How to Insert Matrix Square Brackets in Word Documents

Updated April 17, 2017

Matrices are used in math, physics and computer science to represent an arrangement of numbers, equations or symbols. Often, matrices need to be manipulated, added, subtracted, multiplied or analysed in some way. Because a matrix is simply a table of numbers, it is usually easy to enter numbers without resorting to special math software, and you can do so easily in Word. However, you need to add large brackets on either side of your matrix to complete it.

Open Word to a new document or open an existing document to which you want to add brackets.

Click the "Insert" tab on the ribbon, then click "Shapes" and select the left bracket from the "Basic Shapes" section. A black cross appears.

Click and drag down and left to expand it. Repeat the process to add the right bracket. Adjust the bracket as needed by clicking it and dragging one of the handles. You can also nudge the brackets by using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

Click the "Format" tab, then select a different colour or line weight for your brackets.


There is an easy way to create a matrix by inserting a table first. Click "Insert" on the ribbon and click "Table." Select the number of columns and rows you need. Enter data in each cell. Right-click the table and select "Borders and Shading." Select "None" to remove lines from your table and click "OK." Add the square brackets to either side of the table.

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About the Author

Danielle Cort has been a freelance writer since 2008, specializing in psychology, health, education and parenting. She has published articles in "Family" magazine. Before becoming a freelance writer, Cort worked in the public policy research sector, conducting research, creating surveys and budgets. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in social psychology from the University of Massachusetts.