M75 - Equatio (Premium Chrome extension)

What is it?

You may have heard of texthelp's literacy support tool Read&Write but did you know that they also have an education tool called Equatio which helps support the creation of accessible mathematical content online? You may have already explored the free Google Chrome extension and if not, see our mini guide. For the purpose of this guide, we will focus on the Premium version of the Google Chrome extension. Currently, UCL has a licence for the Premium version of Equatio for staff and students until July 2024. 

While the free version of Equatio can help anyone create accessible maths, it lacks features such as prediction, Equatio Mobile integration, and the screenshot reader. Here is a handy overview of what is included in the premium version compared to the free version.

Why use it?

Equatio can help you create maths expressions without having to use any code or programming languages. You can easily create formulas and equations through keyboard input, handwriting recognition or voice recording. It is also compatible with LaTeX for more advanced users. In addition, it allows some graphing input. 

Who can use it?

Teaching staff, students and anyone with a Google Chrome browser.


  • Remember, the full Premium licence is only available until July 2024.
  • You should always check your privacy and security settings for any Google Chrome extension.
  • After you have installed it, click the Extensions icon  Extensions icon and look for Equatio in the list of extensions, click the three dots to the right of it and choose Manage extension to check the various settings and permissions.
  • Google Chrome cannot prevent extensions from recording your browsing history.  However, it is possible to browse in incognito mode in a different window. To disable this extension in Incognito mode, make sure you unselect this option.

Getting started

  1. Add the Equatio extension to Chrome.
  2. Click the Extensions icon  Extensions icon and look for Equatio in the list of extensions.
  3. If it is there, click the pin to add it to your Chrome toolbar.
  4. Log into UCL Moodle using the Chrome browser. 
  5. In order to gain access to the Premium Equatio features in Chrome to use with Moodle, you need to sign in using your ac.uk domain. Launch your Equatio extension and you will see the Equatio toolbar appear at the bottom of your screen. Open the main Equatio menu in the far left, click on Switch User and you will then have the option to sign in with your microsoft email address (ucl.ac.uk). You should now have full access to the Premium features.
  6. Navigate to your Moodle course where you wish to use Equatio. You can create mathematical content in various ways with the Equatio extension then insert it into any Moodle text editor. Text editors are available anywhere where text and media can be added on Moodle. This includes Text and Media areas (formerly Labels), Pages, Books, Discussion Forum messages, Assignment instructions, Quiz questions etc. 

Screen shot of Equatio toolbar


When you launch the Equatio extension, a toolbar will appear at the bottom of the screen with 3 main sections:

  1. Equatio menu - this menu enables you to customize your experience using Equatio’s options, access the Equatio Academy, open your mathspace dashboard, change users, and so on.
  2. Equatio tools - these buttons are the main tools of Equatio, enabling you to create, insert, and read math, as well as inserting mathspaces and accessing Equatio’s STEM tools. When you click some of these buttons, an input area opens above the toolbar. This is the Equation Editor, which you can use to build your math before inserting it into your document.
  3. Action bar - there are up to three action buttons (Edit Math, Insert Math and Copy Math as) at the right of the Equation toolbar. Instead of using Insert Math to insert math into your document, you can the Copy Math as button to export it to the clipboard in a variety of formats.

You can also explore the Equatio Interactive Toolbar. This interactive toolbar shows a summary for each button, along with video links so you can see each feature in action.

Setting Equatio Options

  1. Open the Equatio menu in the bottom left and then click on Options
  2. On the left of the window, click Math Options.

The Math Options page contains the following options:

  1. Select your preferred Math font size. This applies to both Equatio’s editor and the size that math is inserted into your documents.
  2. Select your preferred Language.
  3. Equatio recommends that you leave the Speech Engine set to Automatic. While Clearspeak generally sounds more natural, some users may prefer Mathspeak, which is a widely-used standard for braille math.
  4. Deselect any Prediction options that you do not use. As you type, Equatio offers the following types of suggestion:
  • Math – for example, 2 as you type squa
  • Chemistry – for example, Na as you type sodi
  • Formulas – for example, P = FA as you type pres

If you don’t use a particular prediction type, disabling it will make Equatio’s prediction quicker and more likely to feature the suggestions that you want. For example, if you do not study chemistry, you should disable the Chemistry prediction option. Equatio will no longer search for chemical names or formulas as you type.

On the left of the window, click Toolbar Options.

The Toolbar Options page contains entries for each toolbar button.To remove a button from your toolbar, click its toggle. Removing buttons that you don’t need makes the toolbar simpler and easier to use. For example, if you do not use speech input, you should consider removing the Speech Input button.

Click Save to save changes and close the Options window.

Equation Editor

Click Equation Editor . The Equation Editor appears above the Equatio toolbar. It contains a single Math panel, which is a space for creating your math before adding it to your document.

To create simple math

    1. Type into the equation editor
    2. You can change change formatting such as the text colour
    3. You can add to Favourites
    4. You can clear the contents of the math pane
    5. When ready, you can Copy Math As and choose HTML, go to source code view in the Moodle Text Editor, paste in the code then return to the editor view.

Five drawers are available under the More button:

  1. General – buttons for bold, italic, underline, and strikethrough, as well as a shortcut for inserting a square root symbol.
  2. Symbols – common symbols such as greater than and not equals. This drawer also contains most of the Greek alphabet.
  3. Layout – layout forms such as vectors, matrices, column addition, and long division.
  4. Formulas – library of scientific formulas.
  5. My Favorites – any entries that you have added to your favorites are listed here.

You can use the Search bar below a drawer to search through its contents. If you know the name of the item you want, however, it is often quicker to use Equatio’s prediction; simply start typing the item’s name in the Math panel and it will appear in the prediction list.

You can press the / key to create a fraction, for example 1 / 4. After typing a denominator, press the right arrow key to move the cursor out of the the fraction. Alternatively, you can start typing fraction or over and accept the prediction to insert the framework for a fraction.

Creating multi-line math

If you enter a line of maths and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter, Equatio copies the current line to the line below. This makes it easy to work with more complex math without having to retype each line. Also, the Math panel now has a new toolbar, containing buttons to align your math and to add new columns and rows. Click the Align (Relation) button to align the math using the equals sign on each line. This can often be a neat way to align a solution.

Note: If you want to start a new line without copying the previous line, you can simply press Enter.

When you have finished typing, minimise the equation editor and put the cursor in the Moodle text editor then click Insert Math and then Save and return to course.

Using prediction

Open the equation editor:

  • Type xsq and watch a predictive menu appear. To insert the first item in the prediction list, simply press Enter. If you want one of the other items, you can either click it with the mouse or use the arrow keys to highlight it and then press Enter.
  • Instead of using prediction, you could select the xa (superscript) item from the More > Symbols This inserts an xa, which you can use as the basis for x2, x3, and so on.
  • To write the ÷ and √ symbols, start typing divide and square root (or just root) until you see the symbols appear in the prediction list. 
  • Alternatively, you can find them in the More > Symbols

Start typing the following into the Math panel and see what comes up in the prediction list:

  • Quadratic
  • velocity
  • avogadro
  • nitric
  • magnesium

Equatio’s prediction tool knows a huge range of equations from math, physics, and other STEM subjects. It also predicts constants, expressions, chemical formulas, and more. For a list of Equatio’s prediction items, go to http://text.help/EquatIOSpeech. If you want to type text without Equatio trying to make it into something else, you can use the Insert Text button. Remember that you can also turn off prediction for Math, Formulas, or Chemistry in Equatio’s Math Options.

Handwriting recognition

Using handwriting recognition 

Go to the text editor you wish to add content to, ensure the equation toolbar is visible and click the pen button for Handwriting Recognition:

  • Handwriting panel – this is where you write your math, using a finger or stylus to write directly on your touchscreen. You can also use your mouse, graphics tablet, etc.
  • Math panel – as you write math in the Handwriting panel, Equatio analyzes it and shows its results as “digital math” in the Math panel. This is the same Math panel that you’ve learned about already, with all its usual functions remaining available. 

For an overview of the main features for Handwriting Recognition, see the video tour: Equatio Feature Tour - Handwriting Recognition | Texthelp

Using context with handwritten math

Equatio will use positions, relative sizes, and whatever other information it can find to work out what you’re trying to write. For example, are you writing a cross or an x? A plus or a t

Equatio continuously analyzes possibilities as you write and attempts to choose the correct one. If it picks the wrong one, it’s easy for you to correct it in the Math panel.

Speech input

Equatio’s speech input enables you to dictate maths into your computer’s microphone and have it converted automatically into digital math:

  1. Click Speech Input
  2. Speech panel – as you dictate maths, Equatio writes what it has heard here. If Equatio is not recognising your math correctly, this helps you to understand why.
  3. Math panel – Equatio analyzes the maths in the Speech panel and shows its results as “digital math” in the Math panel. This is the same Math panel that you’ve learned about already, with all its usual functions remaining available.

When you click Start Speech Input  and dictate maths, note how the button changes to indicate that Equatio is recording, with three flashing green dots below it. Both the Speech panel and the Math panel feature dynamic content, that is, their contents will change as you continue speaking. This is because Equatio builds up more context as you speak, so it has a better understanding of the math that you are trying to dictate.

There are traffic light icons at the bottom right corner of the Equation Editor. When you are using Equatio’s speech input or handwriting recognition, these indicate how well Equatio can recognise your math:

Green – Equatio can read and edit the math you are creating. No further action is required.

Yellow – Equatio can read the math that you are creating, but you may need to fine tune it using the LaTeX or Math panel.

Red – Equatio found an error in your math that is preventing it from rendering correctly. You need to fix it using the LaTeX or Math panel.

Hover your pointer over the icon to see more information.

For an overview of all the main features for Speech Input, see the video tour: Equatio Feature Tour - Speech Input | Texthelp

LaTeX Editor

LaTeX is a system that uses tags and markup to produce structured documents. It is widely used in academia for scientific documents and includes a powerful engine for writing math. Many students (and teachers) learn LaTeX as part of their math, science, or engineering studies. Equatio includes a LaTeX editor so you can easily write and edit your math in LaTeX, with the results shown in real time.

LaTeX panel – this panel shows the LaTeX version of the selected math. You can use the LaTeX panel to edit any math created in Equatio.

Math panel – Equatio analyzes the math in the LaTeX panel and shows its results as “digital math” in the Math panel. This is the same Math panel that you’ve learned about already, with all its usual functions remaining available.

You can write your math in the LaTeX panel, the Math panel, or a combination of the two – whichever is easier for you. You can even start your math using speech input or handwriting recognition, then edit it using LaTeX.

For more details, see the LaTeX Editor feature tour.

Screenshot Reader

If you want to copy math that wasn’t created in Equatio, for example from a PDF worksheet or video, you can use the Screenshot Reader to “grab” it, read it aloud, and copy it into Equatio.

The Screenshot Reader works well for any source where the math is encoded as a picture or video, as long as it can be opened in Chrome.

When the Discoverability tool is active, Equatio highlights any math that it finds on your web pages. You can then use the Screenshot Reader to copy that math into Equatio.

The Discoverability button turns blue , to indicate that it is active, and Equatio draws blue boxes around any math it finds in the current web page. The Discoverability tool finds whatever math that it can – this includes math that is encoded as text, for example, or as an image with a LaTeX alt tag. It may not recognise math within a larger image, or with graphical annotations.

While the Discoverability tool is active, Equatio will continue to find and highlight math in any web page you open until you click the button again to turn it off.

When you hover your mouse pointer over one of the equations in the web page, the follwoing buttons appear at the top right of the blue rectangle:

  • What is this?
  • Capture Math
  • Disable Discoverability

For more details, see the Screenshot Reader feature tour.

Equatio Mobile

Equatio Mobile enables you to use your mobile device as an input tool for writing math. You may not have a touchscreen or camera on your laptop or desktop computer, but you’ll almost certainly have them on your phone or tablet. Equatio Mobile’s OCR is a great tool for copying math from a worksheet, textbook, or whiteboard:

  1. Click Equatio Mobile. A QR code appears above the Equatio toolbar which is compatible with Google Chrome on Android and Safari on IOS 11+.
  2. Scan the QR code with your mobile device’s camera (or any other app that supports QR codes).
  3. Open Chrome (Android) or Safari (iOS) and navigate directly to https://m.equat.io
  4. Equatio Mobile opens in your mobile device’s browser.
  5. You may be prompted to sign into the account, for example if you are using Equatio Mobile for the first time, or if you haven’t used that account before on your mobile device.

The Active Documents screen lists all your documents that are currently using Equatio. For a document to appear in the list, you must be editing it (on your computer) using the same account that you’re using for Equatio Mobile, with the Equatio toolbar open.  Equatio Mobile can insert math into Microsoft Word, Gmail, and many other websites such as Moodle that support text or image insertion. 

Math OCR

  1. Click Math OCR . If prompted, click Allow to give Equatio Mobile access to your mobile device’s camera.
  2. Equatio Mobile takes control of your mobile device’s camera.
  3. This may be useful if you’re writing a lot of maths – you can take photos of it all and upload each one in turn.
  4. Tap and then select Save as math.
  5. Equatio Mobile processes your image and shows it as digital math.
  6. Instead of saving your image as digital maths, you can select Save as image to insert your math as a picture, without any processing. You can use the Screenshot Reader to turn it into digital maths later. Check that the maths matches what you originally wrote down. If it doesn’t, either try again or make a note to correct it later using Equatio’s Math or LaTeX panel.
  7. When you are happy with the math, click Upload.
  8. Equatio inserts the math into your document and shows a confirmation message on your mobile device.

Using mobile handwriting recognition

  1. After selecting your Moodle page in Equatio Mobile, tap the Handwriting Recognition button and then draw the math on your mobile device.
  2. After you have drawn the math, continue with Equatio Mobile until it has been processed and inserted.

Using mobile speech input

  1. After selecting your Moodle content in Equatio Mobile, tap the Speech Input button  and then dictate the math into your mobile device.
  2. Note that you may have to allow Equatio Mobile access to your mobile device’s microphone.
  3. After you have dictated the math, continue with Equatio Mobile until it has been processed and inserted.

Speech input can be tricky, as you have to formulate math in your head and then dictate it without pausing for too long. It can be useful for simple math, however, especially if you have it written down in front of you but cannot use OCR.

For more details on Equatio Mobile, see the Equatio Mobile feature tour.

Graph Editor

The Graph Editor is powered by the Desmos Graphing Calculator, a leading graphing calculator with a simple interface that makes it easy to set up graphs and investigate them in real-time.

For a video introduction to creating graphs in Equatio, see the Graph Editor feature tour.

For more in-depth knowledge of creating and working with graphs, visit the Desmos Help Center. This contains comprehensive instructions, tutorials, user guides, and more.

When using the full online version of the Desmos Graphing Calculator, you can save a graph under your Desmos account and export it using a simple URL. You then can paste that URL into Equatio’s Graph Editor.


At its simplest, Equatio mathspace is a digital whiteboard tool that helps you add diagrams alongside your math.

Mathspaces are also flexible collaborative workspaces that teachers can use to:

  • Work on maths with their students
  • Create and send out assignments
  • Collate and grade assignments
  • Send feedback to their students

Mathspaces make it easy for students to complete their assignments. Having all their assignments in one place, complete with feedback, makes it easy for them to review and keep track of their work.

Further info: Equatio mathspace learning resources on Texthelp Academy.

This video shows how you can send assignments to your students, receive their answers, and send feedback back to them: https://academy.texthelp.com/equatio/mathspace-assignments/

Using a standalone mathspace for an assignment gives you interactive options that simply aren’t possible with paper worksheets. 

Your students can move items around in the mathspace – for example, you could provide a set of answers and ask students to drag them to the corresponding questions. Or you could include a stack of coins in the mathspace and ask students to put a certain amount into a piggy bank.

This video shows how you can use Equatio mathspace’s Infinite Cloner tool to make it easy for students to use pre-set items in their answers: https://academy.texthelp.com/equatio/infinite-cloner/.

This video shows how you can lock items that you don’t want your students to be able to move: https://youtu.be/LRnSnCAVMio.

STEM Tools

To see Equatio’s STEM tools, click STEM Tools then one of the following buttons:

a. Periodic Table

Each element is displayed with its symbol and atomic number, as well as its full name if your window is large enough. The information window includes a picture (or diagram) of the element, its properties, and a description, with a link to the element’s Wikipedia page.

b. Scientific Calculator

Equatio’s Scientific Calculator is the Desmos Scientific Calculator, which is used widely in US exams. The Scientific Calculator enables you to build complex calculations using scientific operators and functions. It supports fractions and can show answers as either decimals or fractions.

c. Molecular Viewer

The Molecular Viewer shows the structure of a particular molecule.

For a video introduction to each of these tools, see the STEM Tools feature tour.

Further information