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MathType Tip: Using MathType to Make Charts, Grids, and Number Lines

Applies to:

  MathType 4 and later (Windows)
MathType 5 and later (Macintosh)


Many customers are interested in making blank grids, and number lines for inclusion in course materials. You can create these items, but it is important to remember that MathType is designed to typeset mathematical expressions. Grids, graphs, and number lines may be easier to create in programs designed for that purpose, such as drawing programs. By manually manipulating MathType's templates, spacing factors, and positioning controls, you can create these items, but the process is time-consuming.

Before you begin

This Tip assumes you already have general knowledge of nudging, manually repositioning individual equation elements in MathType, and the commands in MathType's menus, particularly the Format menu. If you are not familiar with these things, refer to the MathType documentation before preceding with this article.

Creating charts and grids

MathType allows you to place dividing lines in matrix templates, allowing you to simulate a Cartesian plane. Using a matrix template without dividing lines allows you to create things like pictographs and statistics charts, as in the examples below:

 {\text{What is the ratio of diamonds to hearts?}} \\ 
 \diamondsuit \,\,\diamondsuit \,\,\diamondsuit \,\,\diamondsuit  \\ 
 \diamondsuit \,\,\diamondsuit \,\,\diamondsuit \,\,\diamondsuit  \\ 
 \end{array} & \begin{array}{l}
 \heartsuit \,\,\heartsuit  \\ 
 \heartsuit \,\,\heartsuit  \\ 
 \end{array}  \\
\end{array} \\ 

(b)statistical grid example

(c)Cartesian plane example

(d)another statistical example

This section outlines the process for creating a Cartesian plane like in example (c) above.

  1. Open a new MathType equation window.

  2. From MathType's Format menu, select Define Spacing.

  3. Set Line spacing to 100% and Operator spacing to 1%. Click OK.

Note: Don't forget to reset these values when you are done or subsequent equations will not be formatted correctly. Better yet, why not save these settings as a MathType Preference file? If you are not familiar with Preference files, refer to the MathType documentation.

  1. Type y and press ENTER to insert a new line into MathType.

  2. Select Align Center from MathType's Format menu.

  3. Insert the Upwards Arrow from MathType's Arrows palette and then press ENTER.

  4. Type "-x".

  5. Insert a Leftwards arrow from MathType's Arrows palette.

  6. Select the "Variable-size matrix or table" template from MathType's Matrix templates palette:

Decide how large you want to make the grid. You can construct grids up to 32×32. In this example, we will make a 8 by 8 grid.

  1. In the Matrix dialog, set the Rows and Columns to 8 so the Matrix dialog appears as:

  1. After defining your matrix, begin filling in the partition lines. There are four kinds of partitions lines to choose from: None, Solid, Dashed, and Dotted. Clicking between the gray boxes in the grid will insert lines. Subsequent clicks will cycle through the four kinds of lines. In this example, we use solid lines for the x- and y-axes and the outer border, and dotted lines to form the squares in the plane. Set your partition lines so they appear as below:

  1. Click on OK to create the matrix in the MathType window. We will correct the alignment later.

  2. Move cursor to the right of the matrix.

  3. Insert a Rightwards arrow.

  4. Type x and then press ENTER.

  5. Insert a Downwards arrow from MathType's Arrows palette and then press ENTER.

  6. Type -y.

  7. Type the axis coordinates into the cells of the matrix. After inserting them, select each one and choose Subscript from MathType's Size menu to reduce their size.

  8. In the cells beneath the 1, 2, and 3 labels on the positive x-axis, change the color to white and enter −2. The purpose of this step is so the width of each cell's contents will be the same. The −2's will still be visible in MathType, but not in your document. All the elements of your Cartesian plan have now been entered, and it should appear as below:

  1. To align the points along the axis, arrows, and axis labels, you will need to nudge the arrows and labels into position. (If you are not familiar with nudging, refer to the MathType documentation.) After the appropriate nudging, you will end up with a fully labeled grid like the one below:

Creating number lines

Number lines can be constructed in MathType through the use of nudging, tabs, and the "double-headed arrow with upper and lower text slots" template.

This section outlines the process for constructing the number line shown below:

  1. Open a new MathType equation window.

  2. Under MathType's View menu, make sure the "Show All" option is checked so you can see tabs and blank spaces.

  3. From the Format menu, select Define Spacing and set Denominator depth to 150%.

Note: Don't forget to reset this value when you are done or future equations you build will not format correctly! As an alternative, you can save this setting as a MathType Preference file named "Number Lines". If you are not familiar with Preference files, refer to the MathType documentation.

  1. Click OK to return to MathType's main editing window.

  2. Insert the "double-headed arrow with upper and lower text slots" template:

  3. In the upper slot, type in a vertical line character, |, which is Shift+\ on your keyboard.

  4. Insert a tab after the vertical line character by pressing CTRL+Tab. You should see the following in your MathType window:

  1. Repeat steps 6 and 7 five times, to alternate five more vertical lines and tabs, then add a final vertical line, so that you have the following:

  1. In the lower slot, type in your number range starting with -3 following each number with a tab, so your number line appears as:

  1. Select all the vertical lines and tabs in the upper slot of the "double-headed arrow with upper and lower text slots" template and nudge them down until the vertical line characters are bisected, marking the coordinates on your number line as below:

  1. Nudge the negative coordinates to align them with the vertical bars, and you should have the finished number line below:

The tab marks are only visible in MathType when the Show All option is turned on. If you turn off the Show All option or insert the number line in a document, it will appear as:

You can increase or decrease the space between coordinates by inserting your own tab stops rather than using MathType's defaults. If you are unfamiliar with MathType's options for setting and using tabs, refer to the MathType documentation.

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