In Google Docs preferences it lets you set up a table of shortcuts in the form of substitutions. For example if you type (c) it will automatically replace it with the copyright symbol ©.

Google Docs also lets you insert an equation (not really an equation, but a mathematical expression of any sort).

Is there any way to get it to replace certain text with an equation? I tried copying an already-inserted equation into the With field in the substitution table, but simply doing that didn't work—it just stripped my equation down to the letters that were in the expression.

Here is a snippet from inside a document that might better illustrate what I'm looking for. enter image description here

  • What sort of equation are you talking about? Something simple like x + y = z, or something that requires special fonts and commands (e.g., MathJax)?
    – ale
    Jan 18, 2014 at 13:11
  • Maybe you could copy what it is you're trying to substitute here so we have a better idea of what you're after? Or maybe crop a screen shot?
    – ale
    Jan 18, 2014 at 15:40
  • Ah. The answer to your question is "no", then. The text substitution in Google Documents is just a pure character replacement. You'll need to use a third-party tool of some sort. AutoHotKey might do what you want.
    – ale
    Jan 18, 2014 at 18:22

2 Answers 2


The character substitution works with any characters you can manage to type with a keyboard.

I just created an auto-substitution that replaces =x with x + y = z and it works just fine.

Just open the "Preferences" menu while in your document and the values you need in the "Replace" and "With" blocks as needed.

Note that it's pure text substitution. It can't do anything else like change fonts.


I am not quite certain what you require but if say just a convenient way to replicate:

WA54678 example

as constructed with Equation... then select the equation, Edit, Web clipboard, Copy selection to web clipboard then go to wherever you would like the copy and return to Edit, Web clipboard, select "n2n2" (in this example) and Paste as rich text.

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