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September 17, 2009

Google Docs Has an Equation Editor

Google Docs added the equation editor previously available in Knol. It's a basic LaTeX editor that's not very easy to use if you aren't familiar with LaTeX or programming.

Open a Google Docs document, click on "Insert" and select "Equation" from the menu. You can type LaTeX code or use the drop-downs to select Greek letters, fractions, integrals, functions, summations and other operators.


Google converts the code to an image using an undocumented feature of the Google Chart API. If you export the document as a Microsoft Word file or in a different format, Google Docs will only include the corresponding images.

If you know a better online LaTeX editor, tell us about it in a comment.

{ Thanks, Bogdan. }

42 comments:

  1. Any news on when the new Docs user interface is comming?

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  2. Skyhard, please stop asking the same question over and over again. Your impatience is counterproductive. We've been waiting for GDrive since 2006, so delaying the launch a week or even a month shouldn't mean too much.

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  3. I am just opening a new business and I have to decide whether to use a microsoft product or use a Google alternative. But the Docs interface in its current form is not acceptable, mostly because the folder sharing is not available. I don't have much time to wait and I have to make a decesion soon. Well anyway, sorry for being impatience.

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  4. There's another LaTeX editor at:
    http://www.codecogs.com/components/equationeditor/equationeditor.php
    which runs on the same basis: input LaTeX and outputs an image[gif]
    This editor has more options and allows you to use different colours or fonts.

    Before Google introducing the Equation Editor in Google Docs, I had to copy the URL of the image generated by codecogs.com and then insert it as an image in the document/spreadsheet/presentation. Which is quite tedious plus whenever you had edit the equation you had no choice than re-writing it again...

    Small step for Google, huge leap for students, researchers, mathematicians, etc... :)

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  5. @skyhard:

    I don't work for Google, so I can't tell you the exact date when folder sharing is going to be available, but it shouldn't take long. Folder sharing is already a feature of the Google Docs API and I've already shared some folders using a small program. Someone even released a web app for sharing folders.

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  6. There's a LaTeX editor at the maths forum here. At last Google have an equation editor. I wonder if they will make it more user friendly in the future, for non LaTeX savy people.

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  7. google wave with the latexy robot makes a good online (collaborative) latex editor

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  8. I am a university lab instructor using Google Docs, I've been waiting so long for this feature!! Time to celebrate!!

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  9. I think Zoho's implementation is much better.

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  10. Hi,

    I dig the site http://mathtran.org.

    I also made a cool latex bookmarklet with jquery.

    Save this code in your bookmarks bar and use it whenever you want to type and insert an equation image in your blog.

    javascript:w=window.open('http://point.pt/~guillaume/latex/latexiframe.html','latexbox','width=570,height=300');w.focus();

    Tell how me you liked it in http://webtopmania.blogspot.com

    Cheers,
    Guillaume Riflet

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  11. I just can write equations in documents, not in presentations or forms. Am I doing something wrong?
    Cheers
    Joseph

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  12. MathType can be used as an easier-to-use, point-and-click math editor to produce the TeX code needed.

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  13. Really hoping they implement this for Blogger. At the moment I'm using Codecogs for my blog, but their site dies every so often.

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  14. Wot, no MathML? I thought Google liked web standards.

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  15. You can only type short equations in the Google editor. Any medium length equation and they say it is "Too Long". It is very frustrating. I hope they remedy the situation as soon as possible. Also, it will be excellent if they add a function to label equation on the right margin, with the equation placed in the middle of the page. It should be easy, and it will be of benefit to many people.

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  16. There are a few issues I am having with this equation editor. Mainly if I try to use any special characters within the equation (ie. a degrees symbol) it shows up as question marks.

    It would be nice if google made a nice interface symilar to the iPhone app pi squared with keybord shortcuts for faster creation of equations. This sort of I interface is possible with CSS/JavaScript/XHTML or it might be easier to use a canvis.

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  17. jsMath, www.math.union.edu/~dpvc/jsMath/

    seems to be a more elegant solution?

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  18. I have been using Tex the World in my google docs for months now. Great to see that google now have the real thing.

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  19. We need MathML, which we can do if we can implement asciimathml or equiv!

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  20. Further to Jamie's post regarding the Mathiverse maths and physics forum (basically an SMF forum), I developed the equation editor plugin for SMF forums using an open source editor called DragMath - specifically for my website YourMathsTutor. This is a Java-based equation editor originally designed by research student Alex Billingsley for Chris Sangwin's Maxima-based computer aided assessment system called STACK - basically a Moodle plugin. It's very good but it obviously depends on Java.

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  21. Zoho Writer's equation editor is certainly more complete

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  22. Hi,
    It seems like the Representation does not support this equation editor. Is there any difficulties for it lunch on google representation? As I know MS office 2007 supports latex on word but not in powerpoint(although there are some "not easy" ways to make equations in it). If this feature would be lunched on representation soon, I think it a great opportunity to make users join google docs.

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  23. @apsed.

    I used PMwiki to integrate JsMath into my wiki, and have been using it for about the last year. You can see some different examples of the code being used here: http://www.wikiengineer.com/PmWiki/EquationSyntax

    I think it's great. I rarely run into any issues, but i do think i'll try to integrate a graphical editor onto the site when more people start using it (right now the few authors have just learned the code). And it's easy to see the code since if you just doubleclick on an equation it pops up, which is great for copying examples.

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  24. MathMagic v6.8 for Mac OS X offers "Copy as Google Docs equation" and "Copy as Zoho Writer equation". Equation from Google Docs window can be directly dragged into MathMagic window to re-edit it.
    It looks the current Google Docs equation editor offers the maximum of about 200 characters for the TeX expression. I guess this is because each Google Docs equation can be linked by a URL with the TeX expression as a parameter in the URL path so it can not allow a very long expression per an equation.
    Plain TeX would be better than lengthy LaTeX to reduce the size of expressions in some cases.

    I guess Google may offer some resolution to increase the size in the future.

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  25. The TeX processor is very capable and the typesetting of the equation is very TeX-like (could it be TeX itself?). On the downside, there is a severe limitation in the size of the equations. Even more severe, the typeset equations only exist as low resolution bitmap graphics. Even if you export as PDF.

    The real problem with GoogleDocs is that every feature is somewhat brain damaged on the excuse that it is an online application. A PDF full of bitmaps is unacceptable in every other word processor, but good enough for Google?

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  26. What about putting the equation editor in presentations too?

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  27. http://www.scribtex.com/pages/index
    Is a good online editor

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  28. I miss a way to change the foreground/background of an equation (though it can be done by "Edit HTML", it will revert back to black/white every edit)

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  29. Excellent from an academic standpoint! I almost jumped out of my seat, I think I can write a whole research paper with Google Docs! It was such a hassle with the advisor asking for documents in word, whereas I preferred writing in latex because of all the equations. I noticed, however that the latex presentation does not appear capable in Google Presentation? If I am wrong, please let me know how to do this maneuver.

    In addition, the translation works great for when I have to go abroad (Latin America)

    Thank you Google.
    Can't wait to see what you have for us in the phone business! (VOIP and a low cost international phone system?)

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  30. I'd like to answer to: "If you know a better online LaTeX editor, tell us about it in a comment"

    Maybe:
    1st choice: http://www.verbosus.com (HTTPS, syntax highlighting, etc.)
    2nd choice: http://www.scribtex.com

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  31. I'm using a pre-2007 version of the equation editor. I want to do some financial ratio formulas like current assets/current liabilities. When I do this with equation editor, "liabilities' appear as 'liabilitie s'. The letter s at the end separate. I'll appreciate getting solution on this -- any trick on how to do my financial ratios without splitting words like liabilities?

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  32. Dear Google,


    Would you please, please, please, increase the resolution of the google-equations made in google docs? Now the print quality is too low and I have to use mathtype to get a decent quality.



    Thank you in avance

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  33. Where the fuck is this editor now???!!!

    What have you done to it, bastards???

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  34. I woule like to share Tex2Img, which is a slick free online Latex equation editor.
    http://www.sciweavers.org/free-online-latex-equation-editor

    You can change the equation background color, text color, transparency, font size, and output image format (PNG, GIF, JPG, TIF, BMP, PNM, EPS, FIG, PS).

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  35. Yes, what happened to the LateX in google equation editor?
    This was the one feature that made me use google docs.

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  36. You can type LaTeX code or use the drop-downs to select Greek letters, fractions, integrals, functions, summations and other operators.

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  37. If no one has mentioned it yet, check out scribtex

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  38. You cannot acess anymore latex source code for your equation, and when the equations are transformed into the new version of google doc, they look horrible, something is missing, and you cannot even click right on the symbol you are to edit, horrible horrible horrible!!!

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  39. It's quite complicated to enter LaTeX. If you have an Android Phone however, you could download https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.MarjupiGames.EquationNotepad (Equation Notepad) which you just have to write your equations in normally and then it can convert them to LaTeX if needs be.

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  40. So what's the downside of preparing a document in ANY competent WYSIWYG word processor (like Word), including equations, etc., saving it as a .jpg and inserting the result in a gmail? At least until the doctor comes...

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