In Google Docs, when I choose from the menu Insert>Equation, it displays literally shortcuts such as "\frac". For example, the following:

\frac {a}{b}

Should display a fraction with a over b. But it just shows the text above. What am I doing wrong? I have followed the usage defined and demonstrated here:

1 Answer 1


Despite mimicking some of the LaTeX syntax, Google Document Equation Editor is still WYSIWYG: changes to an equation happen immediately in response to key presses, there is no compilation stage. In particular, there are no { } for grouping: you control the placement of characters visually. Think of entering "\frac " as equivalent to clicking a button for "fraction pattern" in the toolbar.

To enter a fraction of the form a/b, type

\frac aTabbTab

The fraction structure appears first, with the cursor set in the numerator. After entering "a" there,pressing Tab moves the cursor to the denominator. The second Tab moves it out of the denominator, so you can continue with the formula.

Instead of Tab, the right arrow key may be used.

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