Solve and Graph Equations in Word and OneNote

By Matthew Guay on August 23rd, 2010

Would you like a free CAS and graphing calculator program on your computer?  Here’s a free add-in from Microsoft that will make Word and OneNote into top-notch mathematics programs.

Microsoft’s new Mathematics Add-in for Word 2007 and 2010 is a great tool to work with math in Office.  It lets you create beautiful graphs and solve equations without purchasing an expensive math program.  To get started, download the Microsoft Mathematics Add-in (link below), and install as normal.  Make sure you’ve exited Word and OneNote before you begin the setup.

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The Math add-in generates beautiful 3D graphs powered by DirectX, so you’ll be prompted to install the latest version of DirectX at the end of the installation.

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Next time you open Word 2010 or 2007, you’ll notice a new Mathematics tab in the ribbon.  Here you can insert equations, graphs and more right into your Word documents.

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OneNote 2010 will have a similar Mathematics tab, though OneNote 2007 will not as it does not have the ribbon.  OneNote works especially good for use with math since it uses a more free-form style of editing.

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OneNote includes one very interesting feature: you can insert equations with digital ink.  While editing a new equation, click Ink Equation to start writing the equation in on your touch screen.

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This will open a new window where you can write out your equation on your touch screen or Wacom tablet.  You can even write equations out with your mouse, though generally it would be much quicker to type them in!  Notice that the app is automatically showing its interpretation of the written equation above.  If it seems like it’s getting it wrong, keep writing; it often will autocorrect as you finish your equation.

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Alternately, you can insert a variety of pre-built equations by clicking the down-arrow under the Equation button in either application.  More equations are available from Office.com if you’d like to add to your gallery.

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In Word, you’ll have access to a wide variety of equation editing tools that are built-in.  OneNote includes similar tools, but they are slightly less full-featured.

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Once you’ve got an equation entered you’d like to see, click the Graph button.  Depending on the equation, you can plot the graph in 2D or 3D.

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This will open the Graph addin where you can choose the zoom level, wireframe, animation, and more.  This produces very nice complex graphs.  Click Insert to add the graph to your document.

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You can even use the Math addin to solve, integrate, or differentiate your equations.

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Here we differentiated, then integrated it back.  This is a simple example, but the Math plugin can handle much harder equations with no problem.  This can be a great study aid for students, and is almost like a basic free Mathematica!

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Here’s another equation where we solved for x.  Works quite good.

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The Math Add-in can handle rather complex equations, but when we tried to solve the Binominal Theorem for x, we received an error message.  Still, we were amazed at how much this addon could do!

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No matter what level of math you’re currently taking, the Math Add-in is a great tool to help you advance your math skills with software you already have.  No need to purchase expensive graphing calculator programs; this simple addin from Microsoft can make Office into a nice CAS and graphing suite!

If you’d like to make Word a great tool for more educational and research work, check out the Chemistry Add-in for Word as well!

Download the Mathematics Add-in for Word and OneNote

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 08/23/10
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