Geekiest Windows Accessory: Math Input Table

Starting with Windows 7, Microsoft has included a new tool called Math Input Panel, which is the coolest program included in Windows by default. The old champion used to be a Computer with Sciential, Programmer and Convert modes.

With Math Input Panel, you can write well-formed math expressions and then insert those expressions into other programs that support MathML or Math markup language.

Some of the programs that support MathML are OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Calligra Suite, and Microsoft Office. The best web browser that supports MathML is Firefox. All others require plugins or don’t support at all (Chrome). So don’t plan on trying to embed MathML code in your web pages!

Math Input Panel supports many high school and college level math subjects like functions, numbers, letters, arithmetic, algebra, sets, geometry, probability and statistics etc.

math input table

The best way to use Math Input Panel is to have some kind of tablet or writing pad connected to your computer. Trying to write an equation with your mouse is a rather frustrating experience. The best writing boards I’ve used for Windows are from Wacomhas existed for a long time.

Using the math input table

Now let’s take a quick look at how you can use the Math Input Panel. The easiest way to download it is by clicking Begin and type in Math. The first result will be the Math Input Table.

find math input table

When you open the program for the first time, you will only see a blank screen with a graph paper background that says Write math here. If the window size seems too small, don’t worry because the screen will automatically increase the height and width when you get close to any particular edge, which is pretty neat.

Second, when you start writing an equation, another small window pops up to the right of the main math input screen. Here are some tools you can use to clear or correct your equations.

repair tool

Now just start writing your equation and don’t worry if you find that the preview window is showing something else. For example, after I write x =, the preview window showed something else. However, once I wrote the letter oneit figured out that it must x = a.

x equals not exactly

x equals a

When you have finished writing your equation, there may be some entries that are not correctly recognized by the input panel. In these cases we can use the correct tools on the right. The best thing to start with is Select and edit.

correct equation

As you can see above, I wrote a horrible thing onerecognized by the program as WOMEN. To fix it I could delete and rewrite it, but the easier option is to click Select and editthen click on the letter one so that it is highlighted in red and then select the correct character or symbol that I want. The second choice on the list is what I want.

To remove something, just click Erase and then click and drag on the input panel to delete anything you like. Now that you’ve completed your equation in the input sheet, it’s time to insert it somewhere useful.

You can first do this by opening the program you want to insert the equation into. In my example, I’ll be using Word, so I’ll open it and move the cursor to the point where I want to insert the equation.

insert math equation

Then click Insert and your equation will be included in the document. Note that you can adjust the font size for the equation by simply selecting it and then increasing or decreasing the font size.

Again, you always want to write down the entire math expression before you start editing. The more expressions you write, the more likely the program is to figure out what you’re trying to do. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment. Interesting!

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