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EXP Versus Word for Mathematical Documents

This document highlights differences between using EXP and using Microsoft Word 2000 to create documents containing mathematics.


In order to compare EXP with Word, one needs to understand the approach each program takes to the problem of providing mathematics word processing in the Windows environment.

Word: The Add-on Approach

Word's approach to allowing mathematics to be incorporated into a document is to provide an add-on (ActiveX/OLE) equation editor that allows the user to create and edit math expressions. The equation editor provides all the math editing and formatting functionality because Word itself knows nothing about mathematics typography. To incorporate a formula into a Word document, you instruct Word that you want to insert an Equation object into the document. Word then starts the equation editor so you can compose the equation. To incorporate the formula into the Word document, the equation editor inserts the formula as a graphic.

There are many flaws with this approach, but perhaps the most striking one is that it regards mathematics as being like a special kind of graphic. Most documents that use mathematics do not have one or two uses of mathematical notation per page (as one might with graphics) but rather they have dozens and dozens.

EXP: The Integrated Approach

EXP's approach to allowing mathematics to be incorporated into a document is to provide a specialized word processor that fully integrates text and mathematics word-processing capabilities.

The amount of work and expertise involved in implementing this integrated approach is much greater than for Word's add-on approach. For this reason, EXP for Windows is the only WYSIWYG program that takes this approach. The reason for taking the time to develop a specialized word processor for mathematics was that the add-on approach is very limited and no amount of work can solve its underlying problems.

Specific Differences

The following subsections describe some of the major differences between using EXP and using Word to create documents containing mathematics.

User Interface

Storage Requirements

Word Processing Considerations

Formatting Quality

Other Considerations