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TechNote #110: Last modified: 11/02/2016

Problems using MathType symbolic fonts in Microsoft Office for Macintosh


The information in this document applies to:

MathType 6.x (Mac)
Microsoft Office 2011 (Mac)
Microsoft Office 2008 (Mac)
Various other Macintosh applications


Issue

You may have problems inserting characters from MathType's 'symbolic' fonts in Microsoft Office applications on the Mac. By symbolic fonts we mean non-alphabetic fonts, i.e., Euclid Symbol, Euclid Math One, Euclid Math Two and MT Extra. We believe this problem occurs with other companies' symbolic fonts as well.

The specific problems are:

  • the fonts may not be listed in the Insert Symbol dialog in Word or PowerPoint
  • characters from these fonts cannot be inserted into Word or PowerPoint
  • if you select a symbolic font, typing on the keyboard with the standard US layout selected causes the application to insert characters from an alphabetic font such as Times New Roman or Lucida Sans

This issue does not affect using these fonts in MathType.

Pages, Keynote, TextEdit and other Macintosh applications may be affected as well.


Reason

We believe this problem is due to the way Mac OS X and Office handle keyboard input. Office interprets keystrokes as Unicode characters, and switches to a font that contains that character, i.e. an alphabetic font. (In earlier versions of Office, by contrast, keystrokes are used to input a glyph from the currently selected font, even if it is symbolic and doesn't contain the character represented on your keyboard.)


Solution

There is no real solution to this problem until the bug is fixed by Microsoft and/or Apple, but the following workarounds may help.

To force missing symbolic fonts to appear in Word's Insert Symbol list:

  1. Launch Word and open the 'Word Font Substitutes' file found in /Users/<user>/Library/Preferences/Microsoft.
  2. Add the missing font(s) to the [SymbolFonts] section. Adding Euclid Symbol and MT Extra would look something like this:

    [SymbolFonts]
    Symbol=
    Zapf Dingbats=
    Wingdings=
    Wingdings 2=
    Wingdings 3=
    Monotype Sorts=
    Webdings=
    Euclid Symbol=
    MT Extra=
     

  3. Save this file, close and re-launch Word.
  4. You should now see the added fonts in the Insert Symbol dialog and be able to use many characters from them. In some cases, an incorrect character or empty box may be inserted.

To use the OS X Character Palette to insert symbols:

  1. Select the symbolic font as the current font in the application (TextEdit and Keynote both work with this).
  2. Open Character Palette (CP). You can open the Character Palette using International preferences. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and click International. Click Input Menu, then click the checkbox next to Character Palette, and then choose Show Character Palette from the input menu in the menu bar (the one that looks like a flag or character).
  3. Choose Glyph in the View popup of CP.
  4. Choose the symbolic font in the Font popup in CP.
  5. Double-click the symbol in CP you want to insert into the application.

Getting This Problem Addressed by Microsoft and Apple

We encourage all users to report this issue to Microsoft and Apple so that they can appreciate the need to devote additional programming resources to it. It is important that their customers continue to report their own experience so that Apple and Microsoft understand how widespread this problem is. Most often, reports from actual users have a greater impact on bugs getting addressed than those submitted by independent software vendors such as us.

You can report this problem and any other problems you have with Microsoft Office or Word at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/suggestions.aspx
If you can contact Microsoft Technical Support Staff by telephone your report will likely carry even more weight. You can contact Microsoft Technical Support at (800) 936-5700.

You can report this problem and any other problems you have with the Macintosh OS at http://www.apple.com/support/.
To report and track bugs via the Apple Developer Connection, visit http://developer.apple.com/bugreporter/index.html.
You can contact Apple Technical Support at (800) 275-2273.



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