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Moving Math Teachers From Microsoft Equation Editor / MathType to Google Docs

The problem: 

Handling Equations in documents.



How It Is Done:

The Word Way:
1. Teachers have used MathType to create the equations inside of Word
2. Teachers have used the Microsoft Equation editor inside of Word 2007 and above.
Note: I will have to admit that both of these methods are very well developed and do make working with math documents simple.

The Google Way:
1. Google Docs does have it's own equation editor, but I am told that it really is not up to par.  I am not a math wiz so I cannot really say how good it is or not.   I have learned that the use of it is a little clunky compared to the Word Equation editor.   One trick that I have learned was that the right arrow is your friend.  So if you want to write out X to the power of 2, then you create an equation, type x, then choose power from the Docs equation editor, then hit the right arrow on the keyboard to get the cursor to the correct place.





2. Web-based equation editors.   There are quite a few to choose from but many math teachers seem to recommend the Durham Equation Editor.   I have been told that the Durham Equation Editor is a good editor but it is not integrated into Google Docs, but rather creates an image that can be inserted.  This is good and bad.   The bad is that it cannot be edited after it was inserted, the good is that being an image it can be used on websites, slides, docs, blogs, and any place that accepts images.


Converting Old Documents

This is actually where the largest challenge for me lied.   I had to convert all the old Microsoft Documents that had equations into a Google format.   I did learn a few things along the way and below were my outcomes from the tests that I did.
  1. Microsoft Equation Editor equations to Google docs.
    1. These will convert perfectly into Google Docs.  The converted equations will even be editable.
    2. If you upload the Word file and just view without converting the equations will not appear in the preview.  They are there when you convert but the initial reaction of not seeing them can be quite off-putting.
  2. MathType equations to Google docs
    1. These will show up as images when converted.   This is ok, but it means they cannot be changed
    2. If you preview the Word file in Google Drive the equations show up.
  3. MathType => MS Equation Editor => Google Docs.
    1. Following this will allow all the equations to be editable in Google Docs.
    2. This is possible using a non-free program called GrindEQ ($38 for a single license).  As much as I like free, I think I will be spending the money on GrindEQ to do my initial batch conversion for my Math teachers, then moving forward they can use the Google or Durham equation editor.




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I am still learning about using Google Docs for math classes.  I will update this post if I find some other information.  Fell free to also comment with your own experiences.