How Do I Make a Fraction in OpenOffice?

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OpenOffice 4 includes Math, a program for laying out mathematical expressions and inserting them into other OpenOffice programs. This tool places a fraction's numerator directly above its denominator without altering a document's line breaks. Adding fractions works identically across most programs in OpenOffice -- Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw all use the same method.

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(Image courtesy Apache)
Step 1

Open the "Insert" menu in an OpenOffice program, such as Writer, and click "Object" and then "Formula" to open both the Elements window and a formula editor beneath your document.

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Image courtesy Apache
Step 2

Click "Division (Fraction)" on the Elements window. Its icon looks like a fraction with "a" directly on top of "b." Alternatively, choose "Division (Slash)," which looks like "a/b," if you want the numerator and denominator of your fraction written on the same horizontal line.

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Image courtesy Apache
Step 3

Delete the first "<?>" in the formula editor beneath the main page and type the numerator for your fraction. Replace the second "<?>" with the denominator. Click to the right of the final bracket and type any numbers or variables that follow the fraction. For example, to create the fraction "(2x/5)y," the formula would read "{2x} over {5}y."

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Image courtesy Apache
Step 4

Click in the main body of the document to close the formula editor. In Writer, math elements fit in line with surrounding text. If you want manually to drag the fraction to a new location, right-click the fraction, choose "Anchor" and pick "To Paragraph." In other OpenOffice programs, you can drag fractions to reposition them without this step.

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Image courtesy Apache

Tips & Warnings

  • A few basic fractions, including "1/2" and "3/4," automatically change formats to look like fractions when you type them in Writer. These automatic fractions look different from the fractions created in Math, however, so using both methods in one document creates an inconsistent look.
  • If you don't see the Elements window after inserting a formula, open the "View" menu and pick "Elements."
  • Create a mixed fraction by placing a number before the first bracket of the formula, such as "2{1} over {2}."
  • Double click an existing fraction to edit its contents.
  • Inserting fractions in OpenOffice requires OpenOffice Math. If you chose to only install specific programs when you downloaded the suite and excluded Math, you need to run the installer again to add Math.

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