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How to Write Fractions in Microsoft Word

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I am a former maths teacher and owner of DoingMaths. I create many worksheets and other resources learning many formatting tricks as I go.

Fractions in a Maths Worksheet created using Microsoft Word

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Using Fractions in Microsoft Word

As somebody who writes about maths and creates a lot of maths worksheets, being able to write fractions in Microsoft Word is an extremely valuable skill to have.

In this article, I will show you several ways in which you can write fractions using a variety of methods.

Method 1 - Insert Symbol

For basic fractions, go to the 'Insert' tab and click 'Symbol'. By scrolling down, you will be able to find several simple fractions ready for you to insert. This only includes a half, quarters and eighths, so is fairly limited, but sometimes this is all you need and this is by far the simplest method for adding these fractions into your document.

Depending upon your settings, Word will also often auto-correct fractions so that if you type in 1/2 it will automatically replace it with the 1/2 from the insert symbols table. If this is not happening, you can switch it on by going to the 'File' tab, clicking on 'Options', then 'Proofing', then 'AutoCorrect Options'. Under the 'AutoFormat As You Type' tab click the box for 'Fractions with fraction character'. Note that this only works for those fractions found in the insert symbols table.

Insert Symbol

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Method 1a - Using keyboard shortcuts

Instead of having to click through to the symbols menu each time, you can use the following keyboard shortcuts to bring up simple fractions:

1/2 - Alt + 0189

1/4 - Alt + 0188

3/4 - Alt + 0190

Method 2 - Use the Forward Slash

Sometimes it can be appropriate just to use the forward slash in between your numerator and denominator in order to create a fraction.

This can look fine for simpler fractions such as 1/2 or 5/6, but can start to look messy when using bigger fractions such as 2875/21038 and is certainly not great if trying to write algebraic fractions such as (x+1)/(2x-3), where brackets need to be used to avoid confusion.

Method 3 - Use Superscript and Subscript

A slightly more effective version of method 2 is to continue using the forward slash, but superscript your numerator and subscript your denominator like this 3/7. This makes your fractions a bit neater and removes the need for brackets in fractions with more than one term top or bottom e.g. 1 + 3x/4x + y .

To use this method, highlight the numerator, then find the superscript button 'x2' on the 'Font' section of the 'Home' tab. Clicking this will make your numerator slightly smaller and raise it up. Do the same thing with the denominator, but click the subscript button 'x2'.

If you are not happy with the style of your fractions, you can experiment by altering the font sizes of the fractions or check out Method 4 for my favourite fraction creation method.

Using the Subscript Button

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Method 4 - Use an Equation Field

Using an Equation Field to display your fractions is easily my favourite way of displaying fractions as it allows you to show fractions where the numerator is directly above the denominator, thus removing any confusion when you have a fraction in the middle of an expression.

A Fraction in Word Created Using an Equation Field

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To use an Equation field, simply click your cursor to where you would like the fraction to appear on the page and then press Ctrl and F9 together. This will bring up a pair of field brackets such as in the picture below.

Field Brackets

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Once you have your field brackets, type in the following:

EQ \F(n,d)

where n is your numerator and d is your denominator. You need to make sure that the EQ and F are written in capitals and that you leave a space between EQ and \F.

So for example if I wanted to type 5/6, I would type EQ \F(5,6) into the field brackets.

While your field brackets are selected, you then need to press Shift and F9 together to create your fraction.

If you have multiple field brackets in your document and you find that they have all converted back into the form EQ \F(n,d), simply highlight the part of the document containing the field brackets and press Shift and F9 together. This will convert all of them back into fraction form as required.

Equation Field and its Corresponding Fraction

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