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Geekiest Windows Accessory: the Math Input Panel

Starting with Windows 7, Microsoft included a new tool called Math Input Panel, which is by far the most interesting program included by default in Windows. Previously, the champion was Calculator with Scientific, Programmer, and Transform modes.

With the Math Input Panel, you can write well-formed math expressions and then paste them into other programs that support MathML or math markup language.

The math data entry panel supports many high school and college math functions such as functions, numbers, letters, arithmetic, algebra, sets, geometry, probability, statistics, and more.

The best way to use the Math Input Panel is to connect a tablet or notebook to your computer. Trying to write an equation with the mouse is a rather frustrating experience. The best notebooks I’ve used for Windows come from Wacom, a company that has been around for many years.

Use a math input pad

Now let’s take a quick look at how you can use the Math Input Panel. The easiest way to download it is to click Start and type Math. The first result should be a math input panel.

When you first open the program, you will see a blank screen with a graph paper background that says “Write the math here.” If the size of the window seems too small, don’t worry, because the screen automatically grows in height and width as it gets closer to any particular edge, which is quite handy.

Second, when you start writing an equation, another small window appears to the right of the main math input screen. Here are some tools you can use to remove or fix equations.

Now just start writing your equation and don’t worry if you see something different in the preview window. For example, after I wrote x =, there was something else in the preview window. However, as soon as I wrote the letter a, he realized that it should be x = a.

When you finish writing your equation, some elements may not be correctly recognized by the input panel. In these cases, we can use the correct tools on the right. The best place to start is by choosing and fixing.

As you can see above, I wrote an awful a, which the program recognized as n. To fix this, I could erase and rewrite it, but a simpler option is to click Select and Fix, then click the letter “a” so it is highlighted in red, and then select the letter or symbol you want. The second option on the list is what I want.

To erase anything, just click the Erase button and then click and drag in the Input Panel to erase anything. Now that you have your equation in Input Panel, it’s time to paste it somewhere useful.

You can do this by first opening the program where you want to paste the equation. In my example, I’m going to use Word, so I open it up and move the cursor to the point where I want to insert the equation.

Then click the “Insert” button and your equation will be transferred to the document. Note that you can adjust the font size for the equation simply by selecting it and then increasing or decreasing the font size.

Again, you should always write down the entire mathematical expression first before starting to correct. The more expressions you write, the more likely the program will be able to figure out what you are trying to do. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave comments. Enjoy!

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