Math Context Menus

One handy way to edit mathematical text is to use math context menus. These menus are displayed when you depress the right mouse button with the mouse pointing inside a math zone. In addition to the usual Font and Paragraph options, in a math zone you see options relevant for the math object the mouse is pointing at. For example, if the mouse points at a stacked fraction, the context menu includes entries to change to a skewed or linear fraction as well as to remove the fraction bar. If the mouse points at an accented character, there’s an option to remove the accent.

You could make such changes by building down to the linear format, making appropriate edits, and then building back up to the professional format. This is a general way of making many kinds of changes that are hard to make in a WYSIWYG way. But if the desired change can be accomplished via a context menu option, that option is faster.

The following table summarizes the math context menus that appear using Word 2007.



Context menu options


Remove accent


Switch between overbar and underbar

Remove bar


Increase/decrease argument size


Hide/show (top/left/bottom/right) border

Add/remove (horizontal/vertical/top-left-diagonal/bottom-left-diagonal) strike

Brackets (delimiters)

Insert/delete argument before/after

Stretch delimiters, match delimiters

Hide/show left/right delimiter

Equation array

Insert row before/after

Delete row

Align array at top row, center, or bottom row


Change to skewed/linear/stacked

Remove/replace fraction bar


Make into subsup

Increase/decrease argument size


Switch between upper and lower limit

Remove limit

Change limit size

Math zone

Build down/up, i.e., Linear or Professional


Insert row/column before/after

Delete row/column

Show/hide empty-argument placeholders

Set row/column spacing

Align matrix at top row, center, or bottom row

Align column left/center/right

n -ary

Change limit location

Hide/show upper/lower empty limit place holder

Grow with content


Remove radical

Hide/show empty degree place holder

Group character

Display group (horizontal stretch) character above/below

Remove group character


Delete script

Increase/decrease script size


Align subscript and superscript

Make into left subsup

Increase/decrease script size


In addition if the Microsoft Math graphing calculator add-in is installed, right clicking on a formula gives you context menu options that Microsoft Math is able to perform on the formula. Select an option and a window appears with the results and offers the possibility to insert them into your document. We hope to extend this approach so that other math engines can be used to manipulate and graph formulas in Word.