Using the Equation Editor for Fractions

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 15, 2014)

One way you can put fractions in your document is to use the Equation Editor provided with Word. This tool allows you to create all sorts of mathematical formulae in your document, including fractions. Unfortunately, the Equation Editor is not installed by default, so you may need to run the Word or Office Setup program to make sure it is installed.

To insert a fraction with the Equation Editor, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Object from the Insert menu. Word displays the Object dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Object dialog box.

  3. In the Object Type list, choose Microsoft Equation. (There may be a version number as part of the name, such as Microsoft Equation 3.0.) If Microsoft Equation is not available in the Object Type list, then you don't have it installed on your system.
  4. If the dialog box includes a Displays as Icon check box, make sure it is cleared.
  5. Click on OK. An Equation Editor object is inserted, and the Equation toolbar appears.
  6. Click on the Fraction and Radical Templates tool. From the resulting drop-down list, select the template that matches how you want your fraction to appear.
  7. Type the numerator for your faction.
  8. Press Tab and type your denominator.
  9. Click anywhere in your document other than in the Equation Editor object.

Some people don't particularly care to use the Equation Editor, because it adds another level of complexity to working with Word. (It is always helpful to know how to use the menus and templates in the Equation Editor, and that means more learning.) However, when it comes to complex fractions and other mathematical formulae, it is the best tool at hand. (There are third-party tools that allow you even greater control over equations, including Math Type, which is an upgrade to the Equation Editor provided with Word.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1804) 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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