math symbolsUse real symbols, not alphabetic characters

If you need math sym­bols in­fre­quently—some light ad­di­tion and sub­trac­tion, the oc­ca­sional neg­a­tive num­ber—you can get by with­out spe­cial sym­bols. Use the plus sign (+) and equals sign (=) as usual. Use the en dash as a mi­nus sign () (see hy­phens and dashes).

If you need to do mul­ti­pli­ca­tion or be­yond, in­sert real math sym­bols by hand.

12 x 34 - 56 = 352wrong
12 × 34 − 56 = 352right
How to insert math symbols

WordInsertSymbols panel → SymbolMore Symbols

Mac OS Word 2011InsertSymbolAdvanced Symbol

Mac OS Word 2016Insert menu → Advanced Symbol

by the way
  • The mul­ti­pli­ca­tion sym­bol is also prop­erly part of di­men­sional notations.

    8.5″ x 14″wrong
    8.5″ × 14″right
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