Formula editor

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A typeset mathematical expression

A formula editor is a name for a computer program that is used to typeset mathematical works or formulae.

Formula editors typically serve two purposes:

  • They allow word processing and publication of technical content either for print publication, or to generate raster images for web pages or screen presentations.
  • They provide a means for users to specify input to computational systems that is easier to read and check than plain text input and output from computational systems that is easy to understand or ready for publication.

Content for formula editors can be provided manually using a markup language,e.g. TeX or MathML, via a point-and-click GUI, or as computer generated results from symbolic computations such as Mathematica.

Typical features include the ability to nest fractions, radicals, superscripts, subscripts, overscripts and underscripts together with special characters such as Mathematical symbols, arrows and scalable parentheses.

Some systems are capable of re-formatting formulae into simpler forms or to adjust line-breaking automatically, while preserving the mathematical meaning of a formula.

Available systems[edit]

Name Keyboard input GUI input Handwriting recognition TeX support MathML support Raster export Automatic expression layout Computation support Platform Notes Output formats Open source
Alfred's Equation Editor (AlfredEq) Yes but limited Yes No No Yes Yes No No Flash Player An embedded app to edit mathematical expressions on CMS/LMS/Blog web pages. No
Aurora Yes No No Yes No Yes No No Microsoft Office addon. Renders using TeX.
Calcinator Math Editor Yes Yes No Yes No No No Yes Web, iOS Web GUI generates pure HTML math and LaTeX HTML, LaTeX No
Cassiopeia Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Mac OS X Scientific Wordprocessing for Mac OS X
CodeCogs Equation Editor Yes Yes No Yes Beta Yes Yes No Web Produces HTML and graphics for inclusion of equations in any website. Can download graphics in various formats for use in reports and publications. Plugins for CK Editor, Tiny MCE, etc. PNG, JPG, SVG, SWF, EMF, MathML, LaTeX, URL
CodeCogs Excel Render Yes No No Yes No Yes Yes No MS Excel Addin to convert formulas into beautiful equations. Works offline and can also request 100% LaTaX from the online CodeCogs servers.
Daum Equation Editor Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Chrome browser, Mac Math equation editor for Chrome browser and Mac PNG, LaTeX No
DragMath Yes but limited Yes No Yes Yes No No No Java applet. Open source. supports AsciiMathML. Integrations with a VLE such as Moodle. MathML, LaTeX Yes
Equation Maker for Mac Yes No No Yes No No No Mac Available on Mac App Store PDF, PNG No
Equation Notepad for Android Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes No For the Android mobile operating system. Can export LaTeX.
WebEQ Equation Editor Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No No Web A Design Science product that has reached End of Life; replaced with MathFlow Software Development Kit No
Expressionism Yes No No No Yes No No No Browser-based WYSIWYG editor.
EqualX Equation Editor Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Windows, Linux Easy to use for beginners and advanced users. Highly customisable interface. EPS, PS, PNG, JPG, PDF, SVG, TEX Yes
Firemath Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No Addon for the Firefox web browser. Yes
Formula Sheet Equation Editor Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Online LaTeX equation editor with real-time .png, .pdf, and .tex output. Customizable resolution, font, and color. One click copy to MS Word 2007+ using MathML.
Formulator MathML Weaver Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No No Dual-licensing (Open source and commercial). There is a special edition that works within a browser (using Silverlight plugin).
IguanaTex No Yes No Yes Yes No No No Free PowerPoint plugin for inserting LaTeX equations
Jex No Yes Yes No No Designed to insert and edit equations in Openoffice
KFormula Yes No No No No No
LaTeXiT Yes No No Yes No No No Mac OS X unofficial universal binary. Open source.
LyX Yes Yes No Yes No No LyX has a WYSIWYM ("what you see is what you mean") approach. Open Source PDF, DVI, LaTeX, Text, Postscript Yes
Maple Yes Yes characters only export only export only Yes Yes Yes Windows, Linux, Mac LaTeX, MathML, PDF No
MathDox formula editor Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No JavaScript editor for creating OpenMath, Computations are now possible via external web services, but integration of these web services is under construction Yes
Connexions' MathML Editor (Beta) Yes Yes No No Yes No Yes No Javascript, WYSIWYG, Open Source, Content and Presentation MathML editor. Currently, the MathML editor is only supported in Mozilla Firefox. Yes
Math Editor Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes No Windows
Mathematica Yes Yes, called "palettes" Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Windows, Unix/Linux, Mac CDF, PDF, EPS, LaTeX, HTML, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, JPEG200,OpenEXR, BMP, PICT, WMF, EMF, XBM, PCX, FITS, DICOM, NETCDF, SVG, DXF, AVI, FLV, Quicktime, SWF, RTF, ASCII No
MathQuill Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No Web WYSIWYG DHTML LaTeX math editor in the Web browser. Currently only supports IE8+ and other modern browsers.
MathType Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Windows, Mac Works with Microsoft Office, Apple iWork '09, Maple, Mathematica, iBooks Author, Gmail and over 700+ other applications and websites. Compatibility database GIF, EPS, PICT, Plain TeX, LaTeX, MathML No
MathMagic Yes Yes Windows only Yes Yes Yes Yes No Windows, Mac, Android Also supports Microsoft Word equations, Wolfram Alpha to see the computation results and answers, Google Docs equations, MathType equations, Wiki equations, AsciiMathML, and Text-To-Speech to read out math expressions. Personal Edition is for general purpose use. Pro Editions mainly used with Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress for desktop publishing. Comes with many math symbol fonts, Greek fonts, text body fonts in OpenType and TrueType format. PDF, SVG, EPS, PNG, Transparent PNG, JPG, BMP, GIF, PICT, WMF, TIFF, Plain TeX, LaTeX, AMS LaTeX, MathML, ASCIIMath, Wolfram Alpha, Google Docs, Zoho, Text-To-Speech (Voice, Sentence) No
MathCast Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes No Open source Yes
MathFlow Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Math-o-mir Yes Yes No No export only Yes Yes No Intended to be used as math notepad. Freeware. Yes
Math Expression Editor Light 1.2 (MEEL) Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes .NET Framework component Math Expression Editor Light No
Microsoft Equation Editor 3.0 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Windows, Mac Deprecated editor included in Microsoft Office products, based on limited version of MathType. OLE
Microsoft Word 2007 Yes Yes No partially Yes Yes Yes No Windows, Mac A graphing-calculator plug-in is available for simple calculations and manipulations MathML
MiraiMath Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Java WYSIWYG Editor, Open Source. Can be used as alternative front end to GNU Octave Yes
MyTexPoint No Yes No Yes Yes No No No a small free program for inserting LaTeX equations into PowerPoint with a screen-shot tool
OpenOffice / LibreOffice Math Yes Yes No No Yes No Yes No Windows, Linux, Mac Tool to create formulae that can be embedded inside other suite documents Yes
Publicon Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Mathematica-based technical document system No
Rapid-Pi Yes No No No No No No Windows Microsoft Word plugin
Scientific Word Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes No Windows WYSIWYM LaTeX editor
Scientific WorkPlace Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes Windows WYSIWYM LaTeX editor with symbolic math and plotting No
Sentido Yes Yes No No Yes No No No JavaScript editor for creating OpenMath
ShareMath.com Yes but limited Yes No No Yes Yes No No Flash Player Create, share and remix equations on the web. Embeds AlfredEq No
Texify Yes No No Yes No Yes No No An online LaTeX equation writer. Based on open source mimeTeX library.
TexPoint No Yes No Yes Yes No No No PowerPoint plugin for inserting LaTeX equations
TeXPPT Yes No No Yes No No No No Windows Free PowerPoint 2010 plugin for inserting LaTeX equations, fully vector based, no rasters
VisionObjects Equation Editor No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No A handwriting recognizer for LaTeX and MathML equations.
WIRIS editor Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Web WIRIS editor PNG, MathML, LaTeX, Flash No
Name Keyboard input GUI input Handwriting recognition TeX support MathML support Raster export Automatic expression layout Computation support Platform Notes Output formats Open source

See also[edit]

  • TeX, a typesetting system designed and mostly written by Donald Knuth
  • LaTeX, a document markup language and document preparation system for the TeX typesetting program
  • MathML, an application of XML for describing mathematical notations and capturing both its structure and content. It aims at integrating mathematical formulae into World Wide Web pages and other documents. It is a recommendation of the W3C math working group