Waaay back in Flare v7 (I think), I beta tested the equation editor….and I can’t say it was a happy time. First, I’m not math-y. Not that I’m math-a-phobic, but it’s just that I’ve not really been trained in advanced math.

So, yeah, I’m not math-y…and my testing the equation editor seemed more than a little pointless. I tried it out, was intimidated, and kind of did the “Oooh, shiny!” thing and moved on to something far more interesting.

Since then, I’ve been blissfully unencumbered by the equation editor….UNTIL YESTERDAY.

About 4 years ago, I built this very simple, very low-bandwidth (intentionally so) help project. Seriously – the entire WebHelp output was about 1.3MB. No images were used except for 2 screenshots of some funky equations that were the backbone of two calculators I was describing. At the time, there was no equation editor in Flare – so I created the equations in Word, took screenshots, and reluctantly added them to the help system.

This help system went out in the world and did its thing. It’s now come back to me for some updates – and I decided to use the equation editor. Here’s the formula in the screenshot that I want to replace. Please don’t ask me to explain it. I can explain the calculator – not the formula.

eq1

First thing…find the equation editor!

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After a good bit of thinking about the equation (which hurt my head), I realized that I have the following:

  • a couple of fractions
  • a parenthetical something
  • two Greek letters, only one of which I know

Definitely determine what parts you have before diving in (trust me on this…it’ll save you time, effort, and frustration).

Once in the editor, I typed in ‘Tan’ which I’m almost certain is tangent.

eq2

Now, I have to add a numerator and denominator. We’re not going to talk about how long it took me to figure out how to do this (not to mention to realize that the word ‘fraction’ is involved. Duh.).

eq3

I had no idea that a fraction was a Layout. Once I figured that out – I also saw that the parenthetical thingee I needed was called a Parenthesized Expression and was also a Layout. Yeah! Progress!

eq4

I have my fraction structure set up and now it’s time to add the stuff to the fraction. I clicked in the upper box and needed to add a pi (sorry, I can’t figure out how to add the symbol in the post).

This was easy…instead of Layout, I just needed to go to Insert > Symbol. This window appears.

eq5

I scrolled down to the P section, and saw two Pi(s)…one capital and one lowercase.

eq7 eq6

I selected the lowercase and clicked OK.

eq8

Now I had to add the Greek letter that I couldn’t identify. Instead of scrolling endlessly through the drop-down list, I asked a colleague what it was. Theta! Woohoo! Inserted!

eq9

Then I added the second part of the numerator.

Once this was done, I realized that I hadn’t added the parenthesized expression. At this point I’m thinking, “Please don’t make me delete what I’ve done already for lack of a set of parens.” I highlighted the fraction and then inserted the parentheses layout. Luckily, the parens surrounded the fraction instead of replacing it.

eq10

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Next, I added an equal sign and the second fraction, repeating the steps above.

eq12

Once this was done, I simply entered the digits and letters in both denominators.

eq13

And I’m done! I clicked OK and the equation appears in my topic.

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The only thing I did was to increase the font size of the <p> tag to make the formula larger.

I hope my fumbling around will save you time when you have to add an equation to your help project. I’d love to hear about your experiences with the equation editor. Let me know via the comments.

 

Since I didn’t have the document done in time for the presentation to be put on jump drives, I’ve decided to make it available here. The second presentation will be available shortly.

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Please let me know if you have any questions. I want you to be able to create great print docs using Flare!