Starting the Equation Editor

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 4, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


The Equation Editor is a tool you can use to create complex mathematical formulas and insert them in your documents. You access the Equation Editor using one of these methods:

  • Double-click on an existing equation originally created with the Equation Editor.
  • Choose Object from the Insert menu. Word displays the Object dialog box. Choose Microsoft Equation from the list.

When you start the Equation Editor, you will see what appears to be a toolbar. In addition, Word changes the standard toolbar and menu a bit to reflect the actions you can now take.

When you use the Equation Editor, each part of your equation is actually placed in a slot. This is a position for each symbol that makes up the equation. To create your equation, you enter the symbols you need and then format them so they appear correct.

If you need to edit your equation, you will need to select the slot in which a symbol is located. You do this most easily by using the mouse to select a slot--just point to the symbol and click the mouse. The Equation Editor makes the boundaries of the slot visible, and you can then edit the information in the slot.

The Equation Editor toolbar contains several buttons that allow you to insert templates into your equation. Templates contain the necessary slots, at the proper spacing, to make developing your equations simpler. For instance, some of the tools in the Equation toolbar include small cells that are denoted by dashed lines. These indicate placeholders where you insert numbers or additional equation elements. You should spend some time working with each template button to understand exactly what they do.

To exit the Equation Editor, you simply click your mouse somewhere in your Word document, but outside of the equation itself.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (920) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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