I wish to recreate the following vertical addition using the equation editor in Microsoft Word 2013:

ab+bb=bca as a vertical addition

I have tried using an empty 3x3 matrix and filling it with the relevant symbols, however I cannot draw the horizontal line in-between the problem and the solution.

vertical addition without the horizontal line

I have also tried using separate equations and an underbar accent. However this is a less-than-ideal solution due to the space characters used for horizontal spacing. (*shudder*)

vertical addition using underbars and spaces

Is there a way I can elegantly reproduce vertical addition using the MS Word 2013 equation editor?

4 Answers 4


Changed this a little, as I'd missed the horizontal line).

Create a new equation, then copy/paste the following:


and press Enter at the end.

The \matrix keywords will transform into \'square black blob character" at some point each "&" introduces a new column, and each "@" introduces a new row). Math autocorrect needs to be "on" to make it work - it should be "on" by default.

It should look like this:

enter image description here

For more space over the line, you can insert a blank line in the upper matrix, like this:

\matrix(+&\matrix(a&b@c&d)@ & )/\matrix(b&c&a)

There is a way to write columnar additions and it gives a similar look to what you presented above.

  1. Add a blank equation (Ribbon: Insert > Equation).

  2. From the Equation Tools tab in the Ribbon, add a Stacked fraction in button Fraction.

If you prefer to centre the plus sign like in this picture

enter image description here

  1. Place the cursor on the blank square on the numerator and insert a 1x2 empty matrix from button Matrix. You will get 2 blank squares on the numerator.

  2. Place the cursor on the right blank square on the numerator and insert a 2x2 empty matrix from button Matrix. You will get 4 more blank squares. Go to instruction 6.

If you prefer to place the plus sign like in this picture

enter image description here

  1. Place the cursor on the blank square on the numerator and insert a 2x3 empty matrix from button Matrix.

  2. Place the cursor on the denominator and insert a 1x3 empty matrix from button Matrix.

    • Finally, type in the characters on each blank square in the matrices.


  • This is a one-block equation that moves all-together, not 2 equations separated by underscore characters.


  • Not that different from what you demonstrated in your question, at least to me.
  • @angussidney I edited my answer to match your desired look, although I'm sure the plus sign is never centred in vertical addition. Check en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addition or google images for 'columnar addition' and see how the mark is normally placed.
    – Sanny
    May 13, 2016 at 2:40

In this case, it is much easier and nicer to use matrices, but if you are looking to add a horizontal line in Word (in general, to separate equations), you can utilize the fraction bar.

sample horizontal line use case

Create an empty fraction using (/) and in the top, keep on pressing control-tab until you obtain the necessary horizontal line length (you can press space to fine-tune your line length). Finally, select the bottom of the fraction, press space one time, and voilagif of fractional bar

final completed vertical bar


I just put my vertical equation into Excel, making the columns appropriately sized for my numbers. Formatting the cells as text allowed me to put in a plus sign without having it be interpreted as a formula. I left off the bottom line. When I copied these cells and pasted them into my word document, it created columns and everything is still lined up correctly. I then inserted a shape (line) to provide the bottom line.

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