4. Setting MathType Fonts & Sizes (the Style and Size menus)
You most likely want your equations to match the text in your document, PowerPoint presentation, or
web page, so you need to know how to change the fonts & font sizes in MathType.
The Style Menu – setting the fonts.
You’ll see several style names listed on the MathType Style menu,
but the one you’ll use most often is called “Math”. Actually, Math
isn’t a style of its own; it’s a combination of other styles.
MathType is smart enough, for example, to know that when you’re
, you probably want the variable and the lower-case
Greek letter to be italicized, but not the function name or the
number. Thus, MathType switches between Function, Variable,
Greek-Symbol, and Number styles as appropriate. (“Number” isn’t
a style you see on the menu, but it is a separate style of its own, as
we’ll see in a minute.) To set all this up, select “Define”, at the
bottom of the menu.
When you select Define, you’ll
see another “dialog box”. (A
“dialog box”, or simply “dialog”,
is a window like the one shown to
the right where you can select
options and settings.)
In the Define Styles dialog, you’ll
see a couple of “radio buttons”
labeled Simple and Advanced.
We’ll go over each of these.
“Simple” is the one you’ll use
In the selection labeled “Primary font”, the font you choose will be the font MathType will use for text,
function names, variables, vector and matrix names, and numbers. Normally you’ll want all of these to
be the same font, but we’ll see in a minute how to make them different. You’ll probably want the
Primary font to be the same font you’re using in your document. MathType doesn’t know what font
you’re using in your document, so it’s important to set it here.
The selection labeled “Greek and math fonts” isn’t normally changed. You’ll see you have only two
options there anyway – “Symbol and MT Extra” and “Euclid Symbol and Euclid Extra”. You likely
won’t see much difference between these two choices, so leave it set as you see above.
At the lower right of this dialog is a final checkbox, labeled “Use for new equations”. This is checked
by default, and if you leave it checked, all subsequent equations you create will use these same font
settings until you change them again. If you’re just wanting the next equation to have a certain special
look, but want the rest of the equations to look like the equations before the one you’re working on,
uncheck this box.
After everything’s set the way you want it, click OK and the dialog closes.
Now click on Style/Define again,
and this time select Advanced.
You’ll see the dialog that’s
pictured to the right. This is where
you would make special settings,
like if you wanted all the numbers
in Arial and the rest of the
equation in Times New Roman,
for some reason. Notice also the
boxes labeled Bold and Italic.
Check or uncheck as desired. (By
the way, “L.C. Greek” is lower-
case Greek. Guess what “U.C.
User 1 and User 2 styles are not
normally used, but when you need
them, they’re quite handy. One
example where you may want to
use a “User” style is if you’re
discussing the effect of a
variable’s coefficient on a graph (or you want the student to do so), so you choose to have the variables
in Times New Roman italic, but the coefficient in Times New Roman bold italic. For example, I could
say, “Describe the effect on the graph of the function when the value of a increases:
x bx c
In this example, I used User 2 style for the coefficient a.
The Size Menu – setting the sizes.
Just like MathType automatically changes the style depending on the types of items contained in your
equation, it also changes sizes. For most of your equations, you’ll just leave the size specification set to
“Full”. When you type an exponent, MathType knows you want it to be smaller than the base, so it
switches to “Subscript” size. Likewise, if you’re teaching sequences
and series, and want to enter a summation template, MathType knows
to create the Sigma symbol larger than the surrounding variables and
numbers, so it switches to “Symbol” size. Even though this switching
is automatic, you still have control over what sizes MathType uses
when it selects these special sizes. To specify these sizes, select
“Define” at the bottom of the Size menu.
The “Define Sizes”
dialog is quite
different from the
Define Styles dialog.
One of the major
differences is the
presence of a
The preview window
doesn’t show you
the actual equation
you may be working
on, but it does give you an indication of what exactly will change if you change the setting that’s
highlighted to the left of the preview window. For example, in the picture above, the only thing that
will change in that sample equation when I change the “Full” size setting (notice the “12” is
highlighted) is the X.
In MathType, the size setting called “Full” is the setting that you want to be identical to the text size in
your document. If you’re typing a test, and you’re using 11-pt type size, make sure the MathType
“Full” size is set to 11-pt.
Notice the rest of the sizes (except “Smaller/Larger Increment”) are specified as a percent. Percent of
what? These are percentages of the “Full” size. The beauty of leaving these set as percentages is that
once you set them, you never have to change them! If you change the Full size from 10-pt (like you
may use in a quiz) to 32-pt (like you may use in PowerPoint or on an overhead transparency), you
don’t have to change the other sizes because they’re still proportionally correct. If you want to set these
other sizes as point sizes, you have that option, but chances are you won’t want to. (Notice there’s a
User 1 and User 2 size. Use these similarly to the way you’d use a User 1 or User 2 style.)
So, what’s a “Smaller/Larger Increment”? Notice back up on the MathType Size menu (pictured at the
bottom of the previous page), two items near the bottom are labeled “Smaller” and “Larger”. If you
want to make an item or items in your equation smaller or larger than the surrounding items in the
equation, you can select them, and repeatedly select Smaller or Larger from the Size menu until you
get the size you want. How much smaller or larger MathType makes them is determined by the
“Smaller/Larger Increment” on the Define Sizes dialog.
BEWARE – It’s generally not a good idea to highlight an entire equation and select Smaller or Larger,
because the results will almost certainly not be what you wanted! (see below) If you want to increase
or decrease the size of an entire equation, the best way to do it is by changing the Full size
specification. You may want to deselect the “Use for new equations” checkbox.
; 10-pt plus 8 “larger” applications:
Notice that the 18-pt expression is proportionally correct, but the 10-pt equation that was converted to
18-pt by repetitively clicking “larger” on the size menu has an exponent that is too large. That’s
because both the base and the exponent are increased by 1-pt each time you click on “larger”.
5. MathType Preference Files
You naturally want your equations to match the text of your document, but you probably don’t always
use the same font or same size font. MathType gives you a convenient way to change between fonts &
sizes by letting you save these settings into a “preference file”. Let’s say you want to create your 7
Grade Math tests in 12-pt Times New Roman font, but you want to use 10-pt Arial for your 8
Pre-AP Algebra tests.
The first thing to do is to save “12-pt Times New Roman” as a
“Preference File”. Those are the default settings when you install
MathType, so chances are, that’s what’s set now. To save it, click
on Preferences in the MathType menu bar. Now point to Equation
Preferences, and another menu expands. In this menu, click on
“Save to File…” In the next dialog, you’ll get a chance to name the
preference file. Since it’s only a file like any other file, you can
name it like any other file.
Notice how the others are named
though. They are named with the
name and size of the font. That’s
a good idea, because it helps you
know what to expect when you
select that particular preference
file. After you type in a file
name, click Save.
Now that we have a preference file saved for 12-pt Times New Roman, change your style to Arial.
(Remember, you do this in the Style menu by selecting the Define option at the bottom of the menu.
Also recall that it’s easier if you select the “Simple” option.) Now change the “Full” size setting to 10.
(This is in the Size menu, under Define.) Don’t change any of the other sizes. Now save the preference
file and name it “Arial-10”, or another name of your choosing. (You don’t need to type in “eqp” after
the file name; MathType will add that for you after you click Save.)
So, what’s saved in a preference file? We’ve already seen two of the three categories of data that are
saved in a preference file, but there is one more – spacing. Let’s say you’re looking at your
superscripted numbers and variables, and you think the exponent needs to be a little closer to the base,
and the numerator in your fractions is a little too close to the fraction bar. By exploring the menus, you
stumble across something in the Format menu labeled “Define Spacing”. In this menu, you discover
how to change your superscripts and fractions to look more like the examples below:
Any adjustments you make in the Define Spacing dialog are also saved to the preference file.
6. Creating a blank grid for student graphing
One of the most common questions we get is “Does MathType make graphs?” I always give a
“qualified” answer to that question – No, MathType won’t graph a function, but you can make a blank
grid for students to do the graphing. Note: There is a more detailed procedure for grids and number
lines on our web site. You can access this tip at
(This will be done using Equation Editor. If you are using MathType, the steps are similar.)
a. In a Microsoft Word (the procedure may be adapted for other software), open Equation
Editor From the
menu, and select
. From the list, choose “Microsoft
Equation”, and click OK.
b. On the
Variable-size matrix or table
You can look at the “Status Bar” – the very bottom of the Word or MathType window – to see
what it is you’re pointing to:
c. In the Matrix dialog, specify the size you want. You probably want
a larger one than 6
6, but we’ll use this size as an example. The
maximum size is 30
30, so if your axes will be in the center, that’s
15 on both axes. Notice the comment at the bottom of the dialog:
“Click between elements to add/change partition lines.”
d. There are 4 types of lines: no line (the default), solid line, dashed
line, and dotted line. You select the type of line by continuing to
click in the same location (twice for dashed, etc.). If you put solid
axes in the center of the
grid, and dotted lines
everywhere else, the screenshot to the left is what the
dialog would look like when you’re through. Below is
what the grid looks like in your finished test, quiz, or
whatever (these are dotted lines except the axes).
In MathType, the column and
row specifications are in a
different place, and there is a
“Clear all lines” button, which is
handy. You can also save the
grid on the MathType toolbar,
which you can’t do in Equation
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested