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Using Fields for Fractions

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Using Fields for Fractions.

There is an often-overlooked way to add fractions to your Word documents—through the use of the EQ field. This field was originally designed for equations, and can be used very handily for fractions.

There are two ways you can utilize the EQ field for your fractions. Using the first method, your field would look as follows:

{ EQ \f(x, y) }

Just make sure you insert regular field braces by pressing Ctrl+F9, and replace x with your numerator and y with your denominator. The result is a fraction using a horizontal divider between the numerator and the denominator.

The other EQ field method is as follows:

{ EQ \s\up2(9)/\s\do2(11) }

This approach uses quite a few different EQ field switches to format the equation. The first part utilizes the \s\up2 switches to position a superscript. The last part utilizes the \s\do2 switches to position a subscript.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1302) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Using Fields for Fractions.

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Comments for this tip:

Steve Wells    06 Apr 2016, 06:23
Fifths, sixths, and eighths are as far as it goes. I haven’t found any fonts that contain sixteenths or thirty-seconds as regularly defined characters. You should use the Equation Editor for creating arbitrary fractions such as 23/64.
For fractions that have one as the numerator, and where you can work in the Calibri font, you can manually create very attractive fractions by using the "1/" character, Unicode 215F Hex (8543 Dec). Its negative kerning sets well with a denominator half its size in bold. For example, to set 1/500 in 12 point Calibri, type Alt+8543 (the 1/ character) followed immediately by 500 set in 6 pt bold.
Unfortunately, it’s back to the equation editor for fractions that aren’t reciprocals of integers.
LYNDA CROSKILL    05 Apr 2016, 19:48
Are there codes for sixteenths & thirty seconds like there are for ¼ & ½ using the Alt key & numbers
Steve Wells    06 Oct 2015, 04:54
For negative fractions, place a negative sign in front.
If you're being casual, just use a hyphen.

For fonts that don't include a minus sign, it's closer to the proper length character to use an en-dash, Alt+0150.

In fonts that include an actual minus sign, it is UNICODE 2212. Type 2212, select the four characters, and press Alt+X. It's quicker and easier to use its decimal equivalent as Alt+8722.
Evan    04 Oct 2015, 15:41
What about negative fractions?
Cecilia L    20 Nov 2014, 12:07
Derha, I believe in this case you would use the more common fraction of 3/4 (ALT+0190), which is equivalent to 6/8.
Derha    19 Nov 2014, 12:32
what is the code of 6/8?
awyatt    21 Aug 2014, 22:39
Shuresh: Yes, you can find my free ExcelTips newsletter by clicking the link at the bottom of any page on my sites.

Suresh    21 Aug 2014, 19:36
I have subscribed to your free news letter. Do you know of similar authors like you, who have similar news letters for excel
subodh sarkar    12 Jun 2014, 07:54
The EQ 2 methods is very useful to me.you are great.for a long time i have been trying to find this type of equation to create fraction.
thank you very much
77/a,dhanmondi r/a
Cecilia L    07 Nov 2011, 19:15
Deborah, here's the way I understand it...
Using the toolbar, click on Insert and then Field. When the Field pop up window shows up, in Field Names select EQ, then click on the Equation Editor button located to the right. When the Equation pop up window shows up, click on Fraction and Radical Templates formatting (second box, bottom row) and choose a formatting selection. When you are done entering your fraction, hit ESC to go back to normal typing.
I hope this helps. ~ Cecilia
Steve Wells    06 Nov 2011, 16:44
For someone writing/editing recipes, or anyone else who uses fractions a lot, you might find it easier to just create a printed cheat-sheet with the key codes listed below, which you can enter directly from the keyboard.

Some fonts include various standard fractions and other special characters. (A few might format themselves automatically through the magic of AutoCorrect.) For example, Arial and Times New Roman (among some others) include 1/2, 1/4 3/4, 1/3 2/3, and the eighths 1/8 3/8 5/8 7/8. (You don't need 2/8 4/8 6/8 because those are equal to 1/4 1/2 3/4, respectively.) The Calibri font also includes the fifths and sixths fractions, but nobody needs those for cookbook recipes.

How do you get these by typing? Many folks are familiar with the ASCII key codes for typing special characters (and now you are, too!): Hold down either ALT key and type a 4-digit code on the numeric keypad (NOT the regular number keys above QWERTY), and then release the ALT key. For the half and quarters, type these ALT codes:
1/4 ALT+0188
1/2 ALT+0189
3/4 ALT+0190

You can also enter UNICODE characters this way if they are included in the font, but you must enter the decimal values, not the hexadecimal codes shown in the Character Map applet. Don't worry if you don't understand what that means. Just hold down an ALT key, type the four digits on the keypad, and release the ALT key. The fractions listed will appear:

1/3 ALT+8531
2/3 ALT+8532
1/8 ALT+8539
3/8 ALT+8540
5/8 ALT+8541
7/8 ALT+8542

These codes work throughout much of Windows, not just within Word, so they are more effective and efficient than the Word method, which is: type the hexadecimal value found in Character Map, highlight it, and press ALT+X to toggle the character and the code. Because you would need to remember the hex codes or print a cheat sheet of them, you might as well work with a decimal code sheet and type directly.

Post any further questions about this here, or you can email me. I hope this helps.
Awyatt    05 Nov 2011, 23:47

Sorry it was unclear. Press Ctrl+F9, type EQ, then type the rest of the info in either example in the tip.
Deborah Owen    05 Nov 2011, 22:33
I'm sorry, but I don't understand one word of this. What in thunder is an EQ field and where is it? I'm assuming that's where one would type in the formula. I have serious need of this tip since I'm editing a cookbook. My computer will make the fractions for 1/2 and 1/4 but won't make it for 1/8 and 1/3. I'm using Word 2007. Thanks for your help. But please, start instructions with the basics so I'll understand. Thanks again. Deb

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