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D2L - Using the Equation Editor

This article describes how to use the equation editor in D2L.

General Instructions

The equation editor is embedded in the HTML editor that is available in a variety of tools where editing is done. The HTML editor is invoked whenever a document is opened (e.g. course topic, discussion post, or news item) for editing.

There are three available methods of input for equations: the Graphical Editor, LaTeX, and MathML.

  • Graphical Editor

    The Graphical Editor enables visual creation of mathematical equations. This straightforward input method allows for quick creation of equations. The way the equation looks when it is being created is the same way the equation displays to users.

  • LaTeX

    LaTeX is a document typesetting language that provides a text syntax for mathematical formulas. An equation is entered in LaTeX format.

  • MathML

    MathML is an internet standard adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for the storage and display of mathematical equations. It uses XML to describe mathematical notation by capturing its structure and content. An equation is entered as a MathML command.

Use the equation editor in the HTML editor.

  1. Place the cursor in the document where an equation should be inserted.

  2. Select the 'Graphical Equation' icon (Σ) in the tool bar to open the Graphical Editor or select the method of your choice from the drop-down by this icon.

    This image highlights the Sigma symbol Σ in the graphical equation editor.

  3. Enter the equation according to the input method as described in the Entering an Equation section below.

  4. Press the Insert button in the lower right corner to insert the equation and return to the HTML editor.

  5. Within the HTML editor, there is a yellow box with a Sigma symbol (Σ) in the middle where the equation has been inserted. Before saving and exiting the HTML editor, press the Preview icon to view the actual equation alog with the rest of the document.
Create additional equations in the document by following the above steps. Before closing the HTML editor, remember to save the document by pressing either: Save, Publish, Update, or Revert to Draft.

Entering an Equation

Enter an equation according to the input method selected:

Graphical Editor

The Insert Equation interface contains this:

Image is the insert equation interface.

  • Create the equation in the equation area (large white box) using nay of the available symbols and operators made accessible by clicking a tabbed page in the toolbar at the top of the Equation Editor.

  • Each tabbed page opens a palette of related mathematical symbols.

  • The first tabbed page also contains some controls to edit or format the equation:

Editing Controls

Edit controls

Controls to Format Selected Text

Format selected text controls.

  • Equations are built up out of templates. Create a new template by clicking on its button in the toolbar.

  • Blank templates have 'slots' represented by small squares that can be filled in. To select a slot, click on it with the mouse, or use the 'Tab' key to cycle between empty slots.

  • Highlight an expression, and then click on a template, the highlighted expression will automatically be placed in the main template slot.
  • Switch to MathML input mode by selecting the Toggle graphical / MathML editor (</>) control near the lower right corner.
  • The palettes for the available buttons are shown in the section Equation Editor Buttons below.

The Insert Equation interface contains this:

LaTeX interface.

  • Click the Which LaTeX commands are supported? button to find out which commands are supported by the application.

  • Enter supported LaTeX commands in the under LaTeX Equation.

  • Look at the preview of the equation displayed and modify the LaTeX commands as needed.

  • After doing so, the Insert Equation interface will look like this:

    LaTeX insert equation example.

The Insert Equation interface contains this:

MathML interface.

  • Enter supported MathML tags in the box under MathML Equation.

  • Press the Generate a Preview button to preview the equation and modify the MathML tags as needed.

  • After doing so, the Insert Equation interface will look like this:

    MathML equation example.

  • Switch to Graphical Editor input mode by selecting the Toggle graphical / MathML editor (</>) control.

Editing and Existing Equation

  • To edit an edit an existing equation in a document, go to the equation and select the following from the toolbar:
    •  Graphical Equation icon (Σ).
    • MathML Equation icon  (<Σ>).
    • LaTeX Equation icon (\Σ).
  • The Edit Equation interface will open using the format that was used to create the equation.
  • Modify and save the equation by pressing the Insert button.

Equation Editor Buttons

The palettes for the buttons in the Graphical Editor are show below:


General palette of editor buttons. Symbols Symbols palette. Arrows Arrows palette Greek Letters Greek letters palette Matrices Matrices palette
  • When a matrix is present and selected, a Properties tab appears at the right providing a way to insert or remove rows and columns.
Properties for Matrices Matix properties. Controls to Insert/Remove Rows/Columns Controls for rows and columns Scripts and Layouts Scripts layouts palette Decorations Decoartions palette Big Operators Big operators palette Calculus Calculus palette


As of March 6th, the license for the D2L Graphical Equation Editor has expired. This has led to reduced functionality. 
  • Students and instructors can create new equations using the graphical editor but...
    • existing equations created with the Graphical Equation Editor cannot be re-edited, and
    • all equation preview from the HTML editor do not work.
  • Below the editor, a red warning appears which states, "This product has an invalid license!"


We can offer the current workarounds:

  • Edit an equation that was created with the Graphical Equation editor. 
    • View HTML source and edit MathML directly.
  • Create a new equation with preview.
    • Both MathML and LaTeX editors provide previews. Click the down arrow to the right of the sigma ("Σ") icon in the HTML Editor.
    • Click Generate a preview in the MathML editor to see the equation.
    • LaTeX equations are previewed automatically.
  • Edit an existing equation created with MathML or LaTeX.
    • Highlight the sigma placeholder in the HTML editor.
    • Click the down arrow to the right of the sigma ("Σ") icon in the HTML editor.
    • Choose the editor used to create the equation.

Keywords:d2l brightspace graphical equation editor   Doc ID:83349
Owner:Help Desk K.Group:UW-Milwaukee Help Desk
Created:2018-07-03 14:17 CSTUpdated:2019-04-01 12:04 CST
Sites:UW-Milwaukee Help Desk
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