# Useful tools and tricks

A couple of my recent writing projects have required me to capture and present equations, and it was not sufficient for me to use regular text like: y = (a + b) / (c + d)

A couple of my recent writing projects have required me to capture and present equations, and it was not sufficient for me to use regular text like: **y = (a + b) / (c + d) **

So I was rather interested when one of my colleagues sent me an email saying: *I have found a nice on-line equation writing tool at CodeCogs.com (***Click Here*** to see this tool)*.*You type in LaTex or MathML and it creates an image of the formula. You can then take that image and put it on your website. Alternatively, you can take a link CodeCogs creates to its domain that will show the same image. The nice thing about the image link is that the text-based LaTex expression forms the "Alternate Text" field of the link.You can go find most any equation in Wikipeda, then hit the "Edit" link to see the LaTex MathML type text expression. Just cut-and-paste that into the CodeCogs window and it will create the formula as an image. I find it works best at 300 dpi and the largest size. This makes a big gif file, but then you can shrink it down with the size format in the HTML page you are writing. This way the formula is much sharper and when you print your page the formula looks great since the printer drive will call on the native high resolution of the gif image when it prints. This is much better than using the image from the Wikipedia page. Here is Gauss's law:*

\int\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\;\!\;\!\subset\;\!\;\!\!\;\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\int_{\partial V}\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\;\;\;\;\!\!\supset \mathbf E\;\cdot\mathrm{d}\mathbf A = \frac{Q(V)}{\varepsilon_0}

*Paste this into CodeCogs and enjoy...*

I just did this, which resulted in the following image:

The only problem for me is that I don’t know

**LaTex**__or__

**MathML**__, but I’m sure that this tool will prove useful to a lot of folks. In a moment I will tell you about another equation-generating tool, but first Jack Olsen sent me an email with a link to a YouTube video titled__

**Miss USA - Should Math be Taught in Schools?**The dialog is wonderful – it made me laugh out loud. Like when one lady says

*“You really don’t know what the square root of sixteen is … no one does.”*Or when another says

*“There are numbers everywhere … on phones … on houses … on microwaves…”*

Jack’s accompanying comment was

*“This has to be a joke … someone PLEASE tell me this is a joke...”*Yes Jack. Settle down and chew on a Dried Frog pill. It is a joke. But I have to say that it’s a good one that is really well done – I plan on showing it to my son this evening.

Now if you are a user of Word, there is a really tasty equation editor available to you. My understanding is that this used to be presented as a separate utility – but the first I was made aware of it was recently when my chum Brian pointed out that it was embedded in Word 2010. I must admit that I had seen it next to the Symbol command on the Insert menu system … it had just never struck me to click this icon before (don’t I feel silly now?). When you do click this icon, you are presented with a suite of templates, which provide a really good starting point:

Following my article on

**ASCII and EBCDIC**__, Brian also told me about another clever trick, which is that if you open Notepad (or any text editor or command prompt or...) and hold down the Alt key while simultaneously typing the appropriate decimal number, the corresponding ASCII character will appear when you release the Alt key; for example:__

- Standard Example: Hold Alt, type "97" without quotes, then release Alt and 'a' will appear.
- Extended Example: Hold Alt, type "128" without quotes, then release Alt and 'Ç' will appear.

__to see a full list of the Standard and Extended ASCII character sets referred to in Brian’s examples.__

**Click Here**So, do you know of any useful tools or tricks that might prove interesting to the rest of us? If so, please don’t hesitate to post a comment to this article and share the joy (or email me at

**max@CliveMaxfield.com**__).__

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