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I have a lot of experience with the Microsoft Equation Editor having typeset my dissertation with it. The Equation Editor represents the kind of mediocrity that one comes to expect from Microsoft. I did finish my dissertation, so the editor works. (Arizona State University has or had a service where they can provide you a piece of paper with Greek and other symbols printed on it, and you can cut and paste these symbols into your dissertation or thesis. The Microsoft Equation Editor spared me from this tremendous grief, and for that I am thankful!)
However, the Equation Editor has some problems. First, when editing an equation, backspacing to remove a character does not usually erase the character; thus, when typing new text in its place, it is very difficult to see what is going on. Frequently, one has to exit the equation so that it gets redrawn, then enter the equation again and continue typing. I have become very good at editing "by feel," typing blindly and hoping for the best.
Second, the output is not always the prettiest as the spacing is not quite right and parentheses often seem a bit too large. One has particular trouble with Greek symbols because they are slanted too far as Italics with not enough space after them. Constant use of the spacing options is unavoidable, and it is a real drag that the space bar can not be used for this purpose.
Third, and probably most importantly, every once in a while you will notice that something odd is going on. For instance, you edit an equation, exit it, then notice that nothing changed. Worried that the system is crashing, you quickly save your work only to find that Microsoft Word puts up a "disk full or too many files open" error message and will not save. What has happened is that there is something odd about how Microsoft Word has treated the last equation. The only correct thing to do in this situation is to delete the equation, then save your work. While this is a good work around, it is often not obvious which equation is the culprit. Sometimes when you enter an equation, it displays as a picture file. This is the culpable equation. Thus, you can quickly click on all of your recent equations and look for the bad one. Other times, there is no evidence. Try deleting half of your recent equations (cut them so that you can repaste them!) and retrying the save. If it works then the uncut equations were okay. Paste the cut text, then cut half of these, and retry the save. Keep narrowing down the list until you discover the bad equation. Delete it, and save.
The bottom line is SAVE YOUR WORK OFTEN!
Fourth, and finally, those equation files are all very large. If your document is going to be long, break it into smaller pieces. I found that a 10-page document full of equations was about the limit. When editing such a beast, be prepared for it to take 10 minutes to open your file (I use a 600MHz Athlon processor). One thing I learned, though, is how to turn the 10 minutes into a coffee break rather than a slow scroll down the document. That is, I learned how to let Microsoft do its thing while I did something else. First, open Microsoft Word directly (by going to the Programs folder on the desktop) rather than having it open when you click on your saved file. Next, shrink the size of the Microsoft Word window so that when you open your document, only its title will appear on your screen. Now open your document. Click on View > Page Layout. Click on View > Zoom > Many Pages and look at the graphical representation of your document. If you can not see all of the pages in their entirety, click cancel and expand the window. Click View > Zoom > Many Pages and verify that you can see your whole document. Click Okay and enjoy your coffee! Microsoft will go through the process of displaying all of your equations. When it is done, you can select the view that you want and edit your document at a "normal" pace. Of course, if you only want to edit a small portion of your document, it might be more time efficient to open your document in a small window as described, then use the scroll bar to scroll to the page you want, then expand the window so that only that page has to be redrawn.
Here's a final tip. If you only want to print your document, you will do well to open it in the manner just described and allow Microsoft to display all of the pages. After the document is open, then print it. You do not have to do this, but it seems that if you just print without displaying, Microsoft has to internally "display" the equations anyway. When it is done printing, Microsoft seems to discard the results of its computations, and you are left with a printed document and a still undisplayed version in your window. Suppose now that you notice a typo or want to print again? Then you have to wait a second time. Thus, you might as well just display your document up front since it takes no additional time.
I do not have much experience with the TeX family of editors, but I am beginning to learn. The referenced site is the definitive location for any downloads or advice.
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