| TechNote #160:
Equations are scrambled in Microsoft Visio
The information in this document applies to:
You're using Microsoft Visio, and have added several equations to your
diagram. The equations looked fine when you left for the day, but when you
booted up the computer the next day, the equations are scrambled. It looks something like
this (click for full-sized view)…
This is caused by a bug in Visio, but there are techniques you can use that
will keep your equations from being scrambled. The good news is, even after
they've been scrambled, they can still be recovered. It just has to be done one
equation at a time.
Best practices for using MathType with Visio
Although this is a bug in Visio, we know how to minimize its effects on you
and your files.
- Inserting equations. Use one of these 2
techniques to get equations into Visio:
- Use the Insert > Object command in Visio,
and choose "MathType 6.0 Equation" from the
list. After you create the equation, close
MathType by clicking the red X in the upper
right corner of the MathType window. Don't use
copy & paste.
- Open MathType from the Windows Start menu.
Create the equation, select it, then cut & paste
it into Visio. Leave MathType open for your next
- Sizing equations. Don't click and drag a
corner to re-size equations. In MathType, use the Size > Define
command to set the equation size to match your Visio diagram.
- Don't copy & paste equations within Visio.
We don't recommend this because while it may not appear to cause
problems initially, we have seen cases where it will cause
problems later. These problems are such that the only recovery
is to recreate the equation, so it's best to only insert
equations as described in step 1 above.
- Editing equations. We have determined this
to be the cause of scrambled equations like the ones in the
example above. By using the techniques here, you can keep this
from happening, but if it does happen, you can recover without
creating the equation again.
- If you insert equations as described above,
and never need to edit them, we don't believe
the equations will ever scramble.
- If you insert an equation and double-click
to edit it before closing the document, this
should not cause a problem.
- If you have closed and reopened the
document, then need to edit an
equation, if you double-click it to edit, then
close and reopen the document, the
equation will be scrambled. However,
the equation is still valid. Cut the equation (ctrl+X
is a convenient way to do this), open MathType,
paste the equation into MathType, edit it if you
need to, then insert it into Visio as in step 1.
The equation will be unscrambled.
- Do not double-click an equation to
edit it. This is the best advice we can
give. As described in step 4b above, this can
work if the conditions are right. To keep
equations from becoming scrambled though, we
recommend always using the cut & paste
technique, cutting the equation from Visio,
pasting into MathType, editing, then inserting
back into Visio. By doing this, we believe the
equations will never be scrambled.
Reporting this issue to Microsoft
This is Microsoft's bug, and only Microsoft can fix it. Many people believe
that since Design Science and Microsoft are both software companies, then we
must have a more direct line for reporting bugs such as this. The truth is, that
is not the case. Microsoft listens to you, the customer, because that's where
their money comes from. The best way to get this bug fixed is for many customers
to report it. We have made it easy for you to do so. Microsoft has a
Visio Suggestion Box, and when a suggestion has 5 votes, they respond
to it. You can speed the process of Microsoft's action by voting on
the suggestion we have posted to the suggestion box.
We hope this has been helpful. As always, please
let us know if you
have questions about this, or if you have additional techniques that work. We'd love to hear from you.