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TechNote #146: Last modified: 08/14/2017

MathType: Pages, Keynote, & Numbers appear not to work with MathType

The information in this document applies to:


  • MathType 6.7 (Macintosh)
  • Pages 5 and later
  • Keynote 6 and later
  • Numbers 3 and later
  • Mac OS X 10.9 and later


In Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, choosing the Insert MathType Equation command has no effect. Likewise, double-clicking an equation has no effect.


Pages, Keynote, and Numbers do not cause MathType to open if it is not already running. Therefore it is necessary for you to start MathType before inserting or editing an equation in these apps.


When using Pages 5, Keynote 6, and Numbers 3, it's a good habit to open MathType before opening any of these applications. This was not necessary in previous versions of these apps -- the ones included in iWork '09 -- but the October 2013 versions of these apps require it, as do versions released since then. In the event you forget to do this, and subsequently choose the Insert MathType Equation command without MathType already running, your document may look something like this:

(For the remainder of this article, we will simply refer to Pages, but the same process applies to all 3 applications: Pages, Keynote, and Numbers.) So far, so good. Notice the MathType title bar reads "Equation from Pages"? That's an indication there's a link between Pages and MathType, and when you close MathType, the equation should go into your document.

Ok, so now you insert an equation -- create the equation in MathType, then click the red "stop light" in the upper left corner like you always do. Trouble is, when MathType closes all you see in the document is a gray box where the equation should be:

What to do?

Fortunately there's an easy solution. Just close Pages and re-open it. Leave MathType open. If you have to force-close Pages, that shouldn't cause you to lose any work. To force-close, press and hold the Option and Command keys while pressing and releasing the Esc key. The Force Quit Applications dialog will probably say "Pages (not responding)", and will be selected. Click Force Quit and close the dialog. Re-open Pages.

Your previous document(s) should open. You'll notice in your document there is now simply a blank space where the gray equation was. There is, in fact, still an empty equation there, but it's of no use to you, so just delete it. Now when you click Insert MathType Equation, any equation you create in MathType will be saved to your document:

I don't want to forget!

That would be quite easy to do, and you may not remember until it's too late. Fortunately there's a way to help prevent that: set up MathType as a "Login Item":

  1. In System Preferences, click Users & Groups.
  2. The user account under which you're currently logged in should already be selected. The Password tab is probably selected, so click Login Items.
  3. Click the + at the bottom of that section (not the + directly above the lock icon; that's for something else).
  4. A Finder window should open, with the Applications folder pre-selected. If Applications isn't selected, select it now.
  5. Scroll to MathType 6, and click to select it.
  6. Click to select, and click Add.
  7. MathType should now appear as a Login Item. Notice the checkbox in the Hide column? This is optional. If you don't check it, when you boot your computer, MathType will open, and an empty MathType window will be visible. If you do check this box, MathType will still open, but it won't open an empty MathType window. The goal of all of this is for MathType to be opened before Pages, Keynote, or Numbers, and whether you check this box or not won't matter for this purpose.
  8. Click the red "stoplight" in the upper left of the Users & Groups dialog to close System Preferences.

What about editing old documents?

In our tests, here's what we found with old documents, both those created in Pages 4.3 and those created in Pages 5 (and the other old/new apps formerly known as iWork):

  1. If you open an existing document and MathType is not running, just follow the procedure above (i.e., open MathType before inserting or editing an equation), and all should go well.
  2. In the event that you forget to open MathType before inserting or editing an equation in the old document...
    1. ...if you use the Insert MathType Equation command, the result is as described above.
    2. ...if you double-click an equation to edit it, the equation will open in MathType ready to edit. However, any edits you make will not be saved to the document. When you close MathType, the equation will remain selected. Clicking outside the equation to de-select it will give the equation a gray background, and further attempts to edit will bring up MathType with a title bar that reads "Untitled 1", indicating no connection between Pages and MathType:

In this situation, you may have to force-quit Pages as described above.

Tables and text boxes

There are also issues with inserting equations into tables and text boxes in a Pages document. We have these issues and suggested workarounds documented on our page for Using MathType with Pages.

Correcting the issues

We believe since these issues are caused by Apple's software, they are in the best position to fix them. Please let them know the impact of this on you by completing their short Pages Feedback form. We are investigating the situation to see if there's anything we can do to temporarily correct the issue while waiting on fixes to these 3 apps. Meanwhile, the process described here can be used consistently to insert and edit MathType equations in Pages documents, Keynote presentations, and Numbers spreadsheets.

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