When most people create an e-book, they just need a word processor. However, if you need to create math equations and symbols, then not any word processor will do. That’s when you probably need to use Microsoft Word for its math equation editing features. While both the Windows and Macintosh version of Word offer a math equation editor, this post just covers the Macintosh version of Word 2011. Later posts will cover the Windows version, which works virtually identically.

First, Word has an odd habit of offering different features depending if you’re using an older .doc file or a newer .docx file, so whenever possible, use the newer .docx file. In the Windows version of Word, Word will actually displays different options if you’re editing a .docx file compared to an identical file stored as a .doc file.

To add an math equation in a document, make sure you’re using a .docx file, move the cursor where you want to insert your math equation, and then click the Insert menu and choose Equation.

The Equation command opens the math editor.

At this point, Word displays additional commands that let you click on a symbol to insert it in your document.

Rather than type individual mathematical, symbols, you can also use different categories of mathematical symbols such as Fractions, Integrals, and Functions. When you choose one of these features, a menu appears, letting you choose the equation that most closely matches what you need.

When you choose an equation, you can then edit it to type in your own variables, numbers, or mathematical operators such as a < sign. Basically, creating math equations in Word just involves picking an equation close to what you want and then editing it so you get exactly what you want. If you’re creating a math or science e-book, you’ll probably want to use a word processor with math editing features. Without these math features, you’ll find it nearly impossible to create mathematical symbols on your keyboard.

Practically all the major word processors include math editing capabilities such as Microsoft Word (Windows and Macintosh), Pages, and even free office suites like LibreOffice. If you use a simpler word processor, you may not have math editing features, in which case you won’t be able to create complex or even simple mathematical equations.

Creating math equations in a word processor isn’t hard, but it’s not as easy as typing ordinary text either. After a little bit of practice, you’ll soon get the hang of it and find that creating different types of mathematical equations can be tackled fairly easily with a little bit of patience.