Murray Sargent

Principal Software Engineer, CXE (Office Shared)

Yale BS, MS, PhD in theoretical physics. Worked 22 years in laser theory & applications first at Bell Labs and then Professor of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona. Worked on technical word processing, writing the first math display program (1969) and the technical word processor PS (1980s). Developed the SST debugger we used to get Windows 2.0 running in protected mode thereby eliminating the 640KB DOS barrier (1988). Have more than 100 refereed publications, 3 laser-physics books, 4 PC books, 163 posts on Math in Office blog. Joined Microsoft Research in 1992. Since 1994 have been in Microsoft Office working mostly on RichEdit and OfficeMath. Member of Unicode Technical Committee (1994—) and MathML Working Group (1999—).

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RichEdit Autoformatting

RichEdit and Word have had the most elaborate autoformatting ever since Office 2007, namely math formula auto-buildup. A UnicodeMath expression builds up into OfficeMath as soon as it is unambiguous. Word and other programs have also had less ambitious autoformatting since late in the last century. Such functionality includes auto conversion ...

Rounded Rectangles and Ellipses

In Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and RichEdit, you can enclose text in a rectangle by putting the text into a math “boxed formula” object. To try this out, type alt+= to enter a math zone and then \rect(a+b)<space>. This displays as as The “\rect(a+b)” is the UnicodeMath representation of this boxed formula. In MathML, the boxed ...

OfficeMath

Microsoft Word 2007 and RichEdit 6.0 introduced the native Office math facility. PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote followed suit in 2010, and Mac Word followed in 2011. But ironically the native math facility didn’t have a recognizable name. “Microsoft Equation Editor” (MEE) seemed natural, but that's the name of the Design Science math ...
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Two Phonetic Scripts: Vietnamese and Korean

A few years ago, I visited two very interesting countries, Vietnam and South Korea. Being actively involved in writing software (mostly RichEdit) for editing the world’s scripts, I was naturally fascinated to see Vietnamese and Korean text displayed in profusion. The Vietnamese and Korean scripts were designed with a common purpose in mind: ...

Windows 11 Notepad

The new Windows 11 Notepad uses RichEdit and runs on up-to-date Windows 11 installations. In addition to a Windows 11 look with rounded corners and a dark-theme option, the new Notepad includes several standard RichEdit editing enhancements, such as Alt+x for entering Unicode characters, Ctrl+} for toggling between matching brackets/...

Function to get Unicode Fractions

Do you know that Unicode includes the fraction characters ↉ ½ ⅓ ¼ ⅕ ⅙ ⅐ ⅛ ⅑ ⅒ ⅔ ⅖ ¾ ⅗ ⅜ ⅘ ⅚ ⅞? Well thanks to existing character standards, ½ ⅓ ¼ ⅕ ⅙ ⅛ ⅔ ⅖ ¾ ⅗ ⅜ ⅘ ⅚ ⅞ were added in Unicode 1.1 in 1993, and ↉ ⅐ ⅑ ⅒ were added in Unicode 5.2 in 2009. Programs like Microsoft Word ...

UnicodeMath Color

In slide presentations and elsewhere, it can be handy to have math text color and math background color. In fact, Presentation MathML has the attributes “mathcolor” and “mathbackground”. This post describes the operators Noah Doersing added to his UnicodeMathML implementation to enter text and background color using UnicodeMath. I ...

RichEdit Stories

Word and RichEdit have stories, but you won’t find their story’s definition in a dictionary. Their story is an object that stores rich text in computer memory. Rich text consists of Unicode plain text, associated character and paragraph formatting, and embedded objects such as images. Such a story can contain the narrative of a traditional...
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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

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...