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I am currently in my last year at school, but am pretty sure that I will taking Maths in college next year. I have cerebral palsy and currently relay on my teaching assistants to scribe for me because of all the notations etc. Whilst I know it is possible to do equations and things on MS Word it is rather time consuming and there are some limitations, especially now that I am starting an FSMQ course.

Having a scribe is absolutely fine is lessons, but when it comes to the exams - the exam boards are so strict that I literally have to describe every notation, even if the scribe knows what I mean. So I am looking for some software that will, essentially, do what my scribe is doing now. I realise that nothing will probably be as fast as a scribe, but even if just I use it in the exam, it would be much easier for me than explaining every notation.

I can type faster than I can use the mouse, so if possible, I'd like the software to be as keyboard based as possible. Any solutions, suggestions, or advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance

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Andy, do you know about LaTeX? You don't seem to use it in your other questions. It is the standard way that mathematicians write mathematics and is the markup language used on this site. You don't need to use a mouse at all. It is infinitely superior to MS Word, but a little harder to learn. See – m_t_ Sep 29 '12 at 12:26
I had heard about LaTex but I don't know much about it and I haven't really looked at it, but I will have a look in a minute – Andy Sep 29 '12 at 13:23
Thanks for that link. LaTeX does sound like it will do job for me, and I'm sure I'll be able to learn it in time. Do you know of any good software I could use at school, that preferably generates a live output like on here? – Andy Sep 29 '12 at 13:49
hmm, I'm not so sure about windows software. It used to be that the easiest way to set up latex on windows was to install MiKTeX which includes a text editor called texworks, but that doesn't give live output. Maybe something like LyX? You'll probably find that after you've used latex a bit, not having it render as you type won't be a problem. – m_t_ Sep 29 '12 at 14:00
I've had a quick look at LyX but it looks a bit heavy and cumbersome considering that TexWorks does basically the same thing, from what I can see. You're probably right about not needing the live rendering once I get more confident anyway. Thanks for your help – Andy Sep 29 '12 at 15:26
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Have you considered learning LaTex ? It's free, there is lots of online support, it's the standard for producing journal-quality mathematical output, and if you intend studying maths at college/university then it definitely be useful for your assignments and homework too. There is a bit of a learning curve, but if you use it often you will be able to master it quite quickly and you don't need to use a mouse.

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As I said to mt, I have only heard about LaTex and don't really know much about it. To be honest I just thought it was something from StackExchange and didn't really it was a standard as such. Are there any decent programs for Windows 7 that you know of and do you have any recommendations as to where I can start? – Andy Sep 29 '12 at 13:27
I use TexWorks on Windows 7. There is series of videos here which will help you get started: – Robert Long Sep 29 '12 at 13:45
Thanks for the link to that YouTube playlist - it looks really helpful. TexWork looks really good but I'd have liked it better if you could see a live output like on here rather than running the script each time. I'm probably being a bit picky though – Andy Sep 29 '12 at 13:59
I hear you. The problem is that when creating an output file like pdf, the LaTeX code is compiled, and on-the-fly display is not really in keeping with that. Stackexchange is using mathjax which has support for LaTeX. Personally, if I just want to write something short, I often use stackexchange to check it. I have never tried, but I suspect you could install mathjax on your own PC and get instant on-the-fly display. – Robert Long Sep 29 '12 at 14:16
Good Luck ! BTW, I found this concise wiki useful: and there is also a dedicated stackexchange: – Robert Long Sep 30 '12 at 8:03

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