Adding Math Equations in Pages

You can now use LaTeX and MathML to add math equations to your Pages documents. This creates a separate element that exists inside of the flow of text. You can copy and paste equations from other math apps, or type the code to create the equations on your own. This also works in Numbers and Keynote.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Adding Math Equations in Pages.

A cool new function that's in Pages 6.1 on the Mac is the ability to insert mathematical equations. You can do this using the Insert Equation Function. When you do that this little dialogue box that comes up here, Edit Equation, and it tells you you can use two different formats. One is called LaTeX and the other MathML. Now they both very different from each other but they do have the similarity in that you can type normal text that then is translated into something that looks like an equation.

For instance, using LaTeX we can use powers. So for instance if you wanted to say like nine squared you could type 9 and then a caret symbol which on American keyboards is Shift 6, and then 2. Then I hit Insert but even before I do so I can see the representation of the function right there. I hit Insert and I get this here. This special little box that flows in with the text. If I double click it I can edit it again. So it's not just normal characters there. It's a special type of element.

Now you can do lots of different things. For instance instead of a caret I can do underscore which is Shift and then dash on American keyboards and you can see if puts the number down a little bit. I can also do other things like for instance the square root function is backslash sqrt and then a left bracket which is Shift and the left curly bracket on American keyboards and then you can put a number and then the right curly bracket there and you get square root 9.

Also you can do fractions. So you can do backslash frac and then you have to do two numbers in curly brackets, let's say 7 and 28. Now I get a fraction there. It's not as easy as just the little 1/2 or 1/3 that you get with some fonts. This is actually any kind of fraction you want. So I can hit Update here and you can see it's a special character here with this fraction. You can combine this for all sorts of things. So I could put instead of 28 for instance I can do backslash square root and then curly bracket 28 in there. You can see it's 7 over square root of 28. So there's a lot of different things that you can do with LaTeX. It is spelled LaTeX and it's got a capital T and a capital X. You can search the internet. There's tons of tutorials for using this because this has been used by lots of different software for decades to type mathematical equations. So if you want to learn more about it just do some tutorials that are online that go into detail. There's references. Even entire books that are written about how to use this type of thing to do mathematical equations.

If you're using some software that generates mathematical equations quite often you can export an equation in LaTeX format and then you can paste it here to include it in Pages.

Likewise, MathML is the same kind of thing except it's a little more complex. So let's take a look at the Wikipedia pages for both of these. Here's LaTeX and you've got some examples here how LaTeX looks. You can see some complex examples there. You've got some history of it.
MathML is far harder to actually type out. It looks like html but it's special for math. So it's pretty complex. It's not the sort of thing that you would normally type on your own. Normally you would use a special app that generates equations or maybe you find an equation somewhere and they would include a link to a MathML version of it. Then you would copy and paste. So, for instance, here in Wikipedia there's an example. I'm going to select that and copy it, go over to Pages again, and paste it in there. You can see it interprets it perfectly. There's that equation just as it was represented on Wikipedia.

So you have those two different options for typing complex mathematical equations and then using them in Pages. You can also do this in Numbers and Keynote as well. They work just like regular things. I can copy and paste the equation there. You can see I've got it in a different block. I can center it. All sorts of things. I can't really style it in anyway because if I change the font you can see it's not going to do anything. It's relying on the fact that it's a good font for representing some of the math stuff here. But you can change things like the size for instance if you want. So you can play around with that. It's a great addition for anybody that needs to do work that includes math equations in the Pages documents.

Comments: 7 Responses to “Adding Math Equations in Pages”

    Mr. Luigi
    2 years ago

    Hi Gary, There is an iOS app called MathPad that allows you to handwrite just about any combination of math symbols you can think of. It then renders it as a professional looking image AND generates the LaTeX and MathML notation. Seems like that would be a perfect companion to this new functionality in Pages.

    MyScript MathPad – Handwriting LaTeX generator by MyScript

    2 years ago

    Luigi: That developer is one I have recommended before. But that is an iOS app. Any recommendations for a Mac App that does LaTeX or MathML?

    2 years ago

    Gary, you said that this will work in Keynote, but in my Keynote 6.6.2 under Insert, “MathType Equation” is grayed out. Any idea? Thanks

    2 years ago

    Ted: You are right. It doesn’t seem to work in Keynote. In fact, the “MathType Equation” is something different. I is a pre-existing function that requires that specific app.
    However — I found that if you create am Equation in Pages, copy it, and paste it into Keynote it will work! But it is just a static element, you can’t edit it.

    Mr. Luigi
    2 years ago

    Hi Gary, Once MathPad converts to LaTex or MathML you can tap on export where you get many options. One option is “Import with Pages.” Since Pages on iOS is synced to Pages on Mac, you can easily migrate your code from iDevice to Macs this way. However, I use the clipboard manager “CloudClip.” Tap on export. Tap on Copy. B/c CloudClip syncs the clipboards on my iDevices and my Macs, my code is now available for pasting on my Mac into Pages. Granted, you need an iDevice and Mac to do this.

    2 years ago

    Luigi: My guess is that older functionality is just giving you a high-end image of the formula, not an editable version like the new function does.

    Mr. Luigi
    2 years ago

    Hi Gary, I just gave things a test run. I created some very robust expressions using MathPad. That took seconds b/c I could use my finger to draw things. I then exported the LaTeX code to the clipboard (on CloudClip). B/c that syncs to my Mac, I could easily copy and paste the LaTeX code into a Pages document on my Mac. The resulting image is editable! Although this requires a partner iDevice, IMO it’s well worth it as drawing the expressions is so fast and easy. I teach physics so this is HUGE!

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