Insert an equation

To insert an equation in a presentation, use the characters and commands that are available in Microsoft Equation Editor.

  1. Click the slide to which you want to add an equation.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Object.
  3. In the Object type list, click Microsoft Equation 3.0. If Microsoft Equation 3.0 is not available, install it.


  1. On the View menu, point to Toolbars, and then click Customize.
  2. Click the Commands tab, and in the Categories list, click Insert.
  3. In the Commands box, click Equation Editor, and then drag it from the Commands box to a gray area within any toolbar. Then click Close.
  4. Click the new toolbar button to install and display the Equation Editor.
  1. In the Equation Editor, use the buttons and menus to type your equation.
  2. To return to Microsoft PowerPoint, on the File menu in Equation Editor, click Exit and Return to .

The equation appears on your slide.


Place the equation on a slide with a lighter background color to make the equation text more visible. If you want to use a darker background color, try inserting a shape behind the equation object (object: A table, chart, graphic, equation, or other form of information. Objects created in one application, for example spreadsheets, and linked or embedded in another application are OLE objects.).


  1. On the Drawing 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.), click AutoShapes (AutoShapes: A group of ready-made shapes that includes basic shapes, such as rectangles and circles, plus a variety of lines and connectors, block arrows, flowchart symbols, stars and banners, and callouts.), point to a category, and then click the shape you want.
  2. Click the place in the presentation where you want to insert the AutoShape. Place the AutoShape so that it hides the entire equation.
  3. Select the Autoshape, and then on the Drawing toolbar, click the arrow next to Fill Color Button image.
  4. Do one of the following:
    • To change to a color in the color scheme, click one of the colors below Automatic.
    • To change to a color that isn't in the color scheme, click More Fill Colors. On the Standard tab, click the color you want, or click the Custom tab to mix your own color. Select a color that allows you to see the black text of the equation.
  5. Select the Autoshape again, and then on the Drawing toolbar, click Draw, point to Order, and click Send Backward or Send to Back so that you can see the equation in the foreground.

 Note   For Help creating an equation, on the Equation Editor Help menu, click Equation Editor Help Topics.

Applies to:
PowerPoint 2003