Why Microsoft is not used for math? (8 important keys)

Why Microsoft Word is not used for math? many students use latex and other software but don’t use Microsoft.

Is Microsoft bad for doing math?

In this article, we’re going to respond to this question by giving 8 reasons why microsft isn’t much used for doing math. So keep reading to know why.

It very slow

Using Microsoft for math applications is slow compared to other programs editors. The thing that frustrates students is a long time that requires a student to write equations, tables, and captions.

Microsoft users have always a need to start switching between a mouse and keyboards. In other words, if a student wants to add a table, new section, and equation he will lose a lot of time taking his hand from the keyboard and using muse then going again.

This operation is not effective and wastes a lot of time, energy, and focus. Hence students prefer to use latex instead.

Creating sections in Microsoft is 5 times slower than latex

for instance, to start a section in latex it only needs to type “\section{My Section}” while in the word need to:

  • Select where you to make a new section.
  • Go to Layout > Breaks.
  • Choose the type of section break you want and so on

we calculate the difference time between creating a section using latex and in Microsoft. It didn’t require more than 5 seconds to create a section in latex, while in Word is more than 25 seconds So 5 times slower.

writing fraction number is slower 4 times in microsoft

It takes 20 seconds to write X/Y on Word according to our tests. While in latex $\frac{x}. {y} doesn’t require more than 5 seconds so 4 times faster than Microsoft.

Writing fractional numbers is frequent for mathematics student x/y was just a simple example. But what about long and complex fraction numbers.

writing limit function take 6 times in micorsof word

After several tests on latex and Microsoft, we found that simple limit functions in latex take only 7 seconds to finish while in words tend to consume 40 to 45 seconds. As a result, means 6 times slower doing math in Microsoft.

Using muse in word doing math consumes a lot of time. Also, it is easy to make mistakes and start from scratch.

According to Cambridgestudents Ph.D. math thesis has around 60,000 words so the average will be 150 pages. If we consider that each page has only:

  • 3 subheadings
  • 5 math equations
  • 1 table each 10 pages

and the average time to make in Microsoft one:

  • subheading is 20 seconds
  • write equation is 1min
  • draw table is 10mintes

So we can approximate how much it is slower to do a math thesis in Microsoft compared to latex.

the result is shown in the table below

PHD math tehsis

Average time consumed writing subheadings

3.75 hours

0.65 hours

Average time consumed writing math equations

125 hours

 25 hours

Average time consumed drawing tables

2.5 hours

1.25 hours

Average time consumed litteral writing

150 hours

150 hours


281 hours

176 hours

To sum up, writing a Ph.D. thesis in latex is faster 60% more than doing it in Microsoft. For instance, if a Ph.D. student writes his thesis in 90 days using Microsoft, it will take them only 54 days to do it with latex. So reducing one mouth work is very remarkable.

The time that Microsoft consume is one of the main reason why Microsoft isn’t used for math.

Not confortable

Using Microsoft is not comfortable it doesn’t have a good ergonomy for math students. It requires a consistent and annoying effort to write math equations and build tables. That is to say, writing mathematic equations in Microsoft is time and effort-consuming.

In other words to write you need to have the principle of 50% keyboard and 50% mouse, meaning always switching between keyboard and mouse.

For instance, if we need to write simply this fraction number X/Y, you need to click 3 times with a mouse between each click you have to use a keyboard. While writing “$\frac{x}. {y}” as command lien on latex is enough to do all jobs.

So we can imagine writing with Microsoft long fraction or integral equation. it very draining.

Is hard to find all mathematics signs

students spend a long time looking for mathematics signs in Microsoft. Sometiems they don’t get what they are looking for. In addition, mathematics signs are separated and you need to pick each sign from each corner, which is very tedious.

The system command that latex use is effective. With the sheet, I will let bellow students can copy the command line for any sign and compile it.

Latex takes a little bit of practice but with time things become easy and writing ∑, sin, cos becomes as much as you write a or b.

you see the paper sheet that covers the whole mathematics command lines of the latex program. we divided it into 2 parts.

then the second part

compatibility problems

In 2019 and according to overleaf 4 million users were recorded using latex. Students found the utility of latex and flexibility that create for mathematics students.

Compatibility creates a problem for Microsoft users. Many students say that even going from the windows version of words to the mac version they face problems.

For instance, Students write a mathematic essay or solve an exercise on their windows computer, but if the professor uses mac computer equations break out and a lot of information gets lost.

So students could imagine working on a 50-page essay, which could contain at least 200 equations. Then you find that no one equation is visible to a professor or reviewer. it will be a nightmare.

Micorsoft dosen’t work in linux

According to Wikipedia, Linux comes on in the third position as a popular operating system after windows and mac. With 5 billion internet users today, Linux has 1.25 billion users around the world. You could watch this graph below.

Microsoft Word doesn’t work in Linux as an operating system. It is not like latex when students can use multiple operating systems. Microsoft loses 1.25 billion by not allowing them to use their software.

Word doesn’t do equation numbering automatically,

Microsoft doesn’t have the auto numeration of equations, this characteristic helps mathematic students to isolate mathematic questions and revise effectively their papers. It helps to increase the focus and find easily the flaws in the article.

This option is so important for Ph.D. thesis writers. Because stem Ph.D. students aren’t good enough writing theses according to what professors are saying. So it helps them to reduce a lot of headaches and focus on their writings.

latex has this ability of auto numbering equations to help to reference any equations and get access to it immediately, not losing minutes looking between lines in Microsoft.

micorsoft has a bad visual aspect

Everything is independent in Word so if you want to write something you have to do it individually. You have to ensure manually to write titles in good format respecting spaces interlinings etc, which impossible to get it well done for 150 pages essay.

Equations have to be aligned well, meaning you always have to ensure putting the equation in the middle and if it has good space interspaces etc.

editing is very painful and consumes a lot of unnecessary time. Even with this hard work the visibility and quality of alignment context still have unobservable flaw brakes.

Microsoft is not open source

Microsoft is not an open-source program, meaning students are not able to read some journals because their institute doesn’t shell out particularly for a given journal. So licensing issues create a lot of barriers and handcuffs students.

Students love to use open source programs to add their loved features int them. For instance, why not add a bottom in Microsoft word helping to listen to music or spelling words. Microsoft doesn’t open their programs and won’t allow that.

open-source programs allow users to add and delete things that don’t matter for users, with latex users having more flexibility in work such an open-source programs.


Microsoft is not a program to do math, it has a lot of issues and flaws for students. But according to the 8 insights that we exposed in our article. Microsoft can be used for math only for students who love taking notes in math.

But what about math students how they keep their notes?.


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.