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TechNote #5: Last modified: 10/20/99
Last reviewed: 10/20/99

Errors with MathType 2.11 and Macintosh System 7


The information in this document applies to:

MathType 2.11 (Mac)

Macintosh System 7

The Problem

Due to the numerous changes made in the Macintosh operating system from System 6, we highly recommend users to upgrade to the newest version of MathType for the Macintosh. The problems listed below under System 7 have been resolved in our current version and the MathType setup is handled by an installation program. The latest version of MathType offers support for Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), facilitates saving of spacing, style, and size information to files, includes TrueType and PostScript Type 1 versions of all the MathType fonts, and has both a 680x0 and native Power Macintosh version. We highly recommend you upgrade your copy of MathType.

The remaining portion of this TechNote will focus on setting up MathType 2.11 to work under System 7 and offer explanations of the conflicts that may be encountered.


MathType 2.11 manual installation

To install MathType with System 7, you will need to do the following:

  1. Quit all open applications, desk accessories, and turn off virus protection, so you can make changes to your System file.
  2. Insert the MathType program disk into a floppy drive, and double-click the MathType disk icon when it appears on your screen.
  3. Drag the MathType application from the MathType disk to a folder on your hard disk.
  4. Drag the MathType Help file to the same folder.
  5. Drag the Fonts folder from the MathType disk to your System folder. The Finder will display a message telling you that some items need to be stored in special places:

  1. You want the items to be put where they belong, so click OK.
  2. The MathType fonts folder contains fixed-size versions of the Times and Symbol fonts, some sizes of which are already present in your System file (they are shipped with System 7). Because of this, the Finder will display a message asking if you would like to replace items in your System file that have the same names as items you're moving:

Overwriting fixed-size fonts in your System file will not cause any problems, so answer OK to this question.

  1. Run MathType by double-clicking its application icon. As it starts up, MathType will display a message that tells you the Belmo file is not in the System folder (under System 7, Belmo is in the Extensions folder inside the System folder). Suppress this message by choosing Other Preferences from MathType's Preferences menu, and placing a check in the Suppress Missing Belmont message box.

Now, if you wish, you can create an alias of MathType and place it on the Apple menu. This will enable you to start MathType by choosing its name from that menu, the same way you would start a Desk Accessory under System 6.0.x. To place MathType on the Apple menu:

  1. Select the MathType application by clicking on its name or icon.
  2. From the Finder's File menu, choose Make Alias.
  3. Drag the alias to the Desktop. Edit the name to delete the word 'alias' and the space before it.
  4. Drag the file to the Apple Menu Items folder inside the System folder. This will cause MathType to appear on the Apple menu, ready to run at a moment's notice.

MathType does not work as a Desk Accessory under System 7, so you will not use the MathType DA file on the MathType program disk. For more information on the contents of the MathType disk and what to do with them, please see 'What's on the Disk' in Chapter 2 of the MathType User Manual.


MathType 2.11 - System 7 Font Issues

There are two issues that affect the way fonts are displayed or printed when you use MathType with System 7. The first is the system's choice of slanted Times plain fixed-size fonts instead of scaled Times italic fonts. The second involves using typefaces for which TrueType fonts are available but PostScript printer fonts are not.

System 7 includes Apple's new TrueType scalable fonts. These will give beautiful results on the screen and the printer. However, Design Science has discovered what we consider a 'bug' in the way fonts are handled in System 7 that affects MathType users. System 7 ships with the following sizes and styles of the Times font:

Times TrueType plain scalable
Times 9 fixed-size plain 9
Times 10 fixed-size plain 10
Times 12 fixed-size plain 12
Times 14 fixed-size plain 14
Times 18 fixed-size plain 18
Times 24 fixed-size plain 24
Times (italic) TrueType italic scalable


To display the Times plain font at 12 points, the system will use the 12 point fixed-size font instead of scaling the Times plain TrueType font. This is good, because displaying a fixed-size font is faster than scaling and displaying a TrueType font.

The problem occurs with the italic style. If the Times italic font at 12 points is requested, the system will look first for a Times italic fixed-size font at 12 points. Failing to find it, the system has two choices: a) it can scale the Times italic TrueType font, or b) it can take the Times plain 12 point font and slant it to simulate italic. Unfortunately for MathType, it chooses the latter. This results in slanted Times plain for those sizes for which a fixed-size Times plain font exists, but scaled TrueType Times italic for any other size. Slanted Times plain is not the same as Times italic the character shapes are different. This problem is not limited to Times, of course, but Times is often used in equations, and several sizes of Times plain are shipped with System 7.

MathType is very sensitive to character shape, and the differences between italic characters and slanted plain characters can cause equation formatting on your screen to be less than ideal. You will get true Times italic characters when you print equations, but the screen display will not match precisely, so any minor formatting adjustments you make will be inexact.

We will take steps in future versions of MathType to correct this problem. In the meantime, you can avoid this problem by choosing the fonts to use in equations very carefully. In the case of Times, you can simply use the 'Times Italic' fonts we supply with MathType. There is no TrueType font, but TrueType is most helpful at large point sizes, not at the sizes usually used in equations.

If you are printing equations on a PostScript printer, such as a LaserWriter, your printer must have built-in or downloadable PostScript fonts that match the fonts used in your equations, even if they are TrueType fonts. You might not expect this, because there are TrueType fonts supplied with System 7 that do not have corresponding PostScript fonts, and which will print nicely from your word processor. However, the current version of MathType always generates PostScript code for the fonts used in equations. If you use a TrueType font in an equation, the TrueType characters that are displayed on-screen will be printed using the PostScript version of the font. For example, if you create an equation using the TrueType Times font, MathType will create PostScript code instructing your printer to render the PostScript Times font. This works because a PostScript version of Times is available on most printers. However, if you use a TrueType font (such as New York or Chicago) for which no corresponding PostScript font is available, your equation will print in Courier. This problem should be corrected in future versions of MathType.


MathType 2.11 - System 7 Memory Issues

MathType 2.x will crash upon opening if running 32-bit addressing (a feature of all new Macintosh machines). To load MathType successfully when running 32-bit addressing, it must be loaded when there is 8 Megabytes or less of available RAM. If the computer has 20 Megabytes of RAM, you will need to load at least 12 Megabytes of other applications before MathType will load without crashing. This has been corrected within the current version of MathType and we highly suggest upgrading to it.


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