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I am trying to include an infinity symbol in a Powerpoint 2010 file on a Windows 7 machine. I have tried copying symbols from the internet, which works fine until I try to increase the font. At that point the right-half of the symbol becomes much larger than the left half.

I have also tried using an infinity symbol from the MSWord 'character map'. That symbol is 221E in the Unicode (hex) section of the map. However, even with that symbol the size of the right-half is noticeably larger than the left-half in Powerpoint. Is that how the symbol should appear? If not, please suggest a way to obtain a symmetric infinity symbol in Powerpoint.

I realize that LaTeX might be the solution, but do not have LaTeX installed on this machine.

Perhaps I should simply take a screenshot of a suitable symbol and paste in a jpeg file of the symbol into Powerpoint.

Thanks for any other suggestions.

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221e is the correct unicode value. It seems to be a bug either in the font you use or in powerpoint. What happens if you change the font? BTW: Don't use JPEG for anything else than photorealistic pictures. Better use a vector image format like SVG or in the worst case a high resolution PNG file. –  Marco Aug 1 '12 at 18:25
    
Thanks, Marco. I tried using several different fonts in MSWord, but all of them switched to an asymmetric symbol in Powerpoint. Then I took a screenshot and imported the resulting file. That worked. Thanks for the suggestion about the SVG format. –  Mark Miller Aug 1 '12 at 18:36
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

221e is the correct unicode value for the infinity math symbol (∞). It should be displayed correctly, given you use a font that contains the symbol.

It seems to be a bug either in the font you use or in PowerPoint itself. Since you tried different fonts, it might be a bug in PowerPoint.

Inserting a graphic

If you decide to insert a graphic, don't use a JPEG file. JPEGs are meant for photorealistic images only and produce ugly artifacts when used for text. Use a vector format instead, e.g. SVG. If everything else fails, fail back to a high resolution PNG, which is a pixel format. In contrast to JPEG it does not produce artifacts at character borders.

If you use LaTeX, then I would advice to use the standalone class. This class crops the image automatically. The resulting PDF file can then be converted to an SVG file e.g. using inkscape:

inkscape \
  --without-gui \
  --export-ignore-filters \
  --export-plain-svg=output.svg \
  input.pdf

Given that you choose a math font in LaTeX that matches your presentation font, this is the best result you can get in PowerPoint. And it's all vector graphics and scalable.

If you do this regularly, I would recommend to have a look at the LaTeX beamer class for presentations.

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I thought I would elevate my comment above to an answer. Taking a screenshot of a suitable symbol and then importing the resulting file into Powerpoint worked fine.

From this experience I think I learned that creating mathematical equations using LaTeX and then taking a screenshot of them probably will also work fine for including complex formula in Powerpoint.

As for cropping the screenshot, I more-or-less followed the instructions from here:

http://www.ehow.com/how_6801557_crop-screen-shot.html

Those instructions were only slightly different from what I actually had to do, and the differences were rather trivial.

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If you use LaTeX, then I would advice to use the standalone class. This crops the image automatically. The resulting PDF file can then be converted to an SVG file e.g. with inkscape: inkscape --without-gui --export-ignore-filters --export-plain-svg=output.svg input.pdf. Given that you choose a matching font in LaTeX, this is the best result you can get in PowerPoint. And it's all vector graphics and scalable. –  Marco Aug 1 '12 at 18:49
    
Thank, Marco. If you elevate your comment to an answer I will accept it. –  Mark Miller Aug 1 '12 at 19:00
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To insert the infinity symbol in MS PowerPoint, go to the insert tab on the ribbon, insert an equation, click the infinity symbol on the Equation Tools Design tab then click out of the equation. Of course this will not work if you did not install the math tools when you installed Office, and it is not installed by default.

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