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TechNote #162: Last modified: 08/14/2017

Equations created on Windows have irregular spacing when viewed on Mac or in a PDF

The information in this document applies to:


  • MathType for Windows
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint


You've used Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows to create your lesson slides, but when you arrive for class, the only computer available is a Mac. Thinking that shouldn't be a problem, you load the presentation onto the Mac, print the handout pages as PDF, and begin the lesson using PowerPoint for Mac. Not far into the lesson you realize the equations are all there on the slides and printed on the handout pages, but the equations are severely distorted, with many characters overlapping and just not looking right.

as viewed on Windows as viewed on Mac
This is how the equation looked in
PowerPoint for Windows.
This is how the equation looked in PowerPoint for Mac, and similarly in the PDF.


This happens if, when you define Styles in MathType, you select a font with a name beginning with the @ character -- such as @Arial Unicode MS, which was used in the expression shown above. Instead, please use the corresponding font without the ampersand -- Arial Unicode MS, in this case.

What are those "@" fonts anyway?

Fonts with a name that begins with the ampersand, or "at-sign" are "vertically-oriented" fonts, intended for use in Chinese, Japanese, and sometimes Korean documents. Their purpose is so the characters used in vertical text will be oriented correctly. Using them in MathType will only cause trouble -- issues such as the one shown above.

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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