LibreOffice Math introduction

LibreOffice Math is a formula editor that can stand alone but is mainly designed to work with the other applications in the suite. Most office suites do not have a formula editor as part of their suite.

Math lets you insert formatted mathematical and scientific formulas into Writer, Calc, Impress, and Draw documents. It can be launched as a stand-alone application or from within another of the applications.

This section of the Website will cover formulas, regardless of whether they are in Writer, Calc, Impress, or Draw. Some articles and videos may be about Math as a stand-alone application.


Math has three areas.  They are related, and they affect each other, and each section can be resized, affecting the size of the other two.

    • Element
    • Preview window
    • Equation editor
Element section of LibreOffice Math
The Element section of Math has a drop-down menu that reveals different icons that you can click to enter in the Preview window. The corresponding text will appear in the Equation editor.


This area has a drop-down menu and icons representing different mathematical symbols. Choose an item from the list to change the list of icons. Click on the desired icon and it will be inserted in the Preview window. The written code will be inserted in the Equation editor.

Preview window

This simply allows you to examine the equation. You cannot edit the equation from this area. If you click on an element in the window, the corresponding part of the formula will be highlighted in the equation editor.

Right-clicking on a part of an equation allows you to Zoom in or zoom out. It also allows you to update the equation.

Equation editor

This is a text box that allows you to type in an equation or edit what is already there.

Menus and toolbars

Math does not have any unique menus. They are the same as the ones in Writer, Calc, Impress, and Draw. The seven menus are as follows:

      • File
      • Edit
      • View
      • Format
      • Tools
      • Window
      • Help

The two toolbars are Standard and Tools. Other applications have these toolbars. In Math, Standard is just like the other applications. However, Tools has some unique features to it. Each of the applications has unique icons in its Tools toolbar. For math they are as follows:

  • Zoom In
  • Zoom Out
  • 100%
  • Show All
  • Update
  • Formula Cursor


Like the other applications in the office suite, Math has its roots in StarOffice. The office product that was purchased by Sun Microsystems at the beginning of the century had a formula editor and several other mathematical applications.

Math was part of StarOffice 3.1, which was released in 1997. It was the first version to be released for Linux.

Math was part of the LibreOffice fork that was released in 2012, version 3.3. Just about every version