Math in Office

User, developer, and accessibility info on math editing/display in Microsoft Office and Windows. New features and specifications of the RichEdit editor. Getting OfficeMath onto web apps

RichEdit Place Holder
RichEdit Place Holder
Sometimes you need a text box that cues the user to type something in, such as, “Start a conversation”. As soon as the user types something, the cue text vanishes, and the user sees what the user typed. If the user deletes all the text, the cue text reappears. Such a text box is called a place-holder control. The Microsoft 365 RichEdit has...
LineServices
LineServices
One of the key technologies behind the high-quality display of mathematical text in OfficeMath applications like Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote is a special component called LineServices along with its sibling Page/TableServices (PTS). In addition to handling math display, various versions of LineServices are responsible for line layout in Word...
Cascadia Code Font
Cascadia Code Font
For many years, I’ve wanted to use real mathematical notation in computer programs for code that is mathematical in nature. The document UnicodeMath discusses this in some detail in Section 6. Using UnicodeMath in Programming Languages. Over the years, some advances beyond ASCII (invented in the 1960’s!) have been made. For example, you ...
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RichEdit Font Binding
RichEdit Font Binding
Suppose a user pastes some plain text into a document. In principle, the text can contain any Unicode character. That includes virtually all characters used in the current languages of the world along with many ancient scripts and a plethora of symbols, mathematical and otherwise, that don’t belong to any language. The question arises as to ...
Switching from LaTeX to UnicodeMath Input Mode
Switching from LaTeX to UnicodeMath Input Mode
Here’s a bit of a puzzle. When the user enters “a/b” in LaTeX mode and formats it with the Enter key, the ‘/’ is marked as “nobuildup”. If the user then switches to UnicodeMath input mode and enters a space after the linear fraction containing the ‘/’, the fraction won’t build up, by design. If you delete the / and reenter ...
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RichEdit HTML Support
RichEdit HTML Support
RichEdit has had limited HTML support for many years, but it wasn’t general enough to document publicly. A recent RichEdit client (to be described in a future post) needs better support, so we have been improving it. For example, we have added HTML copy/paste, images, and math (of course!) to the Microsoft Office riched20.dll. Ideally ...
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Cool Windows Math Hot Key
Cool Windows Math Hot Key
The Windows key is used in a bunch of useful hot keys. Probably my favorite is Windows+Shift+s, which lets you copy any rectangular area on your screen(s) to the clipboard. I use this hot key a lot in describing application UI and other objects on the screen such as those in this post. I also use Windows+x y to see system info such as the name...
Math Accessibility Trees
Math Accessibility Trees
This post discusses aspects of making mathematical equations accessible to blind people. Equations that are simple typographically, such as 𝐸 = 𝑚𝑐², are accessible with the use of standard left and right arrow key navigation and with each variable and two-dimensional construct being spoken or felt when the insertion point is moved to...
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Some UnicodeMath Enhancements
Some UnicodeMath Enhancements
In the years since UnicodeMath 3.1 was published, some improvements have been made. The converter that converts UnicodeMath to OfficeMath also converts LaTeX and Nemeth math braille to OfficeMath. The converter needs ways to provide OfficeMath math-object arguments even when these arguments are not marked as such in the math format. The ...