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TechNote #47: Last modified: 02/28/01
Last reviewed: 02/28/01

"The TrueType Symbol font in the font suitcase 'Symbol' in the Fonts folder is not MathType's" Error Message

The information in this document applies to:

MathType 3.6 (Mac)
MathType 3.7 (Mac)
AppleWorks 5.0 Equation Editor
AppleWorks 6.0 Equation Editor

Macintosh OS 7.x
Macintosh OS 8.x
Macintosh OS 9.x


When some users launch MathType or the AppleWorks Equation Editor, they receive an error message.



These messages occur because the fonts installed by MathType or AppleWorks have either been removed or overwritten, or you have an excess of fonts installed on your computer.


If you are not using Mac OS 9 or later, you should first make sure that you do not have too many fonts installed on your computer. 

This notice addresses the following topics:

1. Why a specific version of the Symbol font is necessary

2. Reinstalling the correct fonts for AppleWorks

3. Reinstalling the correct fonts for MathType

4. Rebuilding your desktop

5. What causes this problem

6. Instructions for users of PostScript fonts

Why a specific version of the Symbol font is necessary

The MathType version of the Symbol font allows the printing of bold Greek characters. Other versions do not. Many installers and software upgrades will replace the MathType version of Symbol. For this reason, MathType checks which version of the Symbol font is installed and provides a warning when another version is active. 

Reinstalling the correct fonts for AppleWorks

Apple addresses this issue on their website in their Technical Information Library. Follow the instructions that Apple provides to correct it.

Reinstalling the correct fonts for MathType

This procedure will not help if you have too many fonts in your Fonts folder. Unless you are using Mac OS 9 or later, make sure that you have read our technical notice about excess fonts before proceeding.

  1. Open the System folder on your hard drive.
  2. Open the Fonts folder inside your System folder.
  3. Check for loose versions of the TrueType version of the Symbol font and MT Extra font in your Fonts folder. Loose TrueType fonts are not inside a font suitcase and have an  icon. Font suitcases have an icon.
  4. Check to see if you have a copy of the Symbol font suitcase in your fonts folder. Font suitcases have an icon.
  5. Move loose copies of MT Extra and the Symbol fonts and the Symbol font suitcase into the "Fonts (Disabled)" folder in your System folder. If there are already copies of these fonts in your "Fonts (Disabled)" folder, you can simply drag them to the trash or replace the existing copies in "Fonts (Disabled)". The MT Extra font suitcase, while it will not cause problems, duplicates the copy of the MT Extra font in the "~MathType Fonts" font suitcase and you may want to move it to the "Fonts (Disabled)" suitcase as well to conserve system resources.
  6. Inside your "MathType 3" folder, there is a folder called "Fonts" which contains a font suitcase called "~MathType Fonts". The "~MathType Fonts" contains the TrueType versions of both MT Extra and Symbol. The name of a font suitcase does not need to match the fonts it contains. 
  7. To create a copy of "~MathType Fonts", hold down the Alt/Option key while dragging it to your desktop. 
  8. Drag the copy of the "~MathType Fonts" from your Desktop into the Fonts folder in your System folder.

At this point, it is a good idea to rebuild your desktop. 

Rebuilding your Desktop

Apple recommends rebuilding your desktop once a month. To rebuild your desktop, restart your Mac and hold down the Command and Alt/Option keys until you get a dialog box asking you if you want to rebuild your desktop. 

Click "OK". Your desktop will rebuild itself. Upon restarting MathType, you should no longer receive any error messages.

If you are having trouble rebuilding your desktop, or would like more information about its function, you should read the article about in on Apple's website in their on-line Technical Information Library.

What causes this problem

The MathType installer moves the Symbol font suitcase into a folder that it creates called "Fonts (Disabled)" during installation to ensure that your system does not use it.

When you upgrade your version of the Macintosh Operating System, reinstall Microsoft Office, or apply a patch to or invoke a "First Run" of Microsoft Office, these programs check your Fonts folder for the Symbol font suitcase. Since the Symbol font suitcase has been moved out of your Fonts folder, they install a Symbol font suitcase into your Fonts folder.

Some users, because they do not see a Symbol font suitcase in their Fonts folder, place a copy there, possible moving the Symbol font suitcase from "Fonts (Disabled)" back into their Fonts folder.

The best way to avoid receiving this error message is to manually remove the Symbol font suitcase from the Fonts folder in your System folder after upgrading Mac OS, or reinstalling, applying a patch to, or invoking a "First Run" of  Microsoft Office or one of its components.

Instructions for users of PostScript fonts

This section is only for MathType users who prefer to use PostScript fonts. If you are unfamiliar with PostScript fonts, you are using the TrueType version of MathType's fonts and do not need to read this section. 

The "~MathType Fonts" font suitcase is sufficient to activate the PostScript versions of the Symbol and MT Extra fonts. 

Font foundries usually provide a PostScript font along with a font suitcase containing bitmap versions. This is because Adobe Type Manager requires a non-empty font suitcase to activate PostScript fonts. The suitcase may contain a TrueType or bitmap font.

If you prefer to remove all TrueType fonts from your system, you can move Symbol font suitcase from the "Fonts (Disabled)" folder back into your Fonts folder. We do not distribute a bitmap version of MT Extra with MathType. If you have Microsoft Word or AppleWorks, you can leave the bitmap fonts in the MT Extra font suitcase. If you would like a copy of the bitmap version of MT Extra, please send a request to Technical Support.

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