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I'm doing my master's thesis and trying to find a good font for math symbols and formulas...

I would like to use the following font style:

enter image description here

Can anyone recognize this? How to get X the way it is in this formula etc. in Word 2007? =)


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There's an equation editor in there. –  hjpotter92 Jan 24 '13 at 12:49
Okay so I just use it to get X or Y with that style? =) –  jjepsuomi Jan 24 '13 at 12:50
The time you are spending here in trying to learn these things about Word 2007 it is better to be applied in learning Latex. –  Tomás Jan 24 '13 at 14:59
Well, "user1565754" doesn't say what his area of study is. Unless it is math, computer science, or maybe physics, then it could be that Word is required to be used. Strange but true! –  GEdgar Jan 24 '13 at 17:26

4 Answers 4

up vote 19 down vote accepted

I would highly recommend using something other than Word 2007 for your thesis. You seem to know how to use $\LaTeX$, as you used it to create your post, so why not write your thesis in it? There are a number of guides on the internet for creating documents in $\LaTeX$, one frequently recommended one is this, from the Art of Problem Solving. Although if you are using Word 2007, there is a formula editor.

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Hey :) No I didn't use LATEX, that is a screenshot =) but thank you anyway –  jjepsuomi Jan 24 '13 at 12:54
@user1565754 my apologies. But it's not particularly complicated to learn, and is a very useful skill for many things, not just mathematical papers. –  Sam DeHority Jan 24 '13 at 12:55
No problems =) Thank you! I will check that out =) –  jjepsuomi Jan 24 '13 at 12:57
@user1565754 You should definitely go for LaTeX. However, should you happen to lack the time to really learn it, you could use e.g. the LaTeX Equation Editor which allows you to create formulas as .emf files to import in word. That's still easier than using Word's formula editor (and also works if you are forced to use ... PowerPoint (shiver)) –  Tobias Kienzler Jan 24 '13 at 15:47
May I recommend beamer if you need to give a presentation. If anyone tries to force you to use powerpoint or word... flee. –  Alexander Gruber Jan 24 '13 at 17:17

From the MS Office documentation:

Equations are edited directly from within Word. To do this, click the Insert tab then click the Equation button.

Anyways, the font is Cambria Math. It comes prebundled with Microsoft Office 2003 and above.

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The formula looks pretty much as if it was produced by (La)$\TeX$, the same typesetting system that is used for fomulas on this site (via MathJax); for comparison here is the same formula: $$ \mu_{xt}=E(x_t)=\int_{-\infty}^\infty xf_t(x)dx $$ If you want to see the sources for this, right-click on the formula and choose "Show Math As -> TeX Commands". You can also play with the Math Settings for instance to zoom in on the formula.

If you like this style and if there is any amount of math in your thesis (and even if there isn't), I would suggest dumping Word and adopting LaTeX. The time needed to learn it is probably less than what is needed to get proficient with an equation editor, and there are numerous other advantages of using a document compilation system rather than a WYSIWYG editor.

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People who already know LaTeX are usually fond of it. People who don't know it typically have a hard time getting started, and they have an even harder time if they want to do any document formatting that's a bit out of the ordinary. In my opinion, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the Equation Editor in MS Word, but I expect most people on this site are LaTeX veterans, and they will disagree with me. I have used both packages fairly extensively, and I'm confident that either of them would do a nice job of your thesis.

The specific font (family) shown in your image is called Computer Modern. It's the font traditionally used with TeX and LaTeX systems. The standard font used by the MS Word equation editor is called Cambria Math. If you want to get the Computer Modern look in MS Word, you have to use a font called Latin Modern. If you want the Cambria Math look in LaTeX, you have to use the "fontspec" package or something equivalent. Here is what your formula looks like with the Cambria font in MS Word:

enter image description here

If you are considering a career as an academic, and you'll be publishing a lot of papers containing mathematics, then learning LaTeX is definitely worthwhile. Outside that community, MS Word is the standard, so learning to use that competently would be more valuable, in my view.

You might find that your university has some sort of thesis template that they will force you to use. So, you may not have a choice in this matter.

I expect this post will generate some heat. People get pretty passionate about (La)TeX, for some reason.

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I'm not going to give you flack, you actually answered the question. I find it odd that the one that didn't answer the question got accepted. –  ghoppe Jan 24 '13 at 19:38
Even more odd -- a reply that didn't really answer the question got a lot of up-votes. Typical of the irrational behaviour that muddies the Tex-vs-Office debate. I don't mind the flack, especially if it comes from people who actually have some expertise with Word or Powerpoint. –  bubba Jan 25 '13 at 1:49
Thank you for your answer! Sorry I accepted the answer before, he just gave the answer faster and I decided to switch to LaTex =) but thank you anyway! I would give points to everybody if I could, but I have to pick only one :( –  jjepsuomi Mar 15 '13 at 10:50

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