Math In Office 2007

I’d been attempting to post this entry right from inside Word 2007 Beta 2, but no luck so far interfacing with dasBlog. But the good thing is that most Office 2007 apps seems to be now blog and RSS aware. You can manage your blogging accounts right inside the Word or OneNote, although few things like pinging Technorati is missing.

The coolest thing in Office 12 is, though, new math related functionality. Now you can insert math equation in Word with rendering quality that matches LaTex (well, most of the time in Beta 2). The equation can be entered very interactively or in linear format which also allows TeX like symbol naming convention such as \alpha, \to, \infty and so on. Full TeX syntax however is not yet supported and some features such as equation numbering is missing in this release. But the interactive UI to build equations is pretty funcky. You can align equations and form equation array by using shift+Enter key and right clicking on ‘=’ symbol.

Even cooler is the fact that this functionality is available from any Office app. So you can actually start writing equation in your emails and Excel sheet! The equations are converted in to png file when sent in an email so even the lousy email reader can handle it. For example, here’s the Prime Number Theorem typed in Outlook 2007 is rendered as png image like this:


Andrei Burago working in with authoring team demoed this awesome power of Word12 and set out to rewrite my entire paper on twin primes just using Word 2007 (which I had written originally in TeX)!

The Ribbon bar is ultra cool and has replaced both menus and toolbar. This might drive you nuts however when you are trying to find some usual stuff such as list of recent files, print preview and so on. The trick is to click on Office symbol on upper left corner (hack, who would have known that!). The Lookout doesn’t seem to work any longer in Outlook 2007 but the instant searching is pretty satisfactory once you give it sometime to index stuff.

Shital Shah

A program trying to understand what it’s computing.

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