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Creating true inline equations in PowerPoint

Applies to:

  MathType 6 and later for Windows
MathType 6 and later for Mac
PowerPoint 2013 and later for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

Situation:

You're working in PowerPoint and you've been inserting MathType equations and moving them into position every time. If there is inline text that follows the equation, you must add enough space to allow for the equation. If you add text above the line containing the equation, or if you edit the text, you have to move the equation every time. It would be nice if the equations were truly inline, like in Word, and would flow with the text.

Background:

PowerPoint doesn't allow for inline objects of any type -- drawings, photos, logos, charts, etc. -- and since MathType equations are "objects" that are inserted onto the slide, they cannot be inline either. Therefore, the method described here uses MathType, but the equations produced for PowerPoint are not MathType equations; they're "OMML" equations.

We do offer one workaround in our article MathType Works With PowerPoint, and that's still a viable option. The method below presents a different solution.

Note: Since PowerPoint 2016 for Mac interacts with MathType in a way quite differently from any of the other versions of PowerPoint covered here, we cover that version separately below.

Creating inline equations in PowerPoint for Windows

Since PowerPoint does not allow inline objects, which all MathType equations are, we're going to use MathType to create the equation, but the equation that's actually on the PowerPoint slide will be an OMML equation, as described above.

  1. Open MathType as a separate application -- do not open it by clicking MathType on the MathType tab in PowerPoint. If you're unfamiliar with opening MathType as a separate application, you can get to it through the Windows Start menu.
  2. Create the equation in MathType, then select & copy it ("cut" is actually better than "copy") and paste it onto the slide. Tip: You'll know it's in the right format if you click inside the equation, and you seen the Equation Tools tab on the ribbon:
    pasting an equation into powerpoint opens the equation tools tab
  3. If you clicked inside the equation, part of it will be shaded. If you didn't click inside, or if none of it is shaded, click inside and it should look something like this:
    result of clicking inside the equation
  4. Now "select all". Easiest way to do that is with the shortcut Ctrl+A. Now it looks like this:
    result of "select all"
  5. Now copy it -- Ctrl+C. At the point in your slide’s text, insert an equation, either from the Insert tab on the ribbon, or with the shortcut Ctrl+=. It should look something like this:
    Now  you're ready to paste the equation.
  6. Don’t click inside the gray area, just paste. Now you’ve got an OMML equation there – the one you copied from MathType, and it’s already sized correctly. Also, note above that I had a space after the colon and before the equation. No longer. I must go back and add a space:
    After pasting from MathType, you have an inline equation.
  7. Remember, this is an OMML equation, not a MathType one. If you need to edit it, you can click inside and edit it directly if you want. If you'd rather use MathType, you can do that too. Click inside, select all, copy, then paste into MathType. Make your edits, then select & copy it from MathType, then paste in place of the old equation (which should still be selected).

Creating inline equations in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

Since PowerPoint does not allow inline objects, nor any objects that are not Microsoft Office objects, we're going to use MathType to create the equation, but the equation that's actually on the PowerPoint slide will be an OMML equation, as described above. We'll also be using Word 2016, since it is able to create an OMML equation from MathType, and PowerPoint is not.

  1. Open MathType from the Applications folder.
  2. In MathType's Preferences > Cut and Copy Preferences, choose "MathML 2.0 (namespace attr)" from the MathML or TeX section. Click OK to close the dialog.
  3. Open Word 2016.
  4. Create the equation in MathType, then select & copy it ("cut" is actually better than "copy") and paste it into the Word document. Tip: You'll know it's in the right format if you click inside the equation, and you seen the Equation tab on the ribbon:
    An OMML equation in Word 2016 for Mac.
  5. Click the blue tab to the left of the equation. If the blue tab isn't showing, click inside the equation, then click the blue tab. This will select the equation:
    An OMML equation is selected in Word 2016 for Mac.
  6. Copy the equation (again, "cut" is actually better than "copy"). At the point in your slide’s text, insert an equation, from the Insert tab on the ribbon. It should look something like this:
    An OMML equatoin inserted inline in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac.
  7. Don't click inside the gray area; just paste the equation you copied from Word. It should look something like this:
    OMML equation in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, pasted from Word 2016 for Mac.
  8. Remember, this is an OMML equation, not a MathType one. If you need to edit it:
    1. You can click inside and edit it directly if you want.
    2. If you'd rather use MathType, you can do that too. Click inside, select all, copy, then paste into Word 2016 (it will not paste directly into MathType).
    3. Before you paste into MathType, confirm Word's settings are correct for this. In Word's Format menu, choose Equation Options (at the bottom). Click to select the option to "Copy MathML to the clipboard as plain text". Click OK. You should only need to do this once, but in the future if equations don't paste properly into MathType, check the setting to make sure it's correct.
    4. Copy it from Word and paste into MathType. Make your edits, then replace the old equation in PowerPoint with the newly-edited one, using the techniques above.

If you have a tip that you'd like to pass along to us for possible inclusion in our Tips & Tricks, email us.

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