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Freeware alternative to OpenOffice.org Math?

 
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syockit
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:16 pm    Post subject: Freeware alternative to OpenOffice.org Math? Reply with quote

Many would recommend MathType for serious equation editing, but some would be taken aback with the pricing (although it may be worth it)(EDIT: What, there's MathType Lite? So it's free after all!). So I'm looking for a good freeware alternative to the built-in equation editor in OOo.

I'm using OOo-dev DEV300m23 on Vista SP1

Using LaTeX
I have MikTeX installed anyway, so why don't I make use of it? (Note: for web-based LaTeX equation editors, you don't even need it installed!)

OOoLatex (http://ooolatex.sourceforge.net/)
This was my first try. Had to install GhostScript and MSys. But still, it doesn't seem to like OOo 3 that much, as I keep getting crashes after making a couple of equations. And the processing time was too much for me. EDIT 2: Crashes on OOo 3 Beta. Works fine on 2.4.1. If you see read next post, you'll know that I no longer rely on GS and MSys.

Laeqed (www.thrysoee.dk/laeqed/)
A minimalist Java application. Apart from TeX package (which I assume comes with dvipng installed), no other requirements. Exports to PNG. Will save equation in the PNG to allow reediting. Can edit Preamble. But processing is quite slow, though it was faster than OOoLatex for me. Sometimes, produces buggy output like missing symbols. I didn't like this one because you couldn't copy-paste the output. Instead, you have to insert it manually.

Latex Equation Editor (http://latexeqedit.sourceforge.net/index.php)
Also quite minimalist. Source code available in Pascal. Uses texify and dvipng. So far, this is the fastest locally run software I can find. Once output is finished, you can right click on the equation, copy, and paste straight away.

And plethora of online equation editors
You can find lots of equation editors on the net, some having more detailed options than the other.
http://www.codecogs.com/components/equationeditor/equationeditor.php CodeCogs Equation editor allows export to PNG, GIF, PDF (save only), and SWF. The whole thing is also available as download for use on your own server.
http://www.hamline.edu/~arundquist/equationeditor/ I'm not sure whether it uses the code from the above page, but this one produces GIF. You can set the output size scale.

And all web-based equation editors ran faster than locally-ran software (well, my notebook is just a lightweight tablet-PC). But there is a drawback of needing to be online to use it. Not that it poses a problem to me, I just feel bad for using others' bandwidth and processing power for my own selfish need.

One nasty thing about the PNG/GIF output is that if you make a it high resolution (like 300dpi), you have to resize it yourself afterwards.

Using LyX to manage equations
Since most of the solutions above produce one equation at a time, I suggest using LyX to keep all your equations at bay. You can copy and paste each of the equation directly as well.

LaTeX reference?
Probably this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Formula helps?

Another Alternative: MathML based software
Other than LaTeX, another free alternative is using freeware MathML editors.
MathCast(http://mathcast.sourceforge.net/)
Basically, you get to keep a list of equations and copy them to your document either as bitmap or EMF (actually bitmap inside EMF, quite pointless). I don't know why, I keep having trouble in getting this program to display equations properly. Wrong fonts show up, e.g. minus sign replaced by the degree symbol, brackets becoming gibberish etc. But if you manage to get it to run, I think it does make a good WYSIWYG editor. I don't like the method of writing the equation though. Could use a good toolbar.

Formulator MathML Weaver(http://www.mmlsoft.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6&Itemid=7)
I feel like I tried this in the past, and it didn't work. Maybe it was a Vista problem? Supposedly, it can export to vector and bitmap.

If anyone can come up with better (and free) solutions, do reply, please!


Last edited by syockit on Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:33 am; edited 2 times in total
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David
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FREE: Hermitech laboratories Math Weaver.

FREE: Yes, MathType. It does not disappear, but drops to the limited edition after 30 days, the same as is in Word and WordPerfect. So, that's also FREE in that sense. Few people would need the full version, and neither will associate directly with OpenOffice .

David.
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syockit
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, I should've checked the FAQ and try to understand it. And just this morning I went through all the trouble of rewriting the PHP for CodeCogs's editor. Thanks for the info!

EDIT: Then again, I'm glad I did the whole CodeCogs thing. MathType's OLE export wasn't working for me. The glyphs are missing; I'm getting no integral signs.

EDIT 2: I managed to get OOoLatex to produce PNG without using MSYS nor GhostScript. Just pure DOS batch. Sadly, it won't work with OOo 3 Beta for now because of a nasty bug which crashes Writer everytime a picture frame is either cut or deleted, which OOoLatex does when updating equations. So I'm back to OxygenOffice 2.4.1, and it came out with flying colours.
MathType doesn't work with this version either. Getting rid of it for good.
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jrkrideau
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:29 am    Post subject: Re: Freeware alternative to OpenOffice.org Math? Reply with quote

[quote="syockit"]
Using LyX to manage equations
Since most of the solutions above produce one equation at a time, I suggest using LyX to keep all your equations at bay. You can copy and paste each of the equation directly as well.

[quote]

Are you suggesting just pasting the LyX code directly into the Math editor or copy some thing from the resulting PS or PDF document?

If the LyX code to Math works well I definately like this idea as writing math in LyX is easy.
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Currently using Windows 7 & OOo 3.4.0 and Ubuntu 12.04 & LibreOffice 3.5.2.2
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David
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

syockit wrote:
MathType doesn't work with this version either. Getting rid of it for good.


That's strange. I've never had it not work.

David.
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syockit
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jrkrideau wrote:
Are you suggesting just pasting the LyX code directly into the Math editor or copy some thing from the resulting PS or PDF document?


Well, what I mean is that since all those PNG-producing LaTeX apps can handle only one equation at a time, I suggest using LyX if you want to save your equations for further editing. The LyX code could then be pasted directly into the LaTeX editor.

David wrote:
That's strange. I've never had it not work.


I think my problem is the same as the one in http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.phtml?t=69682 . I've even tried installing all fonts that are in MathType's fonts folder. Still, they don't show up properly in Writer.

By the way, I've tried MathML Weaver (aka Formulator). While the WYSIWYG interface is nice, the output leaves much to be desired. I think it outputs as GIF when pasted in Writer. Though I can resize the font to make a higher resolution GIF, having to resize it afterwards is a hassle. And the symbols themselves aren't too pretty either.

I see that MathType can export to AMS-Latex, and also input Latex code as well. Since I managed to make OOoLatex to work again, might as well use MathType as the editor, as LyX can sometimes be sluggish.Still, I have to make do with the Latex rendering time. I hope I can solve the MathType import problem as soon as possible.

BTW David, can you tell me what version of MathType and OOo you are using?
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