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Windows 7 - How to Enter Mathematical Equations

If you haven't done it before, trying to enter complex mathematical equations on your computer can seem like an impossible task. Trying to enter a mathematical equation with the keyboard alone is not possible in many programs due to the complexity of the symbols involved and the way in which they are arranged. Fortunately, Windows 7 provides a useful little utility which allows you to enter mathematical equations by hand, converting them to print as you write. While you can do this using a steady hand and the mouse, it is better to use a graphics tablet or a touch-screen with a stylus. The utility we will use for this guide is called the Math Input Panel and it's included in all editions of Windows 7. The Math Input Panel may not be a solution for advanced mathematicians and scientists, but it is more than adequate for college and high school level mathematics.

First, open the program that you want to insert the equation into. This needs to be a program which supports Mathematical Markup Language. For example, Microsoft Office supports this. Microsoft Office also provides its own way of entering equations if you prefer to try something different.

Open the Math Input Panel from the Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories folder. Enter the equation by hand in exactly the same manner as you would if you were using a pen and paper. As you enter the symbols, they will be converted immediately and displayed above the main window. Be sure to enter your equations as neatly as possible for the Math Input Panel to correctly recognize them. As you type, the symbols above may change, but this is normal. A set of buttons will also appear to the left, allowing you to erase, correct, write and undo errors.

If you have entered a section of the equation that doesn't convert correctly, click the "Select and Correct" button to the right. Draw a line around the offending part of the equation and choose from the list of alternative options.

Once you have finished entering the equation, press the "Insert" button. This will insert the equation into the currently active application. Close the Math Input Panel when you're done.


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