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TechNote #161: Last modified: 08/14/2017

Equations in Keynote are fuzzy when viewed in iCloud

The information in this document applies to:


  • MathType for Mac
  •   Apple Keynote


You've written a lesson in Keynote, and the equations looked nice and crisp on the computer (screen shot on left below). When your students view it in iCloud, they report the equations all look fuzzy (screen shot on right). Click the screen shots for full-size view; use your browser's back button to return here.

Equations look great on the computer. Equations are fuzzy on the cloud.
In Keynote on the computer In Keynote on iCloud


This happens on equations where you have clicked and dragged a corner of an equation to resize it after you insert it into the slide. Even so, it's caused by Keynote, not by MathType.

Best practices for using MathType with Keynote

Although this is caused by Keynote, there are steps you can take to keep this from happening:

  1. Make sure MathType is open before trying to insert a new equation or edit an existing one. See our article Pages, Keynote, & Numbers appear not to work with MathType for more information.
  2. Inserting equations. Both of these techniques work for adding equations to Keynote:
    1. Use the Insert > MathType Equation command in Keynote. You can also assign a shortcut to this command to make it easier. See our article MathType Works With Keynote for further instructions.
    2. Copy & paste or drag & drop from MathType into Keynote.
  3. 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 the size of your text in Keynote. The fuzzy equations you see in the example above do not occur if equations are sized properly. An added benefit to sizing equations this way is it's quicker, since you only have to make one size adjustment, rather than one for each equation. Also, by dragging a corner, no 2 equations will be the exact same size, nor will they exactly match the text of your slide.
  4. Don't copy & paste equations within Keynote. 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 2 above.

Reporting this issue to Apple

Keynote is a good program, but this is Apple's bug to fix. Apple has provided a feedback form for reporting issues and requesting enhancements. We encourage you to take advantage of this. While Design Science works with Apple on making MathType work well with Keynote, Apple prefers to hear from its customers and bases its development priorities on what its customers say, not on what other software companies recommend.

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.

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