# Apache OpenOffice Math FAQ

**Note**: A useful first resource is the

**OpenOffice Math Syntax Reference**.

This list is ordered by popularity. The most popular FAQs are at the top. But also have a look at the bottom to find any new entries.

Below the list you can find some more FAQs that have special characters in the title.

- Is Math compatible with the equation editor of Microsoft Word?
- Where can I get a summary of all the math formula syntax?
- How do I change the fonts used in my formula?
- How do I number my equations?
- How do I align my equations at the equality sign?
- I need a symbol that Math does not provide. What can I do?
- How can I get a left bracket without a right bracket?
- How do I change the font of a subformula?
- How do I change the spacing around my formula?
- How do I change the color of a subformula?
- How do I change the size of a subformula?
- The fractions are too large for inline formulas. How can I make them smaller?
- How do I typeset functions, such as max, det, that Math does not know about?
- Can I find all the constructions of Math in the selection window?
- How can I start the equation editor as an individual application rather than within Writer?
- I have written a document containing a formula. I gave it to a friend and when she opened it the user-defined symbols didn't work. What's the matter?
- I have inserted a formula in a HTML document and now I cannot edit it. Why not?
- Why are my formulas jumping up and down on the textline?

## Contents

- 1 I enter
**x^***to typeset x^{*}, but get an error message. Why? - 2 When I enter one of the symbols
**#, & ,|,^**or**_**I get an unexpected result or an error message. How can I use these symbols? - 3 When I enter
**3xy**the number 3 comes out in italics. Is this a bug? - 4 I want to use a binary operator (like
**union**or**otimes**) as a large operator (like**int**or**sum**). How can I do that?

## I enter **x^*** to typeset x^{*}, but get an error message. Why?

The problem is that** * **is a binary operator, that is
there has to be an expression on both sides of the symbol.

You either have to enter the expression** x^{{}*{}} **to avoid the
error message, or you could type ** x^"*"** as well, where the quotes
will interprete the asterisk not as a binary operator but as a "standalone" symbol.

If you use this construction a lot you might want to define the
symbol as a userdefined symbol. See I need a symbol that Math does not provide. What can I do?.
If you have defined the * as a userdefined symbol, say** %ast**,
you can enter** x^%ast**.

This answer applies to a lot of other symbols as well. Some operators, such as +, are unary, that is there only has to be an expression to the right of the symbol. To typeset x^{+} you can enter** x^{+{}}<** or, of course, **x^"+"**.

## When I enter one of the symbols **#, & ,|,^** or **_** I get an unexpected result or an error message. How can I use these symbols?

These symbols all have a special meaning in *Math*:

- The symbol
**#**is used in stacks and matrices. - The symbols
**&**and**|**are used for logical and and logical or. - The symbols
**^**and**_**are used for

subscripts and superscripts.

To use them in your formula you can put them in quotation marks,
which means that you insert them as text.

If you want to use the symbol "|" you should consider whether the construction you need is one of the the following:

**a divides b**is used to typeset a| b.**abs a**is used to typeset |a|.

## When I enter** 3xy **the number 3 comes out in italics. Is this a bug?

Not really. What happens here is, that Math uses multi-letter variables, which are common in some disciplines, like economics. The rule is that a variable consists of a sequence of letters, numbers and dots (the first character can not be a dot).

So when you enter 3xy this is considered a variable - and variables are typeset in italics. The only odd thing here is, that a variable can start with a number.

The correct way to enter the expression if you mean 3 times x
times y is** 3 x y **(with spaces between the characters).

## I want to use a binary operator (like **union** or **otimes**) as a large operator (like **int** or **sum**). How can I do that?

You have to define the symbol you want to use as a user-defined
symbol first. See <A HREF="012.html">FAQ #012</A> for instructions;
most of the symbols used by *Math* are part of the StarMath
font.

Let's say you have defined the union symbol as the user-defined
symbol **%union**. You can then enter for example

oper%union from i in I A_i

in order to typeset the formula

*Note*: In build 633 this doesn't work if there is a space before
**%union** (this is a bug in the parser).

Any user-defined symbol can be used as a large operator if it is
preceded with** oper **as in the example.