Adding Statistical Equations to Word using Microsoft Equation Editor

by Karen Grace-Martin


Have you ever tried to type a complex fraction, like a logit link, using Word, by lining up two rows of type?

Or a regression model equation?  It’s possible, but it takes forever to subscript all those i’s and change the font of all your B’s to β’s.

I used to, and it’s not easy.

What saved me, years ago, is the Microsoft Equation Editor.

I just mentioned it to a client the other day.  She was thrilled at the ease and flexibility of it, so I thought I’d better share this.

So, to insert a beautiful equation into Word, Powerpoint, or whatever Microsoft application you need, simply go to:

Insert–>Object–>Microsoft Equation 3.0 (the exact wording my differ in your version, but it should be close)

An editor window will pop up.  Explore it.  You can easily add fractions, subscripts, even symbols like the little bar over X.

A few caveats

  1. The one statistical notation I have needed and found it unable to do is a Choose function, as in (n choose p).  It looks like a fraction surrounded by parentheses, but without the line in the middle.
  2. One limitation is that you can’t edit the font or font color.  So the black italic Times Roman you get by default doesn’t always look pretty on, say, a Powerpoint slide where all the rest of the text is green Calibri.
  3. Truly the best editor for writing mathematical documents that contain equations is LaTeX.  It does much more than write equations and would be worth learning if you’re doing some heavy-duty statistical writing.  Jeremy Angolin’s Psychology and Statistics blog has a nice explanation of how to get started with LaTeX, along with quite a few resources.

But if, for now, you want to stick with Microsoft products, you’ll find the Equation Editor a BIG help.

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