Typing scientific, or mathematical symbols in Microsoft Word is pretty simple but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Microsoft Word has a dedicated symbols box that has almost every symbol you might ever need to use in a document. Opening the symbols box each time you need to insert a symbol interrupts a normal workflow and that’s if you discount the time spent looking for the right one. To make things easier for yourself, you should enable autocorrect for Math on Microsoft Word.
Autocorrect for Math works a lot like command switches in Slack. You start with a backslash and enter the name of the symbol you want to enter. Autocorrect will then replace the name with the correct symbol.
Autocorrect for Math
Open Microsoft Word and go to File>options. On the Options window, go to the Proofing tab, and click the Autocorrect options button.
On the Autocorrect options window, go to the Math AutoCorrect tab. Enable the ‘Use Math AutoCorrect rules outside of math regions’. Click Ok, and return to your document.
Using Math Autocorrect
In order to use Math autocorrect, think of a symbol that you need to insert. You need to know the name of the symbol e.g. sigma, omega, delta, etc. If you don’t know what a symbol is called, you can draw it and find out.
Once you know what it’s called enter it using the following command;
For some symbols, such as the Greek letters, there are uppercase and lowercase characters much like there are in English. To enter the uppercase character, you need to make sure the first letter of the name of the symbol is capital.
To enter the uppercase symbol for Sigma, you will enter;
To enter the lowercase symbol for Sigma, you will enter;
If you often need to type these symbols, or it’s just par for a day’s work, you should consider learning to use LaTex. It’s not easy to learn but people swear by it and strongly discourage the use of Microsoft Word as a stand-in, particularly in the research and academic fields.
If you’re determined to use Microsoft Word, try and explore all the features it has to offer to make entering these symbols easier. Remember that you don’t just need to enter the symbols. You also need them to make sense with respect to everything else that is typed before or after them e.g. in an equation.