| TechNote #117:
Locating Symbols not found in MathType Symbol Palettes
The information in this document applies to:
MathType 6.x (Windows & Mac)
Since mathematics makes use of many different symbols, finding a particular
symbol is a common task for MathType users. MathType's symbol palettes contain
the symbols most commonly used in math but MathType can also make use of the
many other symbols present in the fonts on your computer. This note describes
techniques for finding them and using them in your equations. If a symbol
is one you think you might need often, there are techniques described here to
put it on MathType's toolbar or assign a keyboard shortcut to it.
Most computers come with many fonts installed, and some of these contain
symbols of use in mathematics. Additional fonts containing symbols can be added
to a computer adding to the total number. While MathType puts the most commonly
used ones on its Symbol palettes it would be impractical to include every
can make use of nearly all installed fonts and therefore it can make use of
symbols contained within those fonts.
MathType's powerful Insert Symbol feature provides facilities for finding
symbols that are not available via its Symbols palettes. There are a variety of ways you can
find a particular symbol using the Insert Symbol feature. Once you find the
one you want, you can save it to the MathType toolbar and/or assign a keyboard
shortcut so you don't have to go hunting for it again.
See the next section for step-by-step instruction on using MathType's Insert
Symbol feature. Once you've found the symbol you want, use the links below to learn about
saving symbols to the MathType toolbar and assigning keyboard shortcuts.
- Open a new MathType window.
- From the Edit menu choose Insert Symbol (the following dialog box opens).
- There are basically three methods used to find symbols. Using the View
by pull down menu choose either of the following:
- Font - This option is used in conjunction with the
accompanying pull down menu to identify any of the computer's
installed fonts and will display all available characters associated with
that font in the selection window. Note: We
specify all available, because MathType 6.x is not
capable of accessing all characters from many OpenType fonts.
MathType will display the characters in Insert Symbol that are
available to use in MathType.
- Style - This option is used to sort available options by
type such as,
- Lowercase or Uppercase Greek
- Matrix Vector
- User 1
- User 2
- Extra Math
- Description - Choosing this option and clicking New Search
can be used to search for a specific symbol or character name.
- For this example we will search for the Per mille symbol using the View
by Description option.
- From the View by pull-down menu choose Description.
- Click the button, New search...
- In the resulting window, type the name of the desired symbol. Since we
want to find the "per mille" symbol (),
we'll type per mille.
- Click OK.
- The result will be a display of all per mille symbols available. See
- Click once on the desired per mille symbol and click the Insert button
located in the upper-right corner.
- Click Close.
- This will return focus to the MathType window with the per mille symbol
in the workspace.
- For more information regarding Insert Symbol options please consult
MathType help or the MathType User Manual.
Symbols that are to be used frequently can be saved to the MathType toolbar.
Doing so enables you to enter the symbol into the MathType workspace by
simply clicking on it in the toolbar. To save a symbol or expression to the
toolbar perform the following steps.
Continuing from the above exercise:
- Select the entire symbol in the MathType workspace.
- Click-and-drag (click on the highlighted symbol and while holding the
mouse button down, move the mouse) to either of the small toolbars or the
tabbed tool bar and release the mouse.
- This will place the per mille symbol on the toolbar so it can be used in
- Alternatively, you can save any symbol to the MathType toolbar directly
from the Insert Symbol dialog as follows:
- Once you have located the desired symbol using the directions above,
- Hold down the Alt key and while doing so, click-and-drag the symbol
from the selection window to the MathType toolbar.
- For more information on working with the MathType toolbars consult
MathType Help or the MathType User Manual.
Saving a symbol to the toolbar is one way to keep a symbol handy for future
use. Similarly, a keyboard shortcut can be assigned to the symbol for quick
entry to the MathType workspace. Keyboard
shortcuts are a key or set of keys that perform a predefined function. An
example would be, Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut for copy. To create a keyboard
shortcut for a symbol you've placed onto the toolbar, perform the following steps:
- Locate the symbol to which a keyboard shortcut will be assigned.
- Right-click on the symbol and from the resulting menu choose Properties.
The following dialog opens:
- In the field, "Description for expression:", type the symbol name, "per
mille" (This is an optional, but recommended step.).
- In the field labeled, "Enter new shortcut key(s)" type the desired
keyboard shortcut. Note that if your shortcut includes the Shift, Ctrl, or
Alt keys, or any combination of the above, simply holding down the key
causes MathType to enter the proper text in the box. You don't have to
specifically type in the word "Shift", for example. The same is true on the
Mac for the Shift, Ctrl, Alt/Option, and Command keys.
- Click the Assign button located at right.
- Click OK to close the Properties dialog and return to the MathType
- Test by typing the keyboard shortcut that was just created. Notice that
when you place the mouse pointer over an item with a keyboard shortcut, the
shortcut is displayed in the MathType Status Bar at the bottom of the
MathType window. Similarly, if you entered a description in Step 3 above,
the description will be displayed in the Status Bar as well.
- Alternatively you can assign a keyboard shortcut to any symbol in the
Insert Symbol Dialog as follows:
- In the image below, notice the portion of the Insert Symbol dialog
located at the bottom of the window,
- Select the desired symbol by clicking it once.
- In the field labeled, "Enter new shortcut key(s):" type the desired
keyboard shortcut. Note that if your shortcut includes the Shift, Ctrl,
or Alt keys, or any combination of the above, simply holding down the
key causes MathType to enter the proper text in the box. You don't have
to specifically type in the word "Shift", for example. The same is true
on the Mac for the Shift, Ctrl, Alt/Option, and Command keys.
- Click the Assign button
- Close the Insert Symbol Dialog.
- For more information on working with keyboard shortcuts, consult