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I'm looking for a package that does for algebra what word processing software did for writing:

When I learned to type, my writing improved greatly because my fingers were closer to keeping up with my mind.

Similarly I think that students will be more willing to enter intermediate steps in solving problems if they can type math faster than they write it.

The package should in addition have drawing ability to make simple diagrams, and have the text formatting/editing ability roughly equivalent to the common rich text JavaScript modules commonly seen on forums.

It should be possible to create equations either through mouse or keyboard.

I think I'm looking for something that is a subset of LaTeX.

Added bonus: The ability to do simple symbolic consistency checks: for example, in a solution requiring several steps is each line a valid restatement of the previous line.

I am willing to consider a Windows program or Linux program running in a virtual machine, but I would prefer a Mac or iOS application.

The key feature is speed. A user must be able to get the same sort of speed increase using this software as learning to type overcomes the slowness of handwriting.

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Software recommendation questions are always a tricky thing, especially with a very clearly defined scope like in this question. There might be solutions out there which only partially fulfill your requirements but there is no way of knowing whether they would match your needs. Also, we can't do your homework for you, so can you please add the things you already did to find an answer yourself and why the tools found that way did not match your needs? –  patrix Aug 14 '13 at 4:55
    
Maybe this helps: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/122724/… –  Ricardo Sánchez-Sáez Aug 16 '13 at 10:31
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This one doesn't look too bad either: hostmath.com –  Ricardo Sánchez-Sáez Aug 16 '13 at 10:45
    
Both Mathematica and MathType claim to support some handwriting recognition in Windows 7, which sounds like it has the feature built-in. I haven't tried either of them though in W7. –  alexwlchan Aug 16 '13 at 16:29
    
I have some more thoughts on writing maths electronically, and why I’m generally not convinced that it confers the same benefit as it does for writing prose, but I need more time to clarify them and to write them down properly. (Suffice to say: I am sceptical as to whether such a solution exists.) –  alexwlchan Aug 16 '13 at 16:30

1 Answer 1

On Windows, there is the Math-o-mir software. It should be able to provide all you asked for (rapid math typing, keyboard and mouse entry, basic CAS), but it requires some learning time to achieve speeds comparable to pencil-and-paper.

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I will take a look at it. I expect good tools to have a learning curve. You didn't learn how to type overnight. Indeed, it took a lot of primary school to even use a pencil, and many of us still don't use it well. –  Sherwood Botsford Dec 3 '13 at 14:59

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