I'm not sure for symbol heavy stuff like theorems in Math, using a computer to input them is an efficient way to do. Here's an add-on that I googled, which seems promising, and yet I'm not convinced that it's faster than writing them down with a normal pen, it seems to present symbols to select from (not very fast imho). Has anyone used some tool that one feels equally good as writing down equations with a pen? Or at this point of time for Math type of stuff, it's really better off using the good old pen and paper? Your thoughts?



Editing for the purpose of the above URL is for it to work with Word or OneNote.

  • @Don Don: The link in your post is broken.
    – Timwi
    Commented Aug 21, 2010 at 4:16
  • I've never seen a method of entering mathematical notation on a computer that was even close to being as fast as pencil and paper. (And I use LaTeX and Mathematica a lot so I'm pretty quick with them) The computer is for when you want it to look good, but for I wouldn't use it for something like notetaking.
    – David Z
    Commented Aug 21, 2010 at 7:30

6 Answers 6


LaTex for print, MathJax for web.

  • Jim, is there any video to show how MathJax work with a modern browser like Firefox? Its site unfortunately does not seem to have this type of info... like typing one symbol like s then sigma or sin signs/symbols would appear to selection? Or? Thanks. Don
    – Don Don
    Commented Aug 21, 2010 at 5:10

I think mathematica is surprisingly good and easy for symbol display. Being able to type Esc-d-Esc for δ is pretty nice or Esc-Ps-Esc for Ψ is really nice.

  • Spencer, too bad mathamatica is totally free, I'm looking for open source component. thanks though.
    – Don Don
    Commented Aug 21, 2010 at 5:11

Maple from www.maplesoft.com if you need nice looking presentation plus powerful math engine. You can type text representation of formulas and it will convert it to 2D math. The drawbacks - it costs money and some learning curve.


I myself use OpenOffice.org Math. Another good solution is a graphics tablet and handwriting recognition software. Windows 7 comes with math input panel, but some practice is needed for it to be able to recognize handwriting with high accuracy. According to this question at Math.SE, users there seem to like TeX the most.


MathMagic equatoin editor comes with lots of symbols, together with their own symbol fonts. Many of MathMagic symbols are selectable from Symbol palettes. And also works with LaTeX commands if you are familiar with LaTeX.
Fully working trial can be downloaded here:



Both OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Word have solid equation editors. However, neither (at least to my knowledge) give you as much control over your formatting as LaTeX. However, if you are looking for speed, I think that David Zaslavsky's comment is correct - you'll probably never be able to type mathematical equations as fast as you can write them.

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