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A real equation editor for Word

16.03.2003 (17.03.2003) Diamond review

Possibilities, ease of use


Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Instructions / Help

Ease of use

Ease of Installation

Value For Money


Range of extra features / functionsExcellent

Manufacturer SupportSatisfactory

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  2. Nazuku
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helpful by (1%):
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As a student of economics I need to write papers that contain a lot of mathematical formulae. In order to insert these formulae into a Word-document, Word features a tool called "equation editor". If you've used this tool you've probably found out that it's very impractical. There are two solutions to this problem: or you learn to work with LateX (a word processor for scientific work), or you install a Word plug-in called MathType. LateX is claimed to be far superior to Word, but the main problem with it is that one would really have to learn how to use it. For this reason I chose the easier solution of the two and installed MathType. Luckily for me my university offers this software for free.

How does it work?
MathType is a MS Word plug-in and in practice this means that after you've installed MathType you get a specific MathType toolbar in MS Word. If you choose to add a formula by clicking on one of the buttons in that toolbar, a MathType window will appear in which you can construct your formula. Once this is done you simply hit Ctrl-F4, the MathType window closes and inserts the formula as an object in Word. You can't edit this formula in Word without reopening MathType.
MathType also offers you options whereby you can number your formulas and insert references which are able to adjust automatically to changes you may make. Contrary to Word, MathType handles the updating of automatic numbering well.

What I like
* Almost anything is possible: limits, sums, matrices... You name it, it's in there somewhere. Moreover you can construct your formulae in as complex a way as you want. You can, for example, easily construct the power of the inverse of the denumerator of a fraction, and if you make such a very complex expression it will always remain extremely clear to read. A fraction of a fraction, for example, will always be constructed vertically, whereas in equation editor you would have to use a slash in the nominator or the denominator. In other words, you don't need to worry about the lay-out; MathType works it out just fine automatically.

* Another great advantage MathType has is that it's extremely simple to use; it's just a matter of choosing what mathematical expression you want and then inserting values. For instance, simply by using the arrow keys you can edit your choice of field.

What I don't like
* Some customizing options of the programme aren't very logically designed. It took me quite some time to find out how to make keyboard shortcuts and without the Help section I would probably have assumed it was impossible to make such shortcuts. You really do need these shortcuts otherwise you will spend too much time choosing, for example, small or capital Greek letters in the menus.

* I've been using this programme for over a year, and it hasn?t crashed once. MS Word does crash of course; sorry for stating the obvious, but when it does this doesn't seem to have anything to do with MathType.

* You can download a fully functional 30 day evaluation from the manufacturer's website (Dessci). The program costs 129$, but if you?re lucky perhaps your university may provide it for free. Should this not be the case then, in my opinion, it's too expensive.

It is a very practical tool if you need to insert a lot of formulae and I couldn't work without it anymore. I highly recommend this programme for student use! Its only drawback is its price though.

Note: This opinion is about MathType 5.0.
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Comments about this review »

Mickie26 21.01.2006 23:44

Im completely useless at maths. Great review.

yahtonie 26.11.2003 20:27

Oh, if i only had this when doing my A level physics. Ah well, too late now! Great op, all the info you need on this.

hasmann 03.10.2003 17:53

excellent review. wish i knew this when i was studying my degree!

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Review Ratings »

This review of MathType 5.0 has been rated:

"very helpful" by (99%):

  1. User28571
  2. Nazuku
  3. weetoon

and 82 other members

"helpful" by (1%):

  1. flooda

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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