Open Office Math FAQ

  • Is Math compatible with the equation editor of Microsoft Word?
  • How do I change the fonts used in my formula?
  • How do I number my equations?
  • How do I align my equations at the equality sign?
  • I need a symbol that Math does not provide. What can I do?
  • How can I get a left bracket without a right bracket?
  • How do I change the font of a subformula?
  • How do I change the spacing around my formula?
  • How do I change the color of a subformula?
  • How do I change the size of a subformula?
  • The fractions are too large for inline formulas. How can I make them smaller?
  • How do I typeset functions, such as max, det, that Math does not know about?
  • Can I find all the constructions of Math in the selection window?
  • How can I start the equation editor as an individual application rather than within Writer?
  • I have written a document containing a formula. I gave it to a friend and when she opened it the user-defined symbols didn’t work. What’s the matter?
  • I have inserted a formula in a HTML document and now I cannot edit it. Why not?
  • Why are my formulas jumping up and down on the textline?

Is Math compatible with the equation editor of Microsoft Word?

 

Math provides import and export filters for the equation editor of Microsoft Word and for MathType versions prior to 3.5 (The equation editor of Microsoft Word, is a limited version of MathType 3.0). Equations created with newer MathType versions cannot be converted to Math (their equations are imported as embedded objects whatever the import options settings).

When exporting from Writer to Microsoft Word, OpenOffice.org converts embedded Math formulas to MathType. When importing from Microsoft Word to Writer, OpenOffice.org does the reverse conversion. As with any file type conversion you should of course be aware that Math and MathType have different capabilities and this will affect the results.

If you prefer to keep the formulas in the original format, you can change this behavior in the configuration:

  • Select Tools-Options.
  • Select Load/Save-Microsoft Office.
  • Remove the check marks from MathType to OpenOffice.org Math / OpenOffice.org Math to MathType.

How do I change the fonts used in my formula?

 

Math uses 7 different text fonts to typeset formulas – in addition to symbol fonts (mainly the StarMath font).

The basic fonts are:

  • Variables. Variables (such as xa etc.) are usually typeset in italics; the default is Times New Roman, italics.
  • Functions. Functions (such as coslog etc.) are usually typeset in upright shape; the default is Times New Roman.
  • Numbers. Numbers (such as 217 are usually typeset in upright shape; the default is Times New Roman.
  • Text. Text (such as “abc”) is usually typeset in upright shape; the default is Times New Roman.
  • Serif is an additional, serifed font. The default is Times New Roman.
  • Sans is an additional, sans serif font. The default is Helvetica/Arial.
  • Fixed is an additional fixed-width font. The default is Courier.

 

To change one of the fonts follow these steps:

  1. Select Format-Fonts.
  2. Click Modify and select the font you wish to modify in the pop-up menu.
  3. Select the font in the list. You can also check one or both the checkboxes Bold and Italic.
  4. Close the dialog with OK.

This will change the font for the current formula. The next time you want to use the same font it will already be in the list box; you don’t have to click Modify again.

To change the default fonts follow these steps:

  1. Select Format-Fonts.
  2. Choose the seven fonts as described above.
  3. Click Default.

This will save your settings as the default fonts to be used in a new formula.

To change the base size of the formula select Format-Font Size and enter the size you want. All other font sizes are relative to the base size. The default is 12 pt.

This will change the base size for the current formula only. To change the default base size (applied to new formulas only), you should click Default before you close the dialog. There is no way to easily change the base size of many formulae.

 

How do I number my equations?

 

Displayed equations in Writer documents can be numbered using a predefined AutoText:

  • Type fn at the beginning of a paragraph and press F3. This will insert an AutoText containing a dummy formula and a sequence number. Now doubleclick the formula to edit it.
If you want to number the equations by chapter you should
  1. Doubleclick one of the equation numbers.
  2. In the listbox Level choose the chapter level you want to number by.
  3. In the textbox Separator type a character to separate the chapter number from the formula number.
  • If you want to modify the AutoText you should use the dialogue Edit-AutoText. You will find this AutoText in the group “Standard”.
  • You can also mimic the AutoText and number your equation manually by creating a table containing one row and two columns:
  1. in the first column you will insert the math object (your equation) and center it;
  2. in the right column, which will be reduced and right centered, you will place the equation number between two parentheses () by inserting a variable of type Text with the formula Text+1.
  • You can refer to this equation by inserting a field corresponding to the equation of the table.
  • In addition, if you select both, the reference and the table, you can make the selection an AutoText with the name Equation and abbreviation EQ (Ctrl_F3 AutoText New). Thus, if you type “in the following Lotka’s equation EQ“, click on F3, enter the following formula into the emptied math object:
            1= int_{0}^{infty} exp(-%rho x) f(x) p lsub{x}rsub{0} dx
you will get both a numbered equation and the reference to it:
in the following Lotka’s equation (1):

 1= \int_0^\infty \exp(-\rho x) f(x) _{x}p_0 dx \qquad\qquad(1)

How do I align my equations at the equality sign?

 

Currently Math does not have an alignment construction (track here). Instead you can use a matrix.

For example to typeset the equation Image:005a.gif

you should enter the following:

matrix{
   alignr x+y # {}={} # alignl 2 ##
   alignr x   # {}={} # alignl 2-y
}

The empty braces around = are necessary because = is a binary operator and thus needs an expression on each side.

You can reduce the spacing around = if you change the inter-column spacing of the matrix:

  1. Select Format-Spacing
  2. Click Category and choose Matrices in the pop-up menu.
  3. Now enter 0% under Column spacing and click OK.

Here is another example using a different solution:

To typeset the equation

Image:005b.gif

the trick is to use phantom as follows:

""3(x+4)-2(x-1)=3 x+12-(2 x-2) newline
""phantom {3(x+4)-2(x-1)}=3 x+12-2 x+2 newline
""phantom {3(x+4)-2(x-1)}=x+14

The effect of the empty quotation marks is to left justify the line – a line starting with text (even an empty text) will always be left justified.

You can replace “” with alignl.

 

I need a symbol that Math does not provide. What can I do?

 

If you have a font containing the symbol you can define a userdefined symbol.

Follow these steps:

  • Open the Symbols dialog (Tools-Catalog).
  • Click Edit.
  • Type a name for the new symbol in the combobox Symbol.
  • Type a new name or select an existing name in the combobox Symbol set. This is the symbol set you want your symbol to appear in.
  • Select the font in the listbox Font, for example the OpenSymbol (or StarSymbol) font.
  • Select the formatting (normal, bold, bold-italic or italic) in the listbox Typeface.
  • Click on the symbol in the table.
  • Click Add to add your symbol.

You can now use your symbol like any other symbol by selecting it in the Symbols dialog or entering the name of the symbol directly.

If you don’t have the symbol try looking in the OpenSymbol (or StarSymbol) font first; it contains about 25 additional symbols.

Another source of symbols is the so-called AMS fonts of the American Mathematical society.

You can download these in Postscript type 1 format from www.ams.org/tex/amsfonts.html.

If you use Microsoft Windows you might prefer to download the unofficial BaKoMa Truetype versions from www.ctan.org/tex-archive/fonts/cm/ps-type1/bakoma/.

Refer to the documentation distributed with the fonts for conditions of use.

How can I get a left bracket without a right bracket?

 

Since brackets have a grouping function they must always match and be correctly nested.

To get a single bracket without a matching bracket partner you have to escape the bracket with a backslash. For example to get a “[” without a corresponding “]” you should enter \[.

Thus to typeset the interval [3;8) you should enter \[3 “;” 8\). The quotation marks around the semicolon ensures that it is not typeset in italic. (You’re right, this has nothing to do with brackets!)

For scalable brackets it is essential that left and right matches, since the content that the brackets enclose must be well defined.

In this case you can use the invisible bracket none to get a single bracket. For example to get a scalable “[” without a corresponding “]” you should enter left [… right none.

Thus to typeset Image:001a.gifyou should enter x=left lbrace binom -5 3 right none.

 

How do I change the font of a subformula?

 

You can use one of the following font attributes:

  • italic a typesets in italic shape.
  • so does ital a.
  • nitalic a typesets in upright shape (abbreviation for not italic).
  • bold a typesets in boldface.
  • nbold a typesets with normal weight (abbreviation for not bold).

In addition Math uses a set of three generic font families, which are used as follows:

  • font serif a typesets in a serifed font, usually Times.
  • font sans a typesets in a sans serif font, usually Helvetica or Arial.
  • font fixed a typesets in a fixed-width font, usually Courier.

Font attributes can be combined as in this example:

Enter bold font sans A to get A.
You can apply font attributes to an entire subformula if you group it with { } or other brackets. Example:

Enter a b bold {c d} e to typeset abcde.
When several font attributes are applied, the innermost takes precedence as shown in this example:

Enter bold {a b nbold c d} to get abcd.

 

How do I change the spacing around my formula?

 

If you have embedded your formula in a Writer document you can do as follows.
If you want to change the spacing around a single formula follow these steps:

  1. Select the formula.
  2. Select Format-Frame.
  3. Select the tab page Wrap.
  4. In the group Spacing on this page you can adjust the spacing around the formula.

If you want to change the spacing around all formulas follow these steps:

  1. Open the stylist (Format-Styles and Formatting).
  2. Click the icon for frame styles (the third icon from the left).
  3. Right-click Formula in the styles list.
  4. Select Modify in the pop-up menu.
  5. Select the tab page Wrap.
  6. In the group Spacing on this page you can adjust the spacing around the formulas.

In addition Math inserts some spacing within the frame around your formula. Follow these steps to change this:

  1. Open your formula.
  2. Select Format-Spacing.
  3. Click Category and select Borders in the pop-up menu.
  4. You can now change the left and right margins of your formulas.
  5. If you want to set these margins as the default, press Default and confirm.

To change the Math margins in all existing formulas, use a macro. This can be done as follows:

  1. Select Tools-Macros-Organize Macros-OpenOffice.org Basic.
  2. Select My Macros-Standard-Module1 in the tree in the left pane. If Module1 does not exist in the Standard, create it using the New button.
  3. Select the Main macro in the right pane.
  4. Click the Edit button.
  5. Add the SetMathBorder code after the main Sub:
    
    
    Main sub
    End sub
    Sub SetMathBorder
    dim embeddedObjects, elementNames, i, element
    embeddedObjects = ThisComponent.getEmbeddedObjects()
    elementNames = embeddedObjects.getElementNames()
    for i=0 to UBOUND(elementNames)
    element = embeddedObjects.getByName(elementNames(i)).Model
    if (element.supportsService(“com.sun.star.formula.FormulaProperties”)) then
    element.TopMargin = 30 : rem sets to 0.30 mm
    element.BottomMargin = 30
    element.LeftMargin = 30
    element.RightMargin = 30
    endif
    next i
    ThisComponent.reformat()
    End Sub
  6. Switch to the window containing your document, and select Select Tools-Macros-Run Macro.
  7. Select My Macros-Standard-Module1 in the tree in the left pane (Library).
  8. Select SetMathBorder in the right pane (Macro name).
  9. Click the Run button. In my case, the screen is not updated correctly. An update can be triggered by minimizing and restoring, going to a different page in the document, or changing the zoom.

How do I change the color of a subformula?

 

You can use the color command as follows: color red ABC typesets ABC.
There are eight different colors to choose from:

  • white
  • black
  • cyan
  • magenta
  • red
  • blue
  • green
  • yellow.

You can apply a color to an entire subformula if you group it with { } or other brackets.

Example: Enter A B color green {C D} E to typeset ABCDE.
When several colors are applied, the innermost takes precedence as shown in this example:

Enter color blue {A B color yellow C D} to get ABCD.
You cannot select the background color; a Math formula is always transparent. This means that it inherits the background color from the document (for example a Writer document) it is contained in.

How do I change the size of a subformula?

 

There are five variants of the size-changing command:

  • size 20 a typesets a with the font size 20 pt.
  • size +5 a typesets a with current font size plus 5pt.
  • size -5 a typesets a with current font size minus 5pt.
  • size *1.5 a typesets a with current font size multiplied by 1.5.
  • size /1.5 a typesets a with current font size divided by 1.5.

You can change the font size of an entire subformula if you group it with { } or other brackets. Example:

Enter a b size *2 {c d} e to typeset abcde.
When several font size changes are applied, the innermost takes precedence as shown in this example:

Enter size *1.5 {a size 12 b size *1.5 c d} to get abcd.

The fractions are too large for inline formulas. How can I make them smaller?

 

Select Format-Text Mode.

This will change the formatting of your formula such that fractions and large operators (such as integral signs) are smaller. Furthermore the limits of large operators are placed to the right of the operator rather than above and below.

Example: Image:014a.gifbecomes Image:014b.gifin text mode.

This setting is reversed if you select Format-Text Mode again.

How do I typeset functions, such as max, det, that Math does not know about?

 

Math has a number of standard functions built-in, such as cos, log etc.

These functions are typeset in an upright shape according to typographical traditions.

To typeset other functions this way you can simply preceed the function with func.

Example:
To typeset max(a,b) you should enter func max(a,b).

Can I find all the constructions of Math in the selection window?

 

There are a few constructions without a corresponding template in the selection window:
Additional binary operators:

a oplus b
a ominus b
a otimes b
a odot b
a odivide b
a wideslash b
a widebslash b

In addition, if %symbol is a userdefined symbol you can use it as a unary or binary operator as follows:

  • uoper %symbol a uses %symbol as a unary operator.
  • a boper %symbol b uses %symbol as a binary operator.

Additional relations:

a << b
a >> b
a def b
a transl b
a transr b

Additional operators:

liminf f lim inf f
limsub f lim sub f

In addition, if %symbol is a userdefined symbol you can use it as an operator as follows: oper %symbol a uses %symbol as an operator.
Additional brackets:

lfloor a rfloor
lceil a rceil

Since brackets have a grouping function they must always match and be correctly nested. For scalable brackets it is essential that left and right matches, but the brackets can be freely combined. Example: You can enter left ( a right [ to typeset (a[.

You can read more about single brackets in How can I get a left bracket without a right bracket?
Additional symbols:

backepsilon

 

Additional functions:

In addition to the functions that Math knows, you can typeset other functions if you preceed the function name with func, such as func max.
Additional font changing commands:

  • nitalic a typesets in upright shape (abbreviation for not italic).
  • nbold a typesets with normal weight (abbreviation for not bold).
  • phantom a typesets a invisible.

How can I start the equation editor as an individual application rather than within Writer?

 

You can start the equation editor by running the command soffice -math. To know about all options that are accepted here, type soffice.exe -help.

 

I have written a document containing a formula. I gave it to a friend and when she opened it the user-defined symbols didn’t work. What’s the matter?

 

This is a known issue with Math. The user-defined symbols are part of the user settings and are not saved with the formula.

Furthermore the predefined user-defined symbols have localized names, for example %alpha might be %alfa in other languages, so that even these symbols can cause trouble. There is currently no solution to the problem, but it is being worked on.

When you export formulas to MathML the user-defined symbols using the StarMath font are correctly exported, other user-defined symbols are currently not.

I have inserted a formula in a HTML document and now I cannot edit it. Why not?

 

There is currently no standard for embedding mathematical formulas in HTML documents. For this reason OpenOffice.org saves formulas in HTML documents as bitmap pictures (in GIF format), which every browser can display.

This has the consequence that when you close and reopen your document the formulas are no longer editable, because they cannot be reconstructed from the bitmap.

This solution has a number of other problems, for example the formulas don’t look good when printed; in fact they look ugly.

A standard as to how MathML formulas can be embedded in HTML (or XHTML) pages is expected to appear in the future. Since OpenOffice.org can export HTML as well as MathML it would be reasonable to expect that it will support this standard when it arrives.

Another issue here, however, is that this also requires that browsers support MathML. The Mozilla project is working on this, see www.mozilla.org/projects/mathml/.

Why are my formulas jumping up and down on the textline?

 

What happens is, that your formulas always are inserted vertically centered with respect to the textline. If the formula is not symmetrical vertically the baselines of the text and the formula will not be aligned.

You can correct this by dragging the formula up or down using the mouse.