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How to Insert an Equation in MS Word 2003, 2007 or 2010

written by: •edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 3/31/2010

You can use Microsoft Word to create forms, letters and many other document types. You can also use it to display complex math problems. Learn how to insert an equation in Word.

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    Overview

    Word allows you to write, insert and edit simple to complex mathematical equations. The manner in which you do so varies depending on which version of Microsoft Word you are using. Read on to learn how to insert an equation in Word.

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    Equations in Word 2003

    In order to insert an equation in Word 2003, you must have Microsoft Equation 3.0 installed. To find out whether it is installed, go to the Insert menu, select Object and go to the Create New tab. Look for Microsoft Equation 3.0 in the Object Type box. If it is listed, select it and skip the following paragraph. If it is not listed, you will need to install it. If you do not have Office setup files on your computer, you will need to insert your Microsoft Office CD to install Microsoft Equation.

    Add or Remove Features Office 2003 

    Close Word and any other Microsoft Office applications. Click Start and select Control Panel. Double-click Add or Remove Programs. Select Microsoft Office in the list of currently installed programs and select Change. Select Add or Remove Features and click Next. Expand Office Tools by clicking the "+" to the left of it. Select Equation Editor and then click Run from My Computer. Click Update and restart Word.

    Once you know you have Microsoft Equation installed, go to the Insert menu, select Object and go to the Create New tab. Select Microsoft Equation 3.0 in the Object Type box and click OK. The Equation toolbar will appear, from which you can insert or create your desired equation. Word 2003 Equation Toolbar 

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    Equations in Word 2007 or 2010

    Equations in Word 2007 or 2010 

    The process for inserting an equation in Word 2007 or Word 2010 is quite simple. Go to the Insert tab and click Equation in the Symbols group. Here you will find several options.

    You can choose from a built-in equation, which you can then edit to your needs. You can select more equations from Office Online. You can also select Insert New Equation to insert your own custom equation.

    Once you have made a selection from the Insert Equation menu, the Equation Tools Design tab will appear, providing several tools, symbols and structures that you can use.

    If you wish to add your equation to the list of frequently used equations, select the equation you created. Go to the Equation Tools Design tab and select Equation in the Tools group. Click Save Selection to Equation Gallery. Type a name for the equation in the Create New Building Block dialog box. Select Equations in the Gallery list, add a description or other options if desired and click OK. The new equation will be included with the built-in equations in the Insert Equation menu.

    For a comprehensive tutorial on creating equations in Word 2007, read Using Word 2007’s Equation Editor. The steps in this tutorial work for Word 2010, as well.