Thursday, 14 October 2010

Equations in with OOoLaTeX

I'm a fan of free software. I tell myself it's because I support (some of) the principles of the open source movement but the reality is that I'm a poor student who can't afford proprietary software. Whichever is the truth, it means I use as my office package, at least while LibreOffice takes shape. Like most office suites, the equation editor sucks, but there's a useful extension that helps, even if its name looks like an excerpt from a 12-year-old's text message: OOoLaTeX.

Installation and operation is straightforward and well-described on their website. Basically, download the package, then add it via the extensions interface in You'll be granted a new toolbar with which to add equations by entering LaTeX markup.

The only worry I had was installing the fonts without superuser privileges. This might affect you too if you're working on a Linux-based system in your department. Download the archive from SourceForge and extract its contents into a "/.fonts/" subdirectory in your home directory ("~"). You might need to open each font in a viewer and install manually.

Now I can quickly add and edit equations in my presentations with LaTeX markup, saving time for more useful things. Like compulsively refreshing Google Reader. Or blogging...

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