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/docs/community?hl=en
2/4/11
Original Poster
MrAlan

Appearance of equations in print documents look unusable for professional documents...

Adding the feature to enter and edit equations without the use of code has been a major upgrade to google documents and opens the option to using google documents for the creation of equation intensive documents.  However, sharing those documents in a setting which requires good appearance of equations seems impossible with the current implementation.

I have tried viewing and printing documents with equations created with google documents using firefox 4 beta 9 & 3.6, google chrome 8 & 9, and internet explorer 8 & 9.  The equations look acceptable in the google documents editor, but they look larger than necessary and blurry in the printed documents.  This is a major impediment in using google documents to produce a document with equations for some use other than personal reference.

Is there some way to control the appearance of printed or outputted equations in google documents?
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All Replies (6)
Bas Braams
2/4/11
Bas Braams
Yes, the appearance of equations, even the simplest ones, in pdf or printed output from a Doc is plain awful. This is true even if one uses all settings as per default, so Arial 11pt for text, and standard size paper; the equations come out almost two times larger (relative to the surrounding text) than it appeared on the screen. Simple demonstration for other readers: Open a new document, leave the settings at their default, and type: "Text [0\leq x\leq 1] and more text" where the square brackets are meant to indicate entering and leaving equation mode. It looks fine on the screen. Then do File > Print preview. I suspect that this issue has stopped many people from using GDocs for scientific or technical text, and therefore some other quite basic issues with equations are not much noticed. There is no way to write a multi-line equation except as two separate equations, breaking the structure and making alignment next to impossible. Standard numbering (centered equation with label at right) can't be done in any sufferable way, and I don't mean automatic numbering, I just mean the layout. In any kind of applied science one all the times needs to use a roman font (expressions such as T<sub>in</sub>, T<sub>out</sub> where T is a mathematical variable and in and out are ordinary words) and this too cannot be done in a sufferable way; one would need to point-and-click from the special symbols menu and so one has to give up on the roman font.
wellsb
2/6/11
wellsb
This is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed.

If you have equations in a table, even if they are sized to fit the cells in the document, they may be rendered poorly when printed and will overlap across the cells and over eachother.
Mr. Sin
3/2/11
Mr. Sin
I acknowledges the above issues as I am setting up and  proofing the prints- equations do look good in GD, be it a bit small when you \frac and super/subscripts; they do not fit, too big, when printed.

In addition to the above:
1) The font size of the equations are unadjusted on print. They adjust in GD only. Or so it seems to me (Chrome + pdf soft-printer)
2) The print resolution of GD equations appears to be low res(72dpi?) and are clearly not as crisp as reg. texts. I assume that the mechanism prints it like a webpage, thus the resolutions of pictures are those of the web. IMO the quality is OK for student/personal/non-professional/in-house use. Unusable for professional documents.
Mr. Sin
3/2/11
Mr. Sin
Re: equations in table looking odd
Compensate by manually adjust column width/page margins according to print-out. It helps.
3/2/11
Original Poster
MrAlan
The problem seems to be in the conversion of the google document to a pdf or printer.  As Mr. Sin said, the font size of the equations aren't adjusted for printing and the resolution is low.  An update here would greatly improve the look of technical documents being produced in google documents.  If you're going to go through the trouble of making a document with equations, why settle for a sloppy document?  Appearance is important when producing documentation.
sbanders
3/19/11
sbanders
I had the same issue and stumbled upon the following workaround:

In Chrome for Mac, select "File -> Print" from the browser's menu bar at the top of the screen rather than from the "File -> Print" option within the Docs window itself.  I was also able to create a nice PDF using the "Save as PDF" option within the system Print dialog.
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