How to Add Complex Fractions in Microsoft Word

First step to become a real mathematician

By on January 14th, 2007 22:16 GMT
The Office Suite from Microsoft is maybe the most complete and used one from the field. We use Microsoft Office to write our essays, to do complicated math operations, to create databases or give birth to beautiful or business presentations. Others use the Frontpage application to design and maintain websites. All this under the same shelter.

Although Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access and mainly Fontpage are designed as WYSIWYG, they can be very difficult to understand and handle without proper knowledge or a relevant help support. Not all the features are easily accessible; therefore, you need to get some experience in order to be able to say that you can work unrestricted with the Office Suite.

In this article, I decided to present you the solution of a situation my cousin experienced while he had to do his homework using the notorious Word application. His teacher asked him to write his mathematical fractions in Microsoft Word.

This put him in difficulty and made him ask me how that could be undertaken. The problem was that the teacher stressed that the fractions should have been written under the most advanced format not in the simple way.

Here is the solution that I gave to him:

To accumulate more experience about using Word, I showed him how the fraction can be added in the simple format. That task can be done using the symbol function which is found at Insert > Symbol. Here are presented all the symbols according to the font you select. To reduce the variety, you can use a filter called "Mathematical operators". You will be able to use some predefined fractions like ½, 1/8, 5/8 etc. according to the Font. Some fonts offer more or less options regarding the fractions.


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The real solution

For those who want to work in Word like area mathematicians it is mandatory you use the Equations Editor. But what is the Equations Editor? This helpful tool is a Microsoft Word feature that comes with every Office package but is not installed by default and you need to install it by yourself. With it, you are able to do advanced mathematical operations and to create complex formulas.

How to install?

Just go to Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs and search the list for Microsoft Office. Now click Change. From the new appeared window select Add or Remove Feature and click next. You will get a list with all the office applications. The last option is Office Tools. Expand it and from the new sub list, right click on the Equation Editor and select "Run from My Computer". Now click UPDATE. Make sure that the installation CD is inside the drive because the needed files are on it.


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Restart Word application and go to Insert > Object and from the list select Microsoft Equation. A toolbar with mathematical stuff will appear. If you are a frequent user of this feature, you can easily go to Tools > Customize > Insert > Equation Editor. Select it and drag it on the insert menu or any place on the toolbar. Now you can easily access it by just clicking the logo button.


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From now on, let out the mathematician in you!

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