Skip NavigationDesign Science: How Science Communicates
Products Solutions Store Support Reference Company View Cart
TechNote #53: Last modified: 10/20/99
Last reviewed: 07/04/01

Using MathType 3.1 with Microsoft Word 97 for Windows

The information in this document applies to:

MathType 3.1 (Win)

Microsoft Word 97 (Win)
Microsoft Word 2000 (Win)


Users of MathType 3.1 may want to use MathType with newer versions of MS Word, but version 3.1 does not contain macros that work with versions of Word subsequent to Word 95. With the release of MS Office 97, Microsoft switched from using Word Basic for their macro language to Visual Basic for Applications. MathType 4.0, our most recent version of MathType, includes macros for Word 95, 97, and 2000, as well as a macro that adds a toolbar button into PowerPoint 97 and 2000. If you are using MathType 3.1, you should consider upgrading MathType to the contemporary version.


MathType is compatible with MS Word 97, but there are a few issues of which users should be aware. Please read each section for a description of the issue and of suggested solutions.

  1. Installing Word 97 may alter MathType's OLE registration, causing Word to launch Equation Editor rather than MathType when you double-click on equations.
  2. Some of the WordBasic commands we supply with MathType 3.1 will not work with Word 97 because the WordBasic language itself has changed. This issue has been corrected with MathType 3.5.
  3. Equation objects pasted into Word 97 directly from MathType or Equation Editor will end up anchored to the page in a "float over text" mode rather than in-line with the text of your document.

If you would like information on how to get the MathType 3.1 commands to work under Word 97, please see our notice which explains Using MathType's Word 95 commands with Word 97.

OLE Registration Problems

Whenever Office 97 (or Office 95) is installed, it overwrites MathType 3.1's OLE registration information. This causes Equation Editor to be launched rather than MathType when you click on the Equation toolbar button or when you double-click on an equation.

The problem is easily fixed by reinstalling MathType, or by simply reinstalling MathType's OLE registration. Reinstalling MathType's OLE registration will not change any of MathType's files, but will simply undo the changes that the Office 97 installer made to MathType. If you are running MathType 3.1:

  1. Shut down Word and MathType if they are currently running.
  2. Insert your MathType diskette into your disk drive and run the Install program from that disk.
  3. Select Custom Install.
  4. From the list of Custom Install items, select MathType's OLE Registration.
  5. Click OK.

With the release of MathType 3.5, we have built a self-check into the MathType program. To update the registration database:

  1. Shut down Word and MathType if they are currently running.
  2. Launch the MathType program; if the registration database is no longer referring to the MathType application, the following dialog will appear:

  1. Click Yes.

This will allow MathType to set the registration for equation objects to launch MathType instead of the Equation Editor.

WordBasic Macros

MathType's WordBasic macros for Word for Windows add several functions to Word itself. These macros were written in WordBasic, which was abandoned with the release of Word 97 in favor of Visual Basic for Applications. While Word 97 is able to convert many Word Basic macros to Visual Basic for Applications automatically, the MathType commands for attaching MathType preference files to Word document templates are not easily converted and therefore cannot be used in Word 97.

If you would like information on how to get the remaining MathType 3.1 commands to work under Word 97 and 2000, please see our which discusses Using MathType's Word 95 commands with Word 97.

Pasting Equations into Word 97

In Word 97, Microsoft has added the ability to easily float graphics above the text, almost like a free-form layer or a Page Layout mode. This is something that you could not easily do in Word before, since any graphic object's position used to be determined by its location within the text.

Unfortunately, this new feature has been implemented in Word 97 as the default for graphics pasted from the Windows clipboard and the behavior of floating objects is confusing to many people who are not used to it. Microsoft addresses the problems that many users experience with this feature on their website. You may wish to view Microsoft's article about "float over text" if you wish to use cut-and-paste.

Another issue for embedded objects in "float over text" mode is that they are not viewable in Normal view. Floating objects can only be seen in Page Layout view.

If you normally copy and paste MathType 3.1 equations into Word, you should consider switching to use a toolbar button to insert MathType equations per the instructions below, or upgrade to the most recent version of MathType, which includes macros that allow you to use cut-and-paste in Word 97. Another option is to upgrade to Word 2000, in which the default for graphics pasted from the Windows clipboard has been changed to in-line rather than "float-over-text".

Adding a Toolbar Button to Insert MathType Equations

The toolbar button normally launches Equation Editor, but can be converted to launch MathType instead. The button basically does the same thing as the Insert Object command, but combines several steps into one click. With Word 97 it has the added advantage that equations placed into a Word document by using the toolbar button will automatically be in-line equations, rather than floating objects. As a result, this turns out to be the fastest way of working with MathType. Once you have the toolbar button, your process for creating equations will be:

  1. Click on the toolbar button.
  2. Create your equation and close the MathType window.

You can place the button on your toolbar by doing the following:

  1. Choose Customize from the Tools menu of Word.
  2. Click on the Commands tab.
  3. Choose Insert from the list of categories.
  4. Scroll down the list of commands until you see the symbol.
  5. Drag the to the location on the toolbar where you want the button.
  6. Click Close.

You now have a toolbar button, but it will currently launch Equation Editor. MathType 3.1 includes a macro that launches MathType instead of Equation Editor. While the macro itself was written for use under Word 7.0, it can also be used in Word 97. For more information of how to make this button launch MathType instead, please follow the instructions in our notice regarding Using MathType's Word 95 commands with Word 97.

The problems described in this notice have been fixed in newer versions of MathType. We highly recommend that you upgrade to the latest version if you have upgraded your version of Word.

Using the Insert Object command in Word

When you choose Object from Word's Insert menu to place an OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) object, such as a MathType equation into Word, "float over text" is the default, but this option can be toggled off.

To create equations using Insert Object the way you are used to doing, you simply add one extra step:

  1. Choose Insert Object.
  2. Uncheck the "float over text" box.
  3. Click on "MathType Equation" to select it and click OK.
  4. Create your equation and close the MathType window.

The "float over text" box will not stay unchecked and it will be necessary to uncheck the "float over text" box every time you insert an equation. We suggest using the toolbar button, as described above, as it requires fewer keystrokes or mouseclick and is more efficient.

Top of page

TechNotes Home   |   TechNote Wizard   |   Contact us

Copyright ©1996-2018 Design Science, a Wiris company. All rights reserved.
Privacy statement
Follow MathType: