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MathType Tips: Modify the shortcuts MathType installs into Word

Applies to:

  MathType 6 and later
(Windows and Macintosh)
Microsoft Word 2002-2016
(except Word 2008)

Situation:

After installing MathType, you've noticed there are now several keyboard shortcuts in Word that have changed. You'd like to use some of these shortcut keys for different commands.

Solution:

When you install MathType, the installation process installs several keyboard shortcuts into Microsoft Word. These shortcuts can then be used in lieu of the buttons on MathType's tab in Word, or on the MathType menu or toolbar (Word 2011). Here is a list of keyboard shortcuts added by MathType, as listed in MathType Help:

Windows
  • Insert display equation (Alt+Q)
  • Insert inline equation (Crtl+Alt+Q)
  • Insert right-numbered equation (Alt+Shift+Q)
  • Insert left-numbered equation (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Q)
  • Open Math Input Panel (Ctrl+Shift+M)
  • Toggle MathType/TeX (Alt+\)
  • Edit equation in-place in the document (Alt+E)
  • Open equation for editing in a separate MathType window (Alt+O)
Mac
  • Insert display equation (Option+Q)
  • Insert inline equation (Control+Option+Q)
  • Insert right-numbered equation (Option+Shift+Q)
  • Insert left-numbered equation (Control+Option+Shift+Q)
  • Toggle MathType/TeX (Option+\) Note: On some non-English keyboards, the keyboard shortcut will be Control+X.
  • Edit equation in-place in the document (Command+Option+O)

Using shortcuts

Using the shortcut keys is fairly straightforward. If you're a "shortcut maven", you may want to progress on to the next paragraph, but it's worth explaining here what the shortcut notation means. It's pretty standard to list shortcut key combinations with the + symbol between keys. This doesn't mean you press the + key; it's just a way to connect the keys together. It's also not necessary to have a lot of finesse about releasing the keys together at precisely the same moment. Take the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+Q, for example. One excellent technique is to press and hold the Ctrl and Alt keys. While you're holding down these 2 keys, press and release the Q key, then release the other 2 keys. One other note -- specifying the Q key does not mean "upper case Q" (IOW, it does not entail pressing the Shift key). When it's necessary to press the Shift key, this will be shown in the shortcut itself -- Option+Shift+Q, for example.

Changing the shortcuts to something else

You may want to change one or more of these shortcuts to something easier for you to remember. Perhaps you had previously assigned one of these shortcuts to something else, and would like that shortcut assignment back to what it was before installing MathType. There is more than one way to do that, but this is probably the easiest:

  1. The first step varies, depending on your version of Word.
    • Word 2007, 2010, 2013, & 2016, click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar launcher, and choose More Commands. In the left nav section, click Customize Ribbon. (Word 2007, click Customize.)
    • Word 2011, click Tools > Customize Keyboard.... (Skip to step 3 below.)
    • Word 2002-2003, click Tools > Customize > Keyboard
  2. Beneath the list of commands on the left, click Keyboard shortcuts: Customize....
  3. In the Customize Keyboard dialog, scroll the Categories to the bottom and choose Macros.
  4. In the Macros list, look for the group of macros beginning with MT. These are the macros for which MathType assigns a keyboard shortcut during installation (in the same order listed above):
    • MTCommand_InsertDispEqn
    • MTCommand_InsertInlineEqn
    • MTCommand_InsertRightNumberedDispEqn
    • MTCommand_InsertLeftNumberedDispEqn
    • MTCommand_MathInputControl (present, but disabled in Word 2011)
    • MTCommand_TeXToggle
    • MTCommand_EditEquationInPlace (present, but disabled in Word 2011)
    • MTCommand_EditEquationOpen
  5. If you want, you can add a new keyboard shortcut while retaining the old one, and both shortcuts will work. If you want to use the old keyboard shortcut for another command, you must remove it. To remove an assigned shortcut, select the appropriate macro listed above, select the shortcut listed in the Current keys window, and click Remove.
  6. To assign a new shortcut key, select the appropriate macro listed above, click inside the Press new shortcut key text box (Word 2011: Press new keyboard shortcut), and press the keyboard shortcut you want to assign. Click the Assign button.
  7. Click OK when you're finished.

Note that after completing these steps, when you close Word you may see a pop-up dialog saying you've made some changes to the "global template, Normal.dotm", and asking if you'd like to save the changes. You must click Save in this dialog, or else you'll have to repeat the above process next time you want to use the revised shortcuts.

Here's a customer-produced video showing this process in Word 2010 (thanks to Maria Andersen for the video):

If you have a tip that you'd like to pass along to us for possible inclusion in our Tips & Tricks, email us.

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