| TechNote #149:
MathType: MathType equations are pasted as pictures from the Office Clipboard
The information in this document applies to:
- MathType 6.x (Windows)
- MathType 6.7 (Macintosh)
- Microsoft Office 2007 and later (Windows)
- Microsoft Office 2011 (Macintosh)
In this article, we will distinguish between the Office Clipboard and the system clipboard by using only those terms.
When we refer to the system clipboard, we mean the clipboard maintained
by the operating system -- Windows or macOS -- and generally available to all
applications that access the clipboard. When we refer to the Office Clipboard,
we mean Microsoft's special application of the system clipboard, available only
in Microsoft Office applications. Even though it is only available to paste
into Microsoft Office applications, the Office Clipboard can access most
objects and data on the system clipboard, and makes it available to paste into
Microsoft Office applications like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
When using the Office Clipboard, MathType equations paste as pictures that
won't open in MathType.
When you copy a MathType equation, MathType puts the equation onto the
system clipboard in several formats. MathType works with hundreds of
software applications and websites, and not all of these use the same format.
Some work best with images, and some with text formats such as MathML. It is up
to the target into which you paste the equation to determine which of these
formats to paste.
When you copy equations directly from the MathType
workspace, the Microsoft Office Clipboard retains the equation in the format of
If you're not familiar with the Office Clipboard, including how to set it up
and keep the pane visible while you work, see Microsoft's documentation for
Windows or for
Macintosh. On the Mac it's called "Scrapbook".
Office for Windows
Office for Mac
If you're using Office 2011 for Macintosh
Our only advice if you're using Office 2011 is to not use the Scrapbook for
pasting MathType equations. (In fact, we don't recommend pasting them at all; we
recommend you use the toolbar button or menu command for that purpose.) There's nothing you can do about the fact that
equations inserted from the Scrapbook are pictures you can't edit. If this doesn't impact your workflow, then
there's no problem using the Scrapbook. Just be aware that 1) the equations will
not align properly with text when inserted into Word, and 2) your only
reasonable option if you need to edit one of them is to delete it and replace it
with a new one.
If you're using Office 2007 and later for Windows
There are two situations whereby equations can be placed onto the Office
Clipboard, and when you paste these equations into your document, the behavior
of one is different from the other. The situations are:
- Copying an equation directly from the MathType workspace
- Copying an equation from Word or another Microsoft Office application
NOTE: Our recommendation is, and has always been, to insert
equations into Microsoft Word and PowerPoint by means of the commands MathType
provides for this purpose. On the MathType tab in both Word and PowerPoint,
there are button(s) that will insert an equation. When you insert equations in
this way, it prevents many of the problems mentioned in this article.
If you copy equations directly from MathType, they will be placed onto
the Office Clipboard as an image. When you insert these equation pictures into
your document, you will not be able to edit them in MathType. Note that this is
only true if you click the equation's thumbnail on the Office Clipboard task
pane. If you paste directly into Word, either with a shortcut key or by clicking
the Paste button on the ribbon, it will paste as an "OLE object" that can be
edited in MathType. Note also that, as mentioned previously, this is not how we
recommend inserting equations (and if you're pasting into PowerPoint 2013 or
PowerPoint 2016, it
won't paste as a MathType equation at all).
If you copy equations from within Word or another Office app and click
their thumbnail in the Office Clipboard task pane to paste into the document, they
will be editable in MathType, just like "normal" MathType equations.
Double-click to edit. Be aware that there are slight differences between
applications though. For example, if you copy an equation from Excel and insert
it into Word from the Office Clipboard, it will be "floating" (i.e., you will
have to move it into position, and it will not look & act like part of your text
-- unless you change its Layout properties to "inline with text").
Caution: be aware that we do not normally recommend pasting equations
into Microsoft Office in this way -- meaning not copying from a Word document to
paste within a Word document. If you want to re-use equations in a document, we
recommend you copy them, open MathType at the point where you want to place the
equation, paste the equation into MathType, then close MathType to place the
equation. Doing it the other way all too often results in equations becoming uneditable pictures, as we describe in a different
Technical Notice. If you decide the speed and utility of using the Office
Clipboard outweighs the possibility of your equations becoming uneditable, at
least you know what the danger is.
As always, please let us know if you
have questions about this, or if you have additional techniques that work. We'd
love to hear from you.