MSU Denver

Introduction to the Microsoft Equation Editor

When it comes to mathematics, many accessibility issues arise simply due to the nature of the subject itself; math combines characters and symbols from other languages in formats that aren’t seen in other subjects. As a result, great care needs to be taken when adding math equations to a document. The steps on this page demonstrate how to insert equations that can be read by screen readers using  the Microsoft Office Equation Editor.

Step by Step Instructions for adding equations with the Microsoft Office Equation Editor

Guidelines for Accessible Math Documents:

  1. Use the equation editor to write all equations in Microsoft Word
  2. Be sure all your equations are presented as ‘professional’ (This should be the default option)
  3. Be sure to distribute the whole document as you will not be able to properly cut and paste the equations.

Inserting Preset Equations:

Microsoft has several standard equations that you can insert and edit to fit your needs.

  1. Select Insert; Equation will be at the far right of the screen
  2. Select the arrow directly below Equation; this will open a drop-down menu
  3. Choose a preset equation; a box with your equation will appear on the screen.
  4. Select the box to open the editor
  5. Select elements in the equation to edit/replace them

Creating Unique Equations:

If Microsoft does not have the equation you need, you can create your own.

  1. Select Insert; Equation will be at the far right of the screen
  2. Select Equation; this will add a blank equation box
  3. Select the box and use the tools at the top of your screen to create your equation
    1. Open the context menu of the equation box (along the right side of the box)
    2. Select Save as New Equation to save this equation for further use.
      1. Note: If you have an equation you use frequently, write it with variables and save it to use as a template

Checking for Accessibility:

When you are finished adding your equations, you can check your equations’ accessibility.

  1. Select View
  2. Select Learning Tools
  3. Highlight the equation you would like to check.
  4. Select Read Aloud and listen to the equation

Correcting Accessibility:

If you hear a portion of your equation read in an unexpected way, consider another way to write that element:

  1. For example, binomial coefficients are read as ‘n atop k’ instead of ‘n choose k’
  2. You can rewrite it in a separate equation editor as

Connect with the Instructional Accessibility Group

Improve your accessibility knowledge and skills through the Proactive Accessibility Certification Workshop Series.

Interested in improving the accessibility of your course? Request an Access Check or a Course Accessibility Review.

Have more questions or need additional assistance? Email the Instructional Accessibility Group