MathPlayer User Manual
This manual describes how to use MathPlayer 4 to view and speak web pages
containing math, as well as MathPlayer's usefulness with other products such as
Word and PowerPoint. For additional details on creating your own math web pages, see
MathPlayer and MathML Technology.
MathPlayer can make documents more accessible by providing a means for
assistive technology such as screen readers and screen magnifiers to speak,
navigate, and convert to braille math in those documents. As an example
MathPlayer works with NV Access' NonVisual Desktop (NVDA) to provide access to
the math in Firefox, Internet Explorer, Word and PowerPoint for Windows
(MathType is also required to read math in Word and PowerPoint).
MathPlayer can also work with Internet Explorer in Enterprise Mode to display
the math in web pages
MathML is a way of encoding mathematics using XML, developed under that
auspices of the W3C (World Wide Web
Consortium), the group that sets the basic standards that define the web. Just
as HTML is the computer language in which web pages are written, the math in a
web page is written in the MathML language. When you browse to a web page
containing MathML, Internet Explorer gives it to MathPlayer to display as
standard math notation such as you would find in a textbook. A
growing number of software packages including browsers, editors, computer
algebra programs and publishing software use MathML to communicate. Unlike other
ways of putting math in a web page, such as images and PDFs, MathML provides
ways to directly encode various interactivity properties of an equation, which
makes it an ideal choice for dynamic math on the web. Design Science has played
a leading role in developing this important technology. Consult
About MathML for more
information and related resources.
MathPlayer is available as a free download from our website. If you want to uninstall MathPlayer, use
the Add/Remove Programs section of the Windows Control Panel.
MathPlayer with Firefox
With NV Access' NonVisual Desktop (NVDA), you can speak and braille math in
MathPlayer with Word and PowerPoint
MathPlayer 4 speaks, navigates, and brailles math with NV Access'
NonVisual Desktop (NVDA) in
Microsoft Word & PowerPoint. MathType is required for this
capability. Speech and navigation also work with Ai Squared's
Window-Eyes software. See our separate page for
MathPlayer Navigation Commands in Word.
During installation, MathPlayer adds a tab to the ribbon in Word and
PowerPoint 2007 and later, 32-bit Office only. This is the tab from Word 2016. Its appearance is the
same in other versions of Word, and in PowerPoint:
MathPlayer with Internet Explorer
Displaying math in Internet Explorer (IE) makes use of an IE feature that
allows programs to participate in the layout of the page. However, Microsoft
removed that feature in IE11 and so MathPlayer can only run in a legacy mode
called Enterprise Mode. You can turn on Enterprise Mode from the IE Tools menu.
The shortcut is "Alt+T, Alt+R, Enter". You only need to do this once per page
you wish to view, as the mode setting will be remembered the next time you visit
the page. Note: Enterprise Mode will not appear as an item in the Tools
menu unless MathPlayer 4 is installed.
See additional information about using MathPlayer in IE on our
MathPlayer and MathML Technology page.
Users of Internet Explorer who have visual or learning disabilities use screen reader software
packages that speak the words on the page. Many of the most popular Windows
screen readers, such as NVDA, Window-Eyes, JAWS, HAL, Supernova, Serotek System Access, MAGic, Read & Write
and BrowseAloud, will work
with MathPlayer to speak the math in the page along with the words.
When viewing math in Internet Explorer, almost all of MathPlayer's special features are accessed by placing the mouse
pointer over an equation and clicking the right mouse button. This brings up
MathPlayer's menu. Most of the commands operate on the equation you clicked on. In
addition, there are commands to configure MathPlayer Settings, find out MathPlayer's version, and to visit the
MathPlayer web site.
The Copy MathML command puts the equation's MathML code onto
the Windows "clipboard". The MathML text can be pasted into a text editor (e.g.,
Notepad), an HTML editor (e.g., Dreamweaver or Expression Web), computer algebra system (e.g.,
Maple or Mathematica), or other application that understands MathML, such as
MathType. If your favorite calculation or mathematical program
doesn't accept MathML, contact the publisher of that software package and
request that MathML support be added.
The Speak Expression command causes the equation to be spoken through
your computer's sound system using Design Science's math-to-speech algorithms.
Most assistive technology works
with MathPlayer, so if you are using such technology, the expression will
seamlessly be spoken by your software, and there is no need to use this command. more>
The Show Braille command shows the braille for the MathML expression in a
dialog window. This is for demonstration purposes only. If your screen reader
makes use of MathPlayer's braille capabilities, the braille will show up on your
refreshable braille display. MathPlayer makes use of third party
MathML-to-braille translators and can translate math into several different
braille math codes. See MathPlayer Settings to set the braille math
code to be generated.
In the Show Braille dialog, you can choose which translator to use if more than
one is installed on your machine (only Liblouis
is installed by MathPlayer).
Choose the MathZoom™ command to get a closer look at the equation.
This can be handy to view small scripts and accents. The MathZoom command changes
to Unzoom on a zoomed equation, so to bring the equation back
down to normal size, choose Unzoom. A single mouse click in an equation will
toggle the zoomed state. Clicking a zoomed equation while depressing the Shift
key will unzoom all equations in the page. Note: If the equation
contains interactive parts that respond to mouse clicks, zoom/unzoom can only be
performed using the menu commands.
The MathPlayer on the Web sub-menu contains commands for sending your
web browser directly to the MathPlayer website.
- MathPlayer Home Page… Opens the
MathPlayer home page.
- Online Support… Opens the
tech support area of the MathPlayer
website, where we have tech support notices and other links that will
help solve problems and provide information on compatibility with other
- Send Feedback… Opens the
Design Science feedback page.
This page allows you to inform Design Science about your experiences with
MathPlayer or to request future enhancements. If you have a problem using
MathPlayer or a bug to report, please visit our online tech support area
- Automatic Version Checking. When checked, this allows MathPlayer
to check to see if a newer version is available. This check is performed
once per session, and no personal information is collected.
When you choose MathPlayer Settings from the contextual menu, the
MathPlayer Settings dialog opens, from which you can set MathPlayer's
options (described below).
MathPlayer only works with MathJax in Internet Explorer. When viewing a web page
in IE and MathJax
detects MathPlayer, it hands over rendering to MathPlayer because MathPlayer is
much faster and MathPlayer is accessible. This is typically done automatically.
However, some configurations of MathJax disable this automatic handover. If this
happens, you can force MathJax to use MathML for that site. To do so:
- Right click
- Choose: MathSettings:MathRenderer:MathML
- When you do so, you may get a dialog saying "Internet Explorer requires
the MathPlayer plugin in order to process MathML output. Switch the renderer
anyway?" You must click or tap "OK" in order to switch to MathPlayer. Also
keep in mind the restrictions above with regard to using MathPlayer in IE11.
If you wish to get MathPlayer's contextual menu, you can do so by
- Right click
- Choose: MathSettings:MathPlayer:Menu Events
Once you switch to MathPlayer's contextual menu, you can temporarily switch
to MathJax's menu by Alt+clicking an equation. This is a one-at-a-time switch.
Once you dismiss the MathJax menu, subsequent right-clicks will result in the
MathPlayer menu being displayed. You can switch the default contextual menu back to MathJax's menu by performing a similar procedure:
- Choose: MathSettings:MathPlayer:Menu Events
MathPlayer Settings Dialog
Clicking MathPlayer Settings... on the contextual menu, or
clicking Settings on the MathPlayer tab in Word or PowerPoint
will launch the MathPlayer Settings Dialog. This dialog contains three tabs,
from which you can tweak MathPlayer's options.
- Generate speech for: Clicking on Blindness changes
MathPlayer's speech so that fractions, roots, superscripts, etc., are
bracketed with words such as "fraction…end fraction". For those with
some sight, choosing Learning
disabilities or Low vision produces speech without those bracketing
words. There is currently no difference between Learning disabilities and
Low vision. We provide the Learning disabilities setting for
- Language: The default value is the system's default language. The
dropdown lists all languages for which we have a translation (currently 15).
It also has "(document language)" which means MathPlayer uses the language declared in
the document. You must have a speech engine capable of speaking in
the chosen language. Some assistive technology may override these settings
and use settings in their software.
- Speech style: The style of speech MathPlayer uses when speaking
math. For English, we have three: Clear Speak, MathSpeak, and Simple Speech. For other
languages, there is only one. We anticipate adding more styles in future releases. The
default value is Simple Speech.
- Clear Speak: The goal of Clear Speak is to create rules for
synthetic speech for math expressions typical of high school-level Algebra
that produce speech that is similar to speech used in typical classrooms.
See the ClearSpeak section of our website for more
- MathSpeak: Speaks math in a manner that closely follows the
Nemeth code. See
the gh MathSpeak™ page for more information.
- Simple Speech: Speaks common, simple expressions such as 1/x
without extra words. More complicated expressions will have begin/end words
to clearly disambiguate where the notation begins and ends.
- Speech amount: Controls amount of speech used
to speak an expression. If you are an expert, you might prefer a "Terse"
reading but if you are learning math or don't use it frequently, you might
want to choose "Full". Default:
Full. Other values are Medium and Terse.
- Subject area to be used…: Adds specialized rules for the
given subject area. Many notations are ambiguous and selecting a subject
area helps MathPlayer generate more appropriate speech for that subject
area. This list currently allows only a single selection. The default
value is General. Other values are Geometry, Probability
and Statistics, and Calculus.
- Speech for Chemical Formulas: Three choices. The first choice,
Spell it out, would read the formula as a human might -- "H 2 O", for
example. As Compound will read common compounds with their names, and
less-common compounds will be spelled-out. Finally, if this option is Off,
the formula would be read similarly to a math formula, using the rules
chosen in the Speech style section.
- Navigation mode to use when beginning to navigate an equation:
- Enhanced. Navigation is by mathematically meaningful pieces
(operators, delimiters, and operands).
- Simple. This moves by words except when you get to a 2D
notation (fractions, roots, ...), then it speaks the entire notation.
Zooming in lets you explore the 2D notation in the same mode. Zooming
out or moving out of the 2D notation brings you back to the outer/higher
level of navigation.
- Character. This is actually two useful modes -- word mode and
character mode (zoom in to get "real" character mode). Moves by
words/characters. The two modes differ when you are navigating numbers
with more than one digit and function names that are multiple
word and character navigation is the same.
- Reset navigation mode on entry to an expression. If checked,
MathPlayer will use the selected mode of navigation. If unchecked, it
will use the most recently used navigation mode. Example:
Nav mode is set to enhanced. The author enters an expression into the
document, starts navigating, and switches to character mode via the
keyboard shortcut. She exits the expression and begins navigating the
next expression. If the Reset box is checked,
MathPlayer's nav move when it enters the expression is enhanced.
If unchecked, the nav mode is character, since this is the mode
the author had set when navigating the previous expression.
- Navigation speech to use when beginning to navigate an equation:
- Speak. MathPlayer will speak the entire expression
when entering the expression.
- Describe/overview. MathPlayer will describe where
you are in the expression as you navigate -- for example, "root" -- then
when you find the part you want MathPlayer to speak, you can toggle the
navigation mode with the Shift+spacebar shortcut. You can read (speak) or
describe an expression without toggling the mode anytime by pressing the spacebar
(read current) or "Ctrl+Shift+spacebar" (describe current).
- Reset navigation speech on entry to an expression. If checked,
MathPlayer will use the selected navigation speech. If unchecked, it will
use the most recently used navigation speech. Example: Nav
speech is set to "Speak". Someone reading the document enters an expression
and starts navigating. He switches from "Speak" to "Describe" with the
keyboard shortcut. He exits this expression and begins navigating the next
expression. If the Reset box is checked, the nav speech he
starts with is "Speak" mode. If unchecked, the nav mode he starts with is
"Describe" mode, which is the mode he had been using with the previous math
- Speech amount for navigation: Controls echoing of navigation
- Terse. You will hear "zoomed in/out all of the way" and
"start/end of math", as well as the math itself.
- Medium. Same as Terse, plus "zoom in/out".
- Full. Same as Medium, plus "move left/right".
- Automatic zoom out of 2D notations: When unchecked, moving
farther left or right when at the edge of a math structure will not result
in any movement; the position will remain there, and the audible response
will be "end of denominator" if in a fraction, or whatever the appropriate
response is for other structures. If checked, the navigation of the current
structure ends, and navigation "zooms out" to the previous level. Navigation
will continue to zoom out as many times as needed until it reaches something
There is only one item on the Braille tab:
- Braille math code for refreshable displays: Currently supported
codes are Nemeth, Marburg, UKMaths, and Woluwe.