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Math, Maps, Charts, and Graphs in First Draft
Thursday, July 7, 2016

First Draft's main focus is on textual content generation; however, because some clients request (or require) supplemental graphs alongside the text that they've commissioned, the software also generates a few visual treats such as tables and graphs. The previous imagery in the software was, admittedly, a bit dull, as it was created with plain ol' ASCII code. That meant no colors, no shading, and no fancy formatting.

Today, First Draft not only generates the same tables and graphs (plus a few more), it additionally generates typographical math equations. And there's nothing to download to access them.

The only thing writers need to fill an article with colorful charts, graphs, maps and/or math equations in First Draft is a reason to use them and a knowledge of the subject. (Well, that and some other stuff described below.) Here are a few examples:

Math Equations

Math equations are a perfect complement to First Draft's Research Report generator. Represented as a graphic, they help visual thinkers better understand the science behind the content.

`sum_(I=1)^n I^3=((n(n+1))/2)^2`

Maps

Maps provide a great visual reference for content that addresses the social sciences.

Charts & Graphs

Charts and graphs provide a nice summary of facts, numbers and other types of data.

Notes

If any of this stuff looks familiar, chances are you've encountered the same types of visuals on the Internet somewhere. That's because the visuals that you see above are made from the MathJax Team and Google's Charts Tools.

As such, writers who already know how to manipulate these resources can quickly spruce up any document by (1) changing the values of a formula or chart that was inserted from the "Article Part" menu, (2) manually typing a formula into an article (results are shown in First Draft's Proof tab), or (3) visiting the MathJax Team or Google's Charts Tools website, creating an accurate visual, copying the resulting HTML code, and then pasting it into First Draft's Edit area.

Do note that these visuals only work from First Draft's HTML Proof tab and an external API, so an internet connection is required to access them. For plain formulas, that is, mathematical expressions that don't require a fancy format or any variables, nothing additional is required at all. And if you like, you can even solve a numerical expression right inside an open article. Simply highlight it, right click, and then select "Calculated Selected."

Fun!

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