I'm writing a math paper with Docs and I want to insert simple equations. Everything is fine and nice-looking until I began to use the root symbol and fractions.

Regarding the root symbol, when I increase my font size, the top part of the symbol drops slightly below the "checkmark" shape on the left side of the symbol.

Regarding the fractions, variable sizes are not constant throughout the equation depending if they're in a fraction or not. I have to constantly split the fraction-containing equation and resize the variables manually.

I've tried using plugins. All the ones I've tried simply turn my formatted equation into images on the document, which is even more frustrating.

What I want to know is: is it possible to make the equations and symbols look nicer? Or are they just "like that"?

1 Answer 1


Yes, the equations feature in Google Docs is half-baked. You have two ways to address this:

Firstly, leave feedback for the developers so that they know that people don't like how this feature works. You can do that by clicking on the ? icon on the top right of drive.google.com, then clicking "Send feedback". Alternatively, in the mobile app, tap the menu, then tap "Help and feedback", then "Send feedback". Leave a description of how the equations do not work properly for you.

Secondly, I recommend that you learn LaTeX, which is a markup language for typesetting documents. It is specifically designed for including equations in a document, and the output from LaTeX documents is very neat, in most cases perfect. LaTeX is the industry standard word processor for mathematicians, scientists, statisticians and other professionals across the world—it is very widely used. You should learn it by reading Daly & Kopka's Guide to LaTeX, the packages documentation, and tex.stackexchange.com.

You can run a LaTeX editor on your computer and sync the files with Google Drive using a sync client (such as Backup and Sync or InSync) in order to make sharing them easy, and for a back-up. On Windows, I recommend installing MiKTeX, otherwise just install TeXworks. Overleaf is an online editor, which doesn't require installing a program on your computer, but it is slow.

The reason why I'm recommending an alternative word processor is because Google Docs is designed for simplicity, but it is currently not up-to-scratch for creating professional documents. You have more control over the output when using LaTeX. You can still use Google Docs when you don't need to waste time with delving into complicated markup language, or if you are collaborating with others, but Google Docs will generally give you simple documents that don't have a high degree of perfection.

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