I want to digitally publish a document which includes mathematical equations – including symbols for integration, summation, etc.

This isn’t possible in MS Office or Notepad, which makes things difficult. Is anyone aware of software which would let me typeset math on a computer?

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    The standard way to write math with a computer is to use LaTeX. In principle, any text editor can be used to produce LaTeX files, but some editors have optimizations for this purpose, and some TeX distributions come with an editor. Sep 28, 2015 at 12:30
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    Microsoft Word does have an equation editor and the ability to produce farily complex equations. Is this just not a workable option for you? Link...
    – JPhi1618
    Sep 28, 2015 at 13:49
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    LibreOffice text editor also has a "formula" editor that supports e.g. integration symbols, but, again, LaTeX is more flexible. Sep 28, 2015 at 14:44
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    This seems like a bad fit for us since it seems like a big list and only peripherally related to academics. The software recs site might be a better fit.
    – StrongBad
    Sep 28, 2015 at 15:22
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    This is a question about typesetting and not about academia. Moreover, the question is unclear since there are no details about the kind of publication or document.
    – Dirk
    Sep 28, 2015 at 19:32

6 Answers 6


LaTeX is the industry standard. Note there is also a very helpful Tex/LaTeX site here on Stack Exchange.

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    LaTeX is a industry standard. There are fields, including fields that feature mathematical content, where it is not commonly used.
    – Fomite
    Sep 28, 2015 at 15:34
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    @Fomite From my experience LaTeX is ubiquitous across academia. Could you offer some examples where something else is more commonly used?
    – user16092
    Sep 28, 2015 at 15:41
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    @Fomite Thanks. I think that quotation refers to submission format rather than typesetting tool. Usually one uses a typesetting/publishing tool (LaTeX, MS Word, Adobe InDesign, Markdown, etc) to generate a submission format (PDF, .docx, etc). I'm not an expert at this, but I believe PDFs are built from PostScript which you could, in-theory, write by hand. However PostScript is not meant for human editing so the process would be difficult. That being said, I know almost nothing about epidemiology, so I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just saying LaTeX and PDF are not comparable.
    – user16092
    Sep 28, 2015 at 16:00
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    @ToddWilcox True, I misread that. But even as a PDF there will be problems - the journal very much assumes that files are coming as .docx. But when it comes down to it, that's somewhat unnecessary detail to the main point, that LaTeX, while common, is not ubiquitous.
    – Fomite
    Sep 28, 2015 at 16:21
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    @TomDworzanski Except one will have it automatically handled by the journal's software, and the other will not. Not they do not state that PDF is a valid submission format - only that PDFs will be packaged in that format to be sent to review. Other aspects of their submission process rely on .docx (Revisions, for example, are expressly to come as Track Changes-enabled .docx files). But again, this is a particularly narrow set of details. The more pressing issue is that your medical and epidemiological collaborators would go "Um...what?" when sent a LaTeX file to work on.
    – Fomite
    Sep 28, 2015 at 16:44

You should use LaTeX if writing math.

If you don’t want to, there is another option, which is Mathtype. This is commercial software which integrates well with Microsoft Word.

Otherwise, you can also use an online LaTeX equation editor and download the result in .gif to paste into the Word document. This is free to use.

However, learn LaTeX; it is the best option.

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    Using PNG is a bad idea; it doesn't scale. One should use SVG, (unrastered) PDF or any other vector format.
    – Raphael
    Sep 28, 2015 at 17:58
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    @Raphael I know! Its just the only option the webpage gives....It is actually gif, I made a typo. Sep 28, 2015 at 18:00

If you really want to type fast, you can use LyX or Scientific Word. These are very easy to use, but in the long term, LaTeX is always better because it is more flexible and you can really see what you are doing when you are writing your equations.


Libreoffice / OpenOffice is also a nice choice. Equation edition is similar to latex (text based) and it fit neatly into a complete WYSIWYG text editor.

  • MS Office (mentioned in the question) also has an equation editor... Sep 28, 2015 at 23:46
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft, last time I looked at MS-Word's equation editor, it was almost useless for anything a bit more complex than a few subscripts. Has been a while...
    – vonbrand
    Sep 29, 2015 at 12:31
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    @vonbrand it has gone from awful to merely bad over the last few years, though I've seen it demoed with a graphics tablet and handwriting recognition quite impressively.
    – Chris H
    Sep 29, 2015 at 13:57

If you're publishing in HTML or another SGML or XML-based markup language, you might want to look at MathML.

The other HTML-friendly option is one or another of the LaTeX translators (see this StackOverflow question for more); a common problem with those, unfortunately, is that they sometimes output small images that are inaccessible to those with visual disabilities. MathML can be read aloud by suitably-equipped screenreading software.


Look for a program called Scientific Workplace or Scientific Notebook, by MacKichan Software. It allows you to write math; it can solve equations that you write; and it can produce graphs and charts.

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    Would you care to add a link/reference to the program you mention? Is it freeware? Does the OP need to pay for a licence?
    – JoErNanO
    Sep 29, 2015 at 17:37

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