Complete Reference on Ms Word Equation Editor Shortcut

Equation is an integral part of many technical manuscripts, including thesis and research papers. However, typing it in Ms Word is cumbersome and tiring task. To ease it, Microsoft Word has LaTeX type equation editor shortcut feature for typing equation. These equation editor shortcut as termed as Math AutoCorrect and are available in versions of Microsoft Word 2007 and above.

Equation editor shortcut has a potential to save a lot of time and effort. For e.g., to get Greek letter \alpha, you can type \alpha instead of going to Symbols in Insert Tab and searching for \alpha.

Enabling Math Autocorrect

Most version of Microsoft Word, Math AutoCorrect is enabled by default. To ensure you can visit, File Menu → Options → Proofing → Autocorrect Options → Math AutoCorrect and ensure box against “Replace text as you type” is checked. These shortcut work only inside Equation Editor. However, if you want to use it outside Equation Editor, then check “Use Math Autocorrect Rules outside of math regions

Step by Step process to enable Math Autocorrect outside Math region in Ms Word
How to enable math autocorrect outside math region in Microsoft Word

Equation Editor Shortcut

Shortcut to get equation editor in Ms Word and Power Point is “Alt + =” (i.e. hold down Alt key while typing ‘=’). Although you can also click on “Equations” under the “Insert” Tab to get it.

Spaces is an important part of Math AutoCorrect shortcut. It tells Ms Word and Power Point when it is time to translate a part of equation into Mathematical Symbols/Operators. For clarity whenever necessary, space are shown as <sp> in Math AutoCorrect formula.

Subscript & Superscript

Equation editor shortcut for subscript and superscript is _ and ^. Anything after _ or ^ will get converted into subscript or superscript respectively, after hitting space. To include space in subscript or superscript, group them in () or parenthesis. These grouping parenthesis don’t appear after Math AutoCorrect. Grouping is also important as it distinguish between a_i^2 \; and a_{i^2} \;. While adding pre-subscript or pre-superscript, use \zwsp along with _ and ^ sign as shown below.

A_(big circle)<sp> A_{big \ circle}H^(2 square)<sp>H^{2\; square}
r^2_outer<sp> r^2_{outer}r^2_(outer circle)r^{2}_{outer\;circle}
\zwsp<sp>_c<sp> _cR \zwsp<sp>^c<sp>R ^cR
\zwsp<sp>_c^d<sp>R _c^dR \zwsp<sp>_c^d<sp>_e^f<sp> _c^dR_e^f
Equation Editor Shortcut for Subscript and Superscript in Ms Word


Blackboard Bold letters or Double letters:

Use \doubleXX, where XX is the required uppercase letter for e.g. use \doubleA for \mathbb{A} and \doubleR for \mathbb{R}.

Fraktur letters

Fraktur is a calligraphic hand of the Latin alphabet. We can easily write it in Ms Word using \frakturXX where XX is an uppercase letter. For e.g. use Ms Word shortcut “\frakturB” for “\mathfrak{B} and “\frakturG” for “\mathfrak{G}“.

Greek letter

Greek letter has 24 different alphabets. There are four distinct ways of typing Greek alphabets in Microsoft Word. Of these, Math AutoCorrect method is the easiest to remember and the fastest of all four. This method of typing Greek letters is as easy as typing its spelling after \ (backslash). To get lower case Greek Alphabet, type name of Greek letter after \ in lower case (for e.g. \alpha for \alpha) and for upper case Greek Alphabet type name of Greek letter after \ in Title Case (e.g. \Gamma for \Gamma). You can also use Alt codes for typing Greek letters.

Name of Greek letterUppecaseShortcutLowercaseShortcut

Scientific and Mathematical Symbol Symbols

Equation editor shortcut for scientific and mathematical symbols like infinity, different arrows, operators (like partial, del and nabla), conditional symbols, dot, cross, mapsto, perpendicular, set symbols, for all, equivalent, congruent, angle, proportional etc are given in the following table.

Correct way to insert division sign in Ms Word
Correct way to insert multiplication and division symbols in Ms Word
Ms Word shortcut for inserting correct division symbol
Microsoft word shortcut for inserting division sign using Math Autocorrect
Symbol NameSymbolMs Word ShortcutSymbol NameSymbolMs Word Shortcut
Right Arrow\rightarrow, ->Left Arrow\leftarrow
Up Arrow\uparrowDown Arrow\downarrow
North-east Arrow\nearrowNorth-west Arrow\nwarrow
South-east Arrow\searrowSouth-west Arrow\swarrow
Left Right arrow\leftrightarrowUp Down Arrow\updownarrow
Rightwards Double Arrow\RightarrowLeftwards Double Arrow\Leftarrow
Upwards Double Arrow\UparrowDownwards Double Arrow\Downarrow
Less Than Equal To\leGreater Than Equal To\ge
Double Less Than\llDouble Greater Than\gg
Times𝑎 × 𝑏a \times bTensor Product or O Times𝑓(𝑡) ⊗ 𝑔(𝑡)f(t)\otimes g(t)
Dot𝑎 ⋅ 𝑏a\cdot bO Dot𝑎 ⊙ 𝑏a\odot b
O Plus𝑥 ⊕ yx\oplus yO Minus𝑥 ⊖ 𝑦a\ominus y
Maps To𝑎 ↦a\mapsto bRight Arrow with Hook\hookrightarrow
Dots𝑎 … 𝑏a\dots bCenter dots𝑎 ⋯ 𝑏a\cdots b
Perpendicular𝑎 ⊥ 𝑏a \bot b𝑎 ⊤ 𝑏a \top b
Intersection𝐴⋂𝐵A\bigcap BUnion𝐴⋃𝐵A \bigcup B
Big Square Cup𝐴⨆𝐵A\bigsqcup BBig U with Plus𝐴⨄𝐵A \biguplus B
Star𝑎 ⋆ 𝑏a \star bFor All\forall
Big Wedge\bigwedgeBig Ve\bigvee
Not Equal To\neApproximately Equal\approx
Similar\simSimilar To\simeq
Natural Joint of Bowtie\bowtieBox\box
Subset\subsetEmpty Set\emptyset
Plus or minus±\pm or +-Minus or plus\mp
Angle\angleProportional To\proto
Degree C22 °C22 \degc


For various reasons you need to have an accent like bar, grave, tilde, dot (for denoting derivative) above symbol. We can easily achieve these using following word shortcut.

AccentForEquation editor shortcut
Double bar\overline{\overline{x}}x\Bar<sp>
Under bar\underline{x}x\ubar<sp>
Double under bar\underline{\underline{x}}x\uBar<sp>
Left-right arrow\overleftrightarrow{x}x\tvec<sp>
Left harpoon\overset{\leftharpoonup}{x}x\lhvec<sp>
Right harpoon\overset{\rightharpoonup}{x}x\rhvec<sp>
Double dot\ddot{x}x\ddot<sp>
Triple dot\dddot{x}x\dddot<sp>
Four dot\overset{....}{x}x\ddddot<sp>
Left vector (or left arrow)\overleftarrow{x}x\lvec<sp>
Ms Word shortcut for Accents

Grouping and brackets

Equation editor causes brackets (such as [], {} and ()) to grow to fit the size of expression within them. However, parenthesis used for grouping are not displayed in the final formatted expression. However, when parenthesis is required to be displayed, it must be doubled (one for grouping which will vanish in final formatted expression and other for displaying). Escape sequence (\ followed by desired bracket is used to prevent bracket from being reformatted.

To DisplayUseComment
\frac{a}{y}x/y/ is used for fraction
\left[\frac{x}{y} \right ][x/y] [] bracket automatically expands to adjust fraction
\left{\frac{x}{y} \right}{x/y}
\left(\frac{x}{y} \right )(x/y)Parentheses displayed as they not used for grouping
\frac{a}{p+q}a/(p+q)Parentheses used for grouping (denominator here) are not displayed
\frac{a}{\left(p+q \right )}a/((p+q))Parentheses used for grouping (denominator here) is not displayed
[_a^b y[ a\atop b \close y
\left|\frac{p|q|r}{c+d}\right||(p|q|r)/(c+d)|Again parentheses used for grouping are not displayed
|a|b\left|\frac{x}{a+b}\right||a|b|x/(a+b)Grouping parentheses not displayed
||a||\norm a \norm
Brackets and grouping equation

Square root, Cube root, and more

Equation editor shortcut for square root, cube root and higher roots are \sqrt(), \cbrt() and \sqrt(n&x) respectively.

SymbolEquation Editor Shortcut
\sqrt[n]{x + 1}\sqrt(n&x)<sp>
Equation Editor Shortcut for square root, cube root & nth root

For more shortcut and example on root sign, visit our blog on Shortcut for Square root, and higher order roots


Empty Matrix

The basic equation editor shortcut for creating an empty matrix of custom size is \matrix(@@&&&)<sp>. Matrix size decided by number of @ (for rows) and & (for columns) respectively. Number of @ and & symbol is one less than number of rows and columns, respectively.

Fastest way to insert matrix in Microsoft Word using equation editor shortcut.
Animation of fastest way to insert matrix in Ms Word using equation editor shortcut.
Comparison of two methods to insert 4x4 or larger matrix in Word
Speed comparison of Two methods to insert 4×4 or larger matrix in Microsoft Word

Matrix with elements

You can also create matrix filled with elements using above shortcut. Using this method, we enter elements of the matrix row wise, starting with the top row. Use & to move to the next column and @ for the next row.

Equation Editor ShortcutOutput Matrix
\matrix(@@&)Empty Matrix
\pmatrix(@@&) or (\matrix(@@&)Empty matrix with parenthesis
\Vmatrix(@@&)Empty matrix inside two vertical bars
[\matrix(1&2&[email protected]&5&[email protected]&8&9)]Filled matrix inside square brackets
\pmatrix(1&[email protected]&[email protected]&6)Shortcut for Filled Matrix inside paranthesis

For more details and example, visit our blog on different methods and equation editor shortcut for typing matrix in Ms Word.

Piece wise function

There are two ways to insert piece wise function in using Equation Editor shortcut in Ms Word. First one uses \cases() method while the second one uses \matrix(). In both the cases, desired piecewise functions are entered inside the parenthesis.

Like matrix, @ is used as a row separator. To get only the opening curly braces ‘{‘ which automatically extends the height of piecewise function, use \close in place of closing ‘}’.

Equation editor shortcutOutputNote
f(x) = {\cases(x,x>[email protected],x<0)\closeExample of Piecewise function@ is used as row separator and \close is required to ensure opening { expands vertically to cover all cases
f(x) = {\matrix(x & x>[email protected] & x<0)\closePiecewise functionSimilar to above, & is used as column separator
f(x) = {\matrix(x & x>[email protected] & x<0)
Piecewise function
Piecewise function without \close
Without \close, opening '{' doesn't expands

Integral, Sum and Product

Shortcut for integral sign, sum and product signs are \int, \sum and \prod. You can use _ and ^ for inserting text below and above signs, respectively.

Equation Editor ShortcutOutputNote
\int_x=0^1<sp>f(x)dx\int_{x=0}^{1}f(x)dx_ for lower limit and ^ for upper limit
\iint<sp>f(x)dx\iint{f(x)dx}\iint for double integral
\iint\below(S)<sp>ds\iint\limits_Sdsuse \below to put text below symbol
\iiint\above(V)<sp><sp>dV\overset{V}{\iiint}dVuse \above to put text above symbol
\oint<sp>f(x)dx\oint f(x)dx\oint for cyclic integral, similarly use \oiint for cyclic double Sum, integral
\sum_(i=1)^n<sp>A_i<sp>\sum_{i=1}^n A_i\sum_(i=1)^n<sp>A_i<sp>\sum for sum symbol and _ & ^ sign for getting text below and above sum. Parenthesis can be used for grouping text with spaces
\prod_(n=0)^N<sp>x^n<sp>\prod_{n=0}^N x^nSimilar to sum.
Ms Word shortcut for typing Integration, Sum and Product


Math Autocorrect shortcut provides useful shortcuts for typing most of the mathematical expression. They are often the fastest and efficient way of typing equation in Ms Word.

21 thoughts on “Complete Reference on Ms Word Equation Editor Shortcut

  1. Thank you very much, I’m at Word 2016 and my accent shortcuts doesn’t work, if I write x\bar it’ll do x ̅ instead of ̅x ̅

    1. You should press space twice. First space is to convert \bar to bar sign and other to put under x. Thanks for highlighting this mistake I will update it.

  2. Wow!!! I can’t believe typing mathematical equations can be made easy like this. This is first hand help for everyone that has been depending on mouse for insertion of symbols, equations and its structures. Lots of thank you to the author or writer of this blog.

  3. this has changed my life and so much time and I really appreciate everything you’re doing here
    – stat major in college

  4. You save my day! I’m so tired of using the mouse to click on the icon in Equation tab, it takes me forever to switch constantly between my mouse and keyboards. I never know that all I need to do is typing right from the keyboards. Thank you so much for this helpful and easy to understand article. Good luck to you!

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