Insert an equation with Equation Editor

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To document a formula on your spreadsheet, you can insert an equation as an object by using Equation Editor.

  1. Click where you want to insert the equation.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Object, and then click the Create New tab.
  3. In the Object type box, click Microsoft Equation 3.0.

If Microsoft Equation Editor is not available, you may need to install it.


  1. Quit all programs.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • On Microsoft Windows 2000, double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon in Control Panel.
    • On Microsoft Windows XP, click Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel.
  3. In the Currently installed programs box, click the listing for Microsoft Office or Microsoft Excel, depending on whether you installed Excel as part of Office or as an individual program, and then click Change.
  4. On the Maintenance Mode Options screen, click Add or Remove Features, and then click Next.
  5. If a Custom Setup screen appears, select the Choose advanced customization of applications check box, and then click Next.
  6. In the list of features to install, click the expand indicator (+) next to Office Tools.
  7. Click the arrow next to Equation Editor, and then click Run from My Computer.
  8. Click Update.
  9. Restart Excel.
  1. Click OK.
  2. Build the equation by selecting symbols from the Equation toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.) and by typing variables and numbers. From the top row of the Equation toolbar, you can choose from more than 150 mathematical symbols. From the bottom row, you can choose from a variety of templates or frameworks that contain symbols such as fractions, integrals, and summations.

If you need help, click Equation Editor Help Topics on the Help menu.

  1. To return to Microsoft Excel, click on an empty cell.
Applies to:
Excel 2003