below.

•To type $\frac{x+1}{x+3}$, you must type parentheses around the numerator and denominator, i.e., (x + 1), then /, then (x+3), then spacebar.

•To type $\frac{3}{5y}$, type 3, then /, then 5y, then spacebar. (You can type parentheses around the denominator, 5y, which results in the same output.)

•To type $\frac{3}{5}y$, type 3, then /, then 5, then spacebar, then y.

•To type a fraction with empty placeholders for a numerator and denominator (as shown below), type the forward slash and the spacebar. Then go back and fill in the numerator and denominator.

#### G

**gamma (lowercase):** \gamma followed by the spacebar,
produces the output $\gamma $.

**Greater than symbol:** Use the > key on the
keyboard.

**Greater than or equal to symbol:** \ge or \geq followed
by the spacebar. Alternatively, simply press the > key followed by the =
key.

#### H

**Hyperbolic trigonometric functions:** Hyperbolic sine,
hyperbolic cosine, and hyperbolic tangent can be written as sinh, cosh, and
tanh; notice the h at the end of each command. Hyperbolic secant, hyperbolic cosecant
and hyperbolic cotangent are written as sech, csch, and coth; notice the h at
the end of each command. Each of these six commands should be followed by the
spacebar, followed by the content within the function (remember parentheses
as needed), followed by the right arrow to exit the hyperbolic function in
order to type more math content.

#### I

**Infinity:** \infty followed by spacebar, produces the
output $\infty $.

Note: To type negative infinity, type a dash before the infinity command but
while still within the equation tool, i.e., -\infty followed by spacebar produces
the output $-\infty $.

**Integers symbol:** See “Set of integers symbol.”

**Integrals:
**For indefinite integrals (integrals without lower and upper limits), type
\int followed by spacebar, followed by the content that you want included
inside the integral. To produce the output $\int \left(x^2+1 \right)dx$, type \int followed by spacebar followed by (x^2+1)dx.

For definite integrals (integrals with lower and upper limits), type \int followed by an underscore symbol followed by the lower limit, followed by the caret key along with the upper limit, followed by spacebar, followed by the content you want included inside the integral. To produce the output $\int_{3}^{7}\left(x^2+1 \right)dx$, type \int_3^7, then spacebar, then (x^2+1)dx. If you type the math content on its own separate line, the integral symbol will be larger as shown below:

$\displaystyle\int_{3}^{7}\left(x^2+1 \right)dx$

**Intersection symbol:** \cap followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\cap $.

**Inverse trigonometric functions:
**To obtain the inverse sine, inverse cosine, or inverse tangent functions,
type arcsin, arccos, or arctan — followed by spacebar, followed by the content
within the function (remember parentheses as needed). Press the right arrow to exit
each of these functions to type more math content.

To obtain the inverse cosecant, inverse secant, or inverse cotangent functions, type arccsc, arcsec, or arccot — followed by spacebar, followed by the content within the function (remember parentheses as needed). Press the right arrow to exit each of these functions to type more math content.

#### K

**kappa (lowercase):** \kappa followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\kappa $.

#### L

**lambda (lowercase):** \lambda followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\lambda .$

**Less than symbol:** Use the < key on the keyboard.

**Less than or equal to symbol:** \le or \leq followed by
the spacebar. Or simply press the < key followed by the = key.

**Limits:** You can type the word lim with an appropriate
subscript as shown with the example below.

To obtain $\displaystyle\lim_{n \to \infty}\left(n^2+1 \right)$, type lim_(n \rightarrow \infty ) followed by spacebar, followed by (n^2 +1). Pay attention to each character, including spaces, to produce the desired result.

**Line symbol:** Although expressions such as $\overleftrightarrow{CD}$
can be produced using the Accent dropdown of the equation toolbar, a manual
command does not seem to exist. (If you find a manual command, please send feedback.) It is mathematically acceptable
to simply say “line CD”; the symbol is not needed if you state that it is a
line.

**Logarithms:**

•To type the common logarithm (base 10), type log followed by spacebar, followed by the content you want to type within the function (use parentheses as needed), followed by the right arrow to exit the logarithm function to type more math content.

•To type the natural logarithm, type ln followed by spacebar, followed by the content you want to type within the function (use parentheses as needed), followed by the right arrow to exit the natural logarithm function to type more math content.

•To type logarithms with other bases, type log followed by the underscore key, followed by the value representing the base, followed by spacebar, followed by the content you want to type within the function (use parentheses as needed), followed by the right arrow to exit the natural logarithm function to type more math content. For example, ${\log }_{3}\left(x+1 \right)+4$ can be obtained by typing log_3, then spacebar, then (x+1), then the right arrow, then +4.

#### M

**Matrices:**

Note to JAWS screen reader users: There are three matrices in the examples below which contain numerical content. JAWS may read them as tables without announcing the content. If this occurs, press ENTER when focused on a matrix. This opens the Math Viewer. Since the matrices on this page begin with a left bracket, arrow right within the Math Viewer until you encounter the matrix, which JAWS announces as a table, and press ENTER again to begin table navigation. You can then use the arrow keys to explore the matrix. After exploring the matrix, press the escape key to exit table navigation, and then press the escape key again to exit the Math Viewer and return to the tutorial. (More details about the using the Math Viewer to investigate math content are found later in this tutorial.)

•To create a 3x3 identity matrix $\left[ ~\begin{matrix} 1 & 0 & 0 \\ 0 & 1 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 1 \\ \end{matrix} ~\right]$:

Type [ \matrix 3 ] followed by spacebar. Notice the spacing: One space is typed after the left bracket to create padding on the left side of the matrix. Two spaces are typed between the number 3 and the right bracket; the first space completes the matrix command, and the second space creates padding on the right side of the matrix.

If you want a 3x3 identity matrix with no brackets, type \matrix 3 followed by spacebar. If you want curved parentheses to surround the matrix, type ( \matrix 3 ) followed by spacebar. If you want a 2x2 identity matrix with square brackets around it, type [ \matrix 2 ] followed by spacebar, etc.

•To create the 2x3 matrix $\left[~\begin{matrix} 1 & 2 \\ 3 & 4 \\ 5 & 6 \\ \end{matrix} ~\right]$:

Type [ \matrix (1&2@3&4@5&6) ] followed by spacebar. Each & symbol separates row elements, and each @ symbol starts a new row. Notice the space typed between the left bracket and the \matrix command to create padding on the left side of the matrix. Also notice that two spaces are typed before the right bracket; the first space completes the matrix and the second space creates padding on the right side of the matrix.

•To create the 3x2 matrix $\left[ ~\begin{matrix} 1 & 2 & 3 \\ 4 & 5 & 6 \\ \end{matrix} ~\right]$:

Type [ \matrix (1&2&3@4&5&6) ] followed by spacebar. Notice the single space after the left bracket and the two spaces before the right bracket.

•To create an empty 3 x 4 matrix, type [ \matrix (@@&&&) ] followed by spacebar. Notice the single space after the left bracket and the two spaces before the right bracket. A screenshot of the output is below.

Why does the command [ \matrix (@@&&&) ] create an empty 3x4 matrix? The \matrix command begins with a 1x1 matrix. By typing @@ you are creating 2 additional rows, and by typing &&& you are creating 3 additional columns. After the empty matrix is created, you can go back to the matrix and fill in each matrix cell as desired.

•For those who wish to use the equation toolbar rather than creating matrices with manual commands: There is a Matrix option in the Structures category. Choose the matrix that is closest to the needed size. Then right click on the matrix and look for options to insert or delete rows or columns if needed.

**Minus symbol:** use the keyboard dash/minus sign, -.

**mu (lowercase):** \mu followed by spacebar, produces
the output $\mu $.

**Multiplication symbol:**

•To create a multiplication symbol that resembles an x (and is read by the JAWS screen reader as “times,” type \times followed by spacebar. Produces the output $\times $.

•To create a multiplication symbol that looks like a dot, type \cdot followed by spacebar (JAWS screen reader reads this as “dot operator” or occasionally as “dot” instead of “times.”) Produces the output $\cdot $ .

#### N

**Natural numbers symbol:** See “Set of natural numbers
symbol.”

**Not equal to:** \ne or \neq followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\ne $.

#### O

**omega (lowercase):** \omega (with a lowercase o) followed
by spacebar, produces the output $\omega $.

**Omega (uppercase):** \Omega (with an uppercase O) followed
by spacebar, produces the output $\Omega$.

#### P

**Parallel symbol:** \parallel followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\parallel $.

**Perpendicular symbol:** \perp followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\bot $. (Note that the JAWS screen reader reads this
symbol as “uptack” instead of “perpendicular.”)

**phi (lowercase):** \varphi or \phi — each of which is followed
by spacebar, produces the output $\varphi $ and $\phi $, respectively.

**pi (lowercase):** \pi followed by spacebar, produces
the output $\pi $.

**Plus symbol:** use keyboard plus sign, +.

**Plus or minus symbol:** Simply press +- (the plus
symbol followed by a dash), or alternatively type \pm followed by spacebar.
Produces the output $\pm $.

**Prime symbol:** Press the apostrophe (single quote) key
followed by spacebar, or type \prime followed by spacebar.** (See accessibility
notes below.) The output for “f prime of x” is ${f}'\left( x \right)$.

****Accessibility notes for the prime symbol** — for JAWS screen
reader users or for those creating accessible math content:

The apostrophe must be followed by spacebar to be read by JAWS as a prime
symbol, even though the visual output looks OK without pressing spacebar. If
you instead use the \prime command to produce a prime symbol, it must be
followed by TWO spaces to be read by JAWS. This behavior occurs at all levels
of JAWS punctuation settings. (Apostrophes are typically not read aloud — as in
the words can't or won't — but apostrophes within math content need to be
read.) If you find a change in this behavior, please send a note via the feedback section.

To type ${f}'\left( x \right)$ in a way that can be read by the JAWS screen reader, do either of the following:

•Type f, then apostrophe, then spacebar, then (x).

•Type f, then \prime, then press spacebar twice, then type (x).

#### R

**Rational numbers symbol:** See “Set of rational numbers
symbol.”

**Ray symbol:** The vector command can be used to produce
a ray symbol, as follows:

To obtain $\overrightarrow{CD}$, type (CD), then \vec, then press spacebar
twice.

**Real numbers symbol:** See “Set of real numbers
symbol.”

**rho (lowercase):** \rho followed by spacebar, produces
the output $\rho $.

**Right Arrow:** \rightarrow followed by spacebar, or \to
followed by spacebar, or simply type -> (a dash followed by the greater than
symbol). All three options produce the output $\to $.

**Roots:** See Square roots, Cube roots, Fourth roots for
details on using the commands \sqrt, \cbrt, and \qdrt.

Any root can be typed using the \sqrt command in conjunction with the ampersand
symbol as follows.

•$\sqrt[5]{32}$ can be obtained by typing \sqrt(5&32), then spacebar.

•$\sqrt[6]{y+1}$ can be obtained by typing \sqrt(6&y+1), then spacebar.

•$\sqrt[7]{z^2}+8$ can be obtained by typing \sqrt (7&z^2), then +8.

#### S

**Secant function:** sec followed by spacebar, followed
by the content you want to type within the function (remember parentheses as
needed), followed by the right arrow to exit the secant function to type more
math content.

**Segment symbol:** The output $\overline{CD}$ can be
produced by typing \overbar(CD) followed by spacebar, or \overline(CD) followed
by spacebar. (Note: The JAWS screen reader may not read the segment symbol
properly; you can alternatively type segment CD.)

**Set of integers symbol:** \doubleZ, where the Z within
the command is a capital letter. Produces the output $\mathbb{Z}$. (JAWS screen
reader reads this as Z even though the resulting character resembles a double Z.)

**Set of natural numbers symbol:** \doubleN, where the N
within the command is a capital letter. Produces the output $\mathbb{N}$. (JAWS
screen reader reads this as N even though the resulting character resembles a
double N.)

**Set of rational numbers symbol:** \doubleQ, where the Q
within the command is a capital letter. Produces the output $\mathbb{Q}$. (JAWS
screen reader reads this as Q even though the resulting character resembles a
double Q.)

**Set of real numbers symbol:** \doubleR, where the R
within the command is a capital letter. Produces the output $\mathbb{R}$. (JAWS
screen reader reads this as R even though the resulting character resembles a
double R.)

**sigma (lowercase):** \sigma followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\sigma $.

**Sigma (uppercase):** \Sigma followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\Sigma$. For sums, see Summation.

**Similarity symbol:** \sim followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\sim $. (JAWS reads the similarity symbol as “tilde
operator.”)

**Sine function:** sin followed by spacebar, followed by
the content you want to type within the function (remember parentheses as
needed), followed by the right arrow to exit the sine function to type more
math content.

**Square root:** type \sqrt followed by spacebar,
followed by the content that you want included inside the square root, followed
by spacebar.

•To obtain $\sqrt{x}$ , type \sqrt followed by spacebar, followed by x, followed by spacebar.

•To obtain $\sqrt{x+5}$ , where you want the x+5 inside the square root, you must use parentheses. Type \sqrt followed by spacebar, followed by (x+5), followed by spacebar.

•To obtain $\sqrt{x+5}+7$, where you want the x+5 inside the square root and the +7 outside the square root: type \sqrt followed by spacebar, followed by (x+5), followed by spacebar, followed by +7.

**Subscripts:** Use the underscore key, followed by the subscript
(use parentheses as needed), followed by spacebar.

•To obtain $x_1+y_1$, type x_1 followed by spacebar, followed by the + sign, followed by y_1, followed by spacebar.

•To obtain $3_{n+1}-5$, type 3_(n+1) followed by spacebar, followed by the dash symbol, followed by 5.

**Summation:** The summation symbol is obtained by typing
\sum followed by spacebar, followed by the lower and upper limits (instructions are below), followed by spacebar, followed by the desired content. (The summation symbol is read by the JAWS screen reader as “n-ary summation.”)

To type $\sum_{n=1}^{5}\left( {n^2}+1 \right)$ , type \sum followed by spacebar, followed by _(n=1)^5, followed by spacebar, followed by (n^2 +1). If you type the math content on a line by itself, the summation symbol will appear larger with limits of summation above and below (instead of off to the side), as shown below:

$\displaystyle\sum_{n=1}^{5}\left(n^2+1 \right)$

**Superscripts:** See Exponents

#### T

**Tangent function:** tan followed by spacebar, followed
by the content you want to type within the function (remember parentheses as
needed), followed by the right arrow to exit the tangent function to type more
math content.

**Therefore symbol:** \therefore followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\therefore $ .

**theta (lowercase):** \theta followed by spacebar,
produces the output $\theta $.

**Triangle symbol:** Although the triangle symbol, $\vartriangle
$ (read by the JAWS screen reader as “white up-pointing triangle”), can be selected
from the Operators category of equation toolbar symbols, a corresponding manual
keystroke command does not exist in Unicode mode. For a similar appearance, you
may want to use the command \Delta for the capital Greek letter Delta,which produces the output $\Delta$ (and is read by the JAWS screen
reader as “Delta”).

Note: If you are using the equation tool's LaTeX mode, described later in this document, you can use the \triangle command to produce the $\vartriangle $ symbol.

**Union symbol:** \cup followed by spacebar, produces the
output $\cup $.

**Vectors:**

•To obtain the output $\overrightarrow{CD}$, type (CD), then \vec, then press spacebar twice.

•To obtain the output $\vec{x}$, type x, then \vec, then press spacebar twice.

## 6. Troubleshooting for keystroke commands

If the manual keystroke commands from the above list are not producing the desired mathematical content, try each of the steps below (one at a time) to see if the problem is resolved.

1)**File** menu, select **Options** (you may need to
select **File**, then **More**, then **Options**), then select **Proofing**,
then navigate to the button that says **AutoCorrect Options**. Choose the
tab that says **Math AutoCorrect**. Make sure that the checkbox **Replace
text as you type** is checked. (This checkbox should be checked by default
and would likely only be disabled if you chose to disable it.)

2)**Conversions**
group of the equation toolbar and make sure that the **Unicode** option is
chosen, rather than **LaTeX** or **Text**.

## 7. Editing equations and switching between linear & professional modes

After you have created an equation in its nicely displayed format, known as professional format, you may find that you need to go back and edit it. You can choose to edit the equation within professional format, or you can switch from professional format to linear format, which displays your source input (or input similar to what you entered).

To switch to linear format, place your cursor within the desired equation and press CTRL + SHIFT + EQUALS. You can alternatively navigate to the **Convert** dropdown of the **Conversions** group and select **Current - Linear**, as shown below. Edit the equation as needed.

To switch back to professional format, place your cursor within the desired equation and press CTRL + EQUALS. You can alternatively navigate to the **Convert** dropdown of the **Conversions** group and select **Current - Professional**, as shown above.

A sample equation, typed in Unicode, is shown in both professional and linear formats below.

This method of converting between professional and linear formats can also be used in LaTeX mode which is discussed later in this tutorial. (Note: If you create an equation in Unicode mode and then convert that equation within LaTeX mode, or vice versa, you may encounter unexpected results.)

## 8. Discovering other equation tool commands

The above list of manual keystroke commands is not exhaustive. Here are two methods you can use to discover additional keystroke commands for Word's equation tool:

1)**Look for manual commands listed within the equation toolbar**

If you can navigate Word's equation toolbar, go to the **Symbols** group and
hover over any symbol. A box then appears with the name of the symbol — and if a
manual keystroke command can be used to replicate that symbol, it is listed in
parentheses after the symbol name. For example, if you navigate to the **Basic
Math** category of symbols and hover over the cube root symbol, a box
appears which says, “Cube root (\cbrt).” This means that if you want the cube
root symbol to appear in Word's equation tool with a manual keystroke command,
you should type \cbrt; this command must be followed by the spacebar.

Remember that on the right side of the **Symbols**
menu, the **Symbols** dropdown gives you access to entire additional categories of symbols (Basic
Math, Greek Letters, Letter-Like Symbols, Operators, Arrows, Negated Relations,
Scripts, and Geometry). You can explore each of those symbol categories and
hover over desired symbols to find out the prescribed keystrokes that Word
allows. To review how to access the other symbol categories, see the section on exploring the equation toolbar.

2)**Look up and try LaTeX commands (while still in Unicode conversion mode)**

Many of the commands in the list are identical to commands used in a mathematical typesetting system known as LaTeX. If there is a symbol that you want to create which is not included in this document, do an online search to find the LaTeX command for that symbol, and then try that LaTeX command in Word's equation tool both with and without a backslash symbol at the start of the command. (This does not work for every command but works for many of them.) As you have seen with many commands in the alphabetical list, it is often necessary to press spacebar in Word after the manual keystroke command for the symbol/function to show up properly and to read properly with the JAWS screen reader — so be sure to try pressing spacebar after you enter LaTeX commands.

## 9. Typing equations with LaTeX in Word

If you know how to use LaTeX to type math content,
navigate to the **Conversions** group of Microsoft Word's equation toolbar and select **LaTeX**, as shown in red in the screenshot below.

You can then experiment with typing content as you would in LaTeX to see if those commands work within Word's equation tool. Do not type starting and ending LaTeX tags.

To make your linear input display nicely in professional mode, click within the LaTeX math content that you wish to convert and do one of the following: 1) press CTRL + EQUALS, 2) press Enter, which also causes a line break, or 3) select the **Convert**
dropdown and then select **Current - Professional** as shown in the screenshot
below.

To return an equation to linear mode from professional mode in order to edit the math content with LaTeX: While in **LaTeX** conversion mode, click within the math content that you wish to edit and then 1) Press CTRL + SHIFT + EQUALS, or 2) select the **Convert** dropdown and then select **Current - Linear** as shown in the screenshot above. The equation box should then display LaTeX code. Edit as needed.

When finished editing, press CTRL + EQUALS or choose **Current - Professional** for the math to display in professional format again.

A sample equation, typed in LaTeX, is shown in both professional and linear formats below.

Some LaTeX commands work within Word's equation tool and others do not. You can create the fraction $\frac{3}{5}$, for example, by typing \frac{3}{5} but cannot precede the fraction with the \displaystyle command to make it larger.

For more information about typing LaTeX within Microsoft Word, visit Microsoft's article, Linear format equations using UnicodeMath and LaTeX in Word, and navigate to the section entitled “LaTeX equation editing examples.”

Note: If you want to return to using the alphabetical list of manual keystroke commands shown
earlier in this document, you must also return to the **Conversions** group of
the toolbar and select **Unicode** instead of **LaTeX**.

## 10. Text mode

There are times when you may want to combine math
content and text within a math expression. If you press ALT + EQUALS and type “CD
= 7 cm” with the **Unicode** conversion mode selected, it appears as shown
below.

Notice that the abbreviation “cm” is italicized in the output
above. If you want “cm” to instead appear as non-italicized text but remain in
the equation box, first type “CD=7” while strictly in **Unicode** mode,
followed by spacebar. Then select the **Text** option in the **Conversions**
group, as shown below; notice that **Unicode** and **Text** are both
selected.

Then type “cm” within the equation box. The resulting math output is as follows, where “cm” is not italicized but still appears within the equation box.

As another example, suppose that $\angle B$ is an acute angle of a right triangle and that we want to type the following, where all words within the equation box are non-italicized except for $\angle B$:

To create the equation as shown above, press ALT + EQUALS,
then select **Text** mode (**Unicode** will also be selected).
Type “The sine of” followed by spacebar, then deselect **Text** mode and type
“\angle B” followed by the equals sign. Then type a forward slash followed by
spacebar to create an empty fraction (or select a fraction style from the **Structures**
group of the equation toolbar). Select **Text** mode, navigate to the
numerator, and type “the length of the side opposite” followed by spacebar.
Then deselect **Text** mode and type “\angle B”. Navigate downward to the
denominator, select **Text** mode, and type “the length of the hypotenuse”.

## 11. Equation display size and other options

### Changing the equation display size

Some expressions will show up larger if placed on a line that contains only math content. For example, the integral symbol and the fraction in the equation $\int {x^2}dx=\frac{x^3}{3}+C$ appear larger if the equation is placed on its own line:

$\displaystyle\int{x^2}dx=\displaystyle\frac{x^3}{3}+C$

An entire equation can also be made larger by selecting the
equation and changing the font size, under the **Font** group of Microsoft
Word's **Home** menu.

For example, the equation $x+\frac{3}{5}=7^2$ is written in 14-point font, where $x+\frac{3}{5}=7^2$ is shown in 18-point font.

No option seems to exist in Microsoft Word to change the size of one portion of an equation but not another (such as changing only the size of a fraction or an exponent); if you find such an option, please send a note via the feedback section.

### Changing other equation options

You can adjust other equation options in Microsoft Word as
follows: Press ALT + EQUALS and expand the **Conversions** group, as shown. A
popup appears entitled **Equation Options**. Read through the options and
adjust as desired.

The default font for equations is Cambria Math and no option seems to exist to change the font of the math content within an equation. However, if you type any equation content in Text Mode, you can adjust that specific text-based equation content from the **Font** group of Microsoft Word's **Home** menu. For example, in the equation $CD=7~\text{cm}$,
the font style can be changed for the centimeters label only, as shown below.
(If you find a way to adjust the font of math content not typed in **Text** mode, please send a note via the feedback section.)

## 12. Setting a Word document to open in read-only mode

If you will be sharing your Word document with someone else
and your intention is for them to only read it (not edit it) or if you want to
read your own document without accidentally making changes as you scroll
through, you can set the document to open in read-only mode as follows: Go the **File**
menu and choose **Info**. Select the dropdown entitled **Protect Document**.
Then select the option **Always Open Read-Only** as shown in the screenshot
below. This selection ensures that the document opens in read-only mode, but be
aware that people can still opt-in to edit the document and/or could edit the
file after saving it with a different filename. You can investigate additional
protection options that are available below the read-only option, but they will
not be discussed further here.

If you want to edit your document after it has been set to
open in read-only mode, you don't need to undo your protection settings; you
can instead choose **Editing** mode using the mode selection button near
the upper right of Word's ribbon. This dropdown is found between the **Comments**
and the **Share** buttons and is shown in the screenshot below. You can use
this dropdown to switch between **Editing**, **Reviewing**, and **Viewing**
modes while the document is open. After closing and reopening the document, it
will still open in read-only mode.

If you no longer want the document to open in read-only
mode, you can once again click **File**, then **Info**, then **Protect
Document**, and deselect the option to **Always Open Read-Only**.

## 13. Math accessibility tips

The following math accessibility tips are intended for students who are using the JAWS screen reader, or for instructors who are preparing accessible documents and helping their visually impaired students to navigate documents with JAWS. (To learn how to use JAWS, visit the University of Houston's JAWS screen reader tutorial.)

### Continuous versus line-by-line navigation with math content

When a Word document contains math content, JAWS occasionally skips over some of the math content when reading continuously in “Say All” mode; the reading of math content is more reliable when you navigate line-by-line in JAWS with the down arrow instead.

### Using the Math Viewer to investigate math content

To investigate math content in more detail, press **Insert** + SPACEBAR followed by EQUALS when focused on that math content. This opens a tool
called the Math Viewer, where the math content appears in a separate popup
window and you can navigate through it using the arrow keys. The Math Viewer
can be useful when an equation is complicated, or in instances where JAWS reads two math expressions the same way, like $\sqrt{x+1}$ (where the x+1 is
completely under the square root) or $\sqrt{x}+1$ (where only the x is inside the square root, but the +1 is outside the square root).

To learn more about using the Math Viewer, visit Freedom Scientific's webpage on Accessing Math Content with JAWS and Fusion, and look for the section entitled “Studying Equations in the Math Viewer.”

Note: If you get a script error while trying to use the Math Viewer, visit Freedom Scientific's technical bulletin to fix script errors in the Math Viewer.

### Avoid ambiguous mathematical expressions

Some mathematical expressions require parentheses, additional symbols, and/or reordering of terms so that they are clearly understood when read by a screen reader. As teachers prepare accessible math content for their students, they should think about how the content would be spoken and if any other expressions exist that sound the same.

The JAWS screen reader reads all three of the following expressions as “the square root of 3 x plus 1” although they are not mathematically equivalent.

Although students would be able to distinguish one expression from another if they know how to use the Math Viewer (which can still be tricky to navigate), instructors should not assume that a student would think to do so; the student will likely hear “the square root of 3 x plus 1” and simply interpret it as one of the above three expressions without thinking about other expressions that sound exactly the same.

The above expressions would be read by JAWS with clarity if rewritten as follows:

Here is another example: The expressions $\displaystyle\frac{2}{x+5y}$ and $\displaystyle\frac{2}{x+5}y$ are both read by JAWS as “fraction, 2 over x plus 5 y,” and the expression $\displaystyle\frac{2}{x}+5y$ is read by JAWS as “2 over x plus 5 y.” These three expressions can be distinguished from each other if they are instead written as $\displaystyle\frac{2}{(x+5y)}$, $\displaystyle\frac{2y}{(x+5)}$, and $\left(\displaystyle\frac{2}{x}\right)+5y$, respectively.

### Case when math content reads improperly in Microsoft Word

When Microsoft Word contains math content that ends with a letter, followed in the same line by regular text, the JAWS screen reader combines that last letter with the word that immediately follows the math content, creating a new “word” (which may not actually be a word) and making both the math content and the next word hard to understand. This behavior does not happen in webpages.

Sample Sentence: $3+b$ and $4+c$ are both binomials.

JAWS should read “math content 3 plus b and math content 4 plus c are both binomials” but in Microsoft Word instead reads “math content 3 plus band math content 4 plus care both binomials.” JAWS combines the letter b at the end of the first expression with the word “and” that immediately follows to form “band,” and also combines the letter c at the end of the second expression with the word “are” that immediately follows to form “care.” If you notice a change in this behavior, please send a note via the feedback section.

There are multiple ways to fix this issue:

•Add another space before the words “and” and “are”:

$3+b$ and $4+c$ are both binomials.

•Switch the order of the terms so each expression does not end in a letter:

$b+3$ and $c+4$ are both binomials.

•Rewrite the sentence so that you can use punctuation after any
math expressions where the last character contains a letter. The following
sentence, for example, would read OK with JAWS:

$5+d$, $3+b$, and $4+c$, all binomials, should read correctly with JAWS in Microsoft Word.

## Contact / Feedback

If you have any questions or feedback about typing math in Microsoft Word or about creating accessible mathematics, contact:

Jennifer Marsala, Instructional Designer

University of Houston Department of Mathematics

Email: jmarsala@central.uh.edu