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How do you create equations in Word 2010 that are automatically numbered with the equation number centered vertically on the equation and right justified? While a number of references have discussed the use of three column tables, finding a step by step proceedure kicked my but for some time.

Example Equation with Numbering

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Personally, I would recommend using LaTeX if you are writing a technical document with lot of equations. It will number the equations for you and there are many other benefits of LaTeX as well. –  tumchaaditya Mar 20 '14 at 16:52
Tried that a number of ways for my dissertation. Doesn't help if your advisor prefers word and its generally a PITA to meet specific formatting unless you want to spend a lot of time with the initial learning curve. The new equation editor in Word 2010 makes equations much easier in word. With the unfortunate exception of equation numbers. :( –  R Schultz Nov 28 '14 at 14:59

5 Answers 5

up vote 32 down vote accepted

You can create a template that can be used to automatically generate the table and equation with number to the right:

  1. Insert -> Table -> 3x1.

  2. Right click table -> Properties.

  3. In Table Tab, Check Preferred Width -> Percent -> 100.

  4. In Column Tab, set preferred width to 7%, 86% and 7% for 1st 2nd and 3rd column respectively.

    These values work well for Times new Roman 12pt equation numbers. (Other percentages will work provided they add up to 100%.)

  5. Click Ok.

  6. Insert-> Equation into center column (type in current equation or placeholder).

  7. Click References -> Insert Caption.

    Select Label: Equation
    Position: Above or Below

  8. Adjust numbering as desired.

  9. Cut and past number from above location to right column of equation table.

  10. Right align Text in right column.

  11. Center Equation column.

  12. Highlight the entire table.

  13. Turn off borders.

  14. Re-highlight the entire table.

  15. Select Insert -> Equation -> Save Selection to Equation Gallery.

Now if you want to insert an equation with automatic numbering in standard journal/conference paper format, just select the template you have made from the equation gallery and it will insert it into the document as desired.

Equation numbers will be automatically updated and references can be made to them using the References -> Cross Reference option for equations.

NOTE: If you'd like to save this newly formatted equation as a keyboard shortcut (like pressing the Alt and + keys simultaneously in order to create a new equation), you can do so by going to File -> Options -> Customize Ribbon -> Customize Shortcuts and then selecting "Building Blocks".

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THANK YOU! Nobody else on the web, so far as I can see, has had the idea of cut/paste the caption - the unoffical MS solution is to use a numbered list, and others have suggested bookmarks... This would deserve a bounty if I had enough rep to spare ;-) –  Simon W Dec 18 '13 at 11:51
In step 4, you meant to write 86% rather than 84%, right? 7+7 = 14. +86 = 100. Anyway, thank you! This is great! –  StormRyder Apr 21 '14 at 7:21

Personaly, I use the method as described in the answer of @R Schultz. But if you are specifically looking for a tool to do it, look at Kutools. Here they also describe an alternative way to insert model numbers without using their tool.

I have not used Kutools, so no idea how well it functions.

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I usually just press TAB (the same number of times on both sides of the equation) until the number is at the righmost position.

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Trouble with doing this without a table is that Word will automatically change the equation type from "display" to "inline". Which doesn't look as good :-( –  Simon W Dec 18 '13 at 10:41

Microsoft already answered your question: you may find an extensive tutorial dedicated to equations in this article:

  • KB158918 How to Insert a Caption Next to an Equation or Object

There are several solutions posted there, for both left-, center- and right-side numbering and even a samble VBA solution. It's a little bit old, true, but basics never changed that much over the years.

You can also read through a less specific, but more up-to-date and illustrated caption tutorial. It is a general tutorial, but applies pretty well to equations - especially in pair with the KB article.

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Note that KB158918 applies to Word 97, which uses the old Equation Editor. The article is not useful for Word 2010. –  Chris Hamaker Aug 27 '14 at 19:18

This is a perennial question so I hope you will not mind me submitting another answer.

The problem with the "table" approach is that it breaks the paragraph. This can cause spacing issues if your equation is part of a continuous sentence and your paragraphs have spacing before or after them. It also means that wrapping is done rather poorly for long equations (the usual preference in journals is that, if the equation is the width of the column, the number should appear below the equation right aligned instead of breaking the equation). Finally it does nothing to solve the problem that you wish to have punctuation marks instantly after your Display equation in the normal paragraph font.

My solution is to insert a hidden paragraph break instantly after the equation. (With hidden characters showing, insert a normal paragraph break by pressing the return key, then select it and press ctrl+shift+H on a Mac, not sure of the Windows combination.) Then you may insert a tab and the appropriate equation number.

When you hide hidden characters, the equation remains in the Display equation form, centred, but any additional text appears immediately after it on the same line.

Another alternative is to insert a Style Separator in place of a hidden paragraph break. This accomplishes the same effect. However Style Separators are not available on the Macintosh edition of Word.

Note this behaviour is undocumented and your equations sometimes become left-aligned instead of centred. I have yet to understand why.

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