Navigate Symbol Mode

If you're using Symbol Mode to submit your response to a question, you'll insert your functions, operators, and symbols using the Equation Editor.

Blank Equation Editor with a range of available symbol palettes to choose from.

You can navigate the Equation Editor entry field using your mouse or keyboard keys.

There are also keyboard shortcuts that you can use for faster response entry within the Equation Editor field.

TIP: Check out View available Symbol Mode palettes to learn about the possible symbol palettes that you can use during Symbol Mode math entry.

TIP: Don't want to use Symbol Mode? Check out Choose a math entry mode to see how to switch to Text Mode for your responses.

Use your mouse

You can use your mouse to click and place your cursor wherever you want to edit within the Equation Editor field.

The cursor is placed at the denominator of an a over b fraction.

Use your keyboard

Press the left, right, up, or down arrow keys to navigate through each character of your response in the Equation Editor field.

Press Tab to forward navigate to placeholders.

A placeholder letter is highlighted near the end of a long expression by using the right arrow key to navigate through the entire expression.

Press Shift+Tab to backward navigate to placeholders.

A placeholder letter is highlighted near the beginning of a long expression by using the Shift + Tab keys to navigate backwards through the expression.

Symbol Mode shortcuts

There are keyboard shortcuts that you can use when entering your responses in Symbol Mode within the Equation Editor.

With your cursor in the Equation Editor field, you can use the following keyboard shortcuts:

Keyboard shortcut Description
Ctrl + Spacebar Symbol completion
Tab Cycles your cursor through the blank positions in an expression
Shift + ^ (caret) Superscript
Shift + _ (underscore) Subscript
/ (backslash) Fraction
Ctrl + ' (apostrophe) Underscript
Ctrl + Shift + " (quotations) Overscript
sqrt (and then symbol completion) Square root
nthroot (and then symbol completion) Root
Ctrl + Shift + ^ Pre-superscript
Ctrl + Shift + _ Pre-subscript
Ctrl + / Return cursor to baseline

TIP: Click Quick Helpto access the shortcut menu from right inside the Equation Editor.

The "Quick Help" button within the Equation Editor is a grey question mark button after the "Delete" icon.

TIP: Symbol completion (Ctrl + Spacebar) is used for the quick replacement of symbol name text with its actual symbol. To use the symbol replacement shortcut:

  • You can type out the full name of the symbol you want to use. If the symbol name transitions from (A) italics to (B) plain font, you can press Ctrl + Spacebar and the (C) actual symbol will automatically replace the entered text (Example — entering alpha and using the symbol completion shortcut will automatically insert a):

Comparison of three Equation Editor fields. The first field shows "alph" in italics, the second field shows "alpha" in plain text, and the third field shows the alpha symbol inserted.

  • Some symbols only require the (D) first few letters of the name of the symbol to be entered for the (E) symbol completion (Ctrl + Spacebar) to be used (Example — entering alp and using the symbol completion shortcut will automatically insert a):

Comparison of two Equation Editor fields. The first field shows "alp" in italics, the second field shows alpha symbol inserted.

  • If more than one completion option is available for the text that's entered, use your mouse or up and down arrow keys to select the desired symbol from the symbol completion drop-down list (Example — entering al and using the symbol completion shortcut will reveal all potential symbols relating to the text entry of al):