Hidden Math Features in Word 2007

Alex Ioffe emailed me


Hi Murray,

I realize you probably get this often by why can't someone (pleeease!) publish some official documentation of Word2007 Equation editor features? I have seen all of the MSN videos regarding it features and they barely scratch the surface. People like Dataninja (http://dataninja.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/word07shortcuts.pdf) spent a great deal of time finding some very powerful features that seem to be entirely undocumented. LaTeX provides some help but some of the *most* interesting features of Equation Editor are not standard LaTeX (e.g. the stuff Dataninga has found). A slightly related example is the fact that Equation Editor for some reason does not contain the logical-not (¬ which is \lnot in LaTeX), fortunately this is an ascii character so I was able to add it myself.


Chiefly I have three questions about equation editor:

1) Is it possible to delete placeholders and how?

This is probably my most frequent annoyance, to delete an exponent I have to delete the base as well!

2) Is it possible to insert columns into a matrix in professional format via shortcut key.

I discovered that Enter will add a row, can you add a column?

3) Are there any plans for better HCI when it comes to shortcuts in Equation Editor. My dream is to be able to set some checkbox in the Options menu and see the shortcut keys for symbols appear their in the respective popup windows (e.g. ∀ - For All (Shortcut: \forall) when I mouseover them in the equation editor menus.


Yes, Word 2007’s new math editing and display are sort of a secret feature J Hopefully someday they’ll be better documented. Most of your wishes are already included in Word 2007, but they’re not immediately obvious as your email reveals.


To add an AutoCorrect entry for any Unicode character, go to the AutoCorrect dialog (the math AutoCorrect dialog for entries into math zones), and in the Replace text box type the AutoCorrect name you want to use and in the With text box type the Unicode hex code of the desired character followed by Alt+x. The Alt+x converts the code to the character. Say Ok and you’ve added the entry. Or you can copy/paste the desired character into the With text box.


The linear format math input method used in Word 2007 is similar to TeX, but differs in significant ways. Thorough documentation for it is given in Unicode Technical Note #28, including the default AutoCorrect keywords for symbols.


To delete placeholders and insert/delete matrix columns, use the context menus available with a right mouse click on the math object of interest. These context menus enable you to perform many other operations as well, all in built-up form.


It wouldn’t be hard to add the shortcut values to the tooltips you see when mousing over the symbol displays. We’ve thought about this. The only trick is that they should correspond to the user’s math AutoCorrect choices which may differ from the default set. The latter are essentially the same as TeX’s.