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Using Equation Editor with PowerPoint 2007

Problem

You need to create or edit equations in PowerPoint 2007 using the supplied Equation Editor 3 software.

Here's how it works, from Bob Mathews of Design Science (the authors of Equation Editor and MathType):


The same Equation Editor that was in Office 2003 is also in Office 2007, and can be used in both Word and PPT. To access it in PPT 2007, in the Text group on the Ribbon's Insert tab, click on Object. This will bring up the same Insert Object dialog you're used to seeing in pre-2007 versions of Office. Select Microsoft Equation 3.0 from the list.


In PPT 2003, it was possible to drag an Equation Editor icon to the toolbar, but you can't do that in PPT 2007. One solution is to put Insert/Object on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT -- it's in the upper left of the PPT window, to the right of the Office icon). That's only marginally helpful though.

Here's the article

Of course MathType works in PPT too, and it adds a MathType tab to the PPT and Word Ribbons. MathType allows more extensive formatting than the free Equation Editor.

Can I recolor the equation?

Equation Editor lets you insert equations in black text. And only that.

In previous versions of PowerPoint, you could use the Recolor command on the Format dialog box to change black to any other color. No more. It doesn't work in PPT 2007.

Short version: If you're using a white or light background and don't mind equations in black type, you have no problem. If you want some other color, it's a big problem.

Workaround 1: Steal the equations from Word

Word 2007 got a rather sophisticated built-in equation editor in Office 2007. We don't know why PowerPoint didn't inherit it also but you can still use the one in Word to solve your PPT equation problems. Here's how:

You may find that this leaves too much white space on both sides of the equation. To eliminate this, make the document margins smaller in Word before copying the equation.

Workaround 2: Picture this

Thanks to Echo Swinford for this one, which works with normally inserted equations:

That gives you white text. Selecting "washout" will give you grey text. Change the contrast to get different shades of grey.

For a little more variety, try this:

Workaround 3: Ungroup

This gives you the most control over the formatting of your equation, with the least work but after ungrouping, it's not an equation any longer, just a collection of shapes. If you need to make anything but the simplest changes to the equation itself, you'll want to delete the ungrouped copy, edit the original sitting off the slide, copy it again, then repeat the ungrouping/reformatting.

Workaround 4: If it doesn't look nice on black, put it on some other color

This won't work if you want your equations to blend in with the text around them but if they can stand out a bit.

Give the equation object a medium-to-light fill color. This will fill the entire equation "box" with a color that contrasts with the black text.


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Using Equation Editor with PowerPoint 2007
http://www.pptfaq.com/FAQ00832_Using_Equation_Editor_with_PowerPoint_2007.htm
Last update 07 June, 2011
Created: