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Insert and edit MathType equations in Word, using only the keyboard

Applies to:

  MathType 6 and later for Windows
MathType 6 and later for Mac
Word 2007 and later for Windows
Word 2011 for Mac

Situation:

You're a fast typist and enjoy using keyboard shortcuts in MathType, but wish there was a faster method to insert and edit equations in Word without using the mouse.

Keyboard shortcuts

As background information, you may already know that MathType has many keyboard shortcuts built in. We tried to assign these shortcuts so they would be easy to remember -- Ctrl+F for fraction (Command+F on Mac), Ctrl+R for square root (Command+R on Mac), etc. What about the ones that aren't obvious? Did you know that when you hover the mouse pointer over a menu item, a symbol, or a template in MathType the shortcut (if there is one) is shown in the Status Bar?

Reading the keyboard shortcut in the MathType status bar

You can also assign your own shortcuts, either replacing the existing shortcuts, or adding to the ones already there. To do that, use the Customize Keyboard command in the Preferences menu of MathType for Windows or in the Preferences flyout of the MathType menu on the Mac.

But that's not what this tip is about...

MathType's shortcuts in Word

When you're in Word and want to insert an equation, or you have an existing equation you want to edit, how do you do that without the mouse? MathType has several built-in shortcuts for that.

Inserting equations

You can insert an equation at the current cursor location in the document with keyboard shortcuts.

  • Insert display equation: Alt+Q (Mac: Option+Q)
  • Insert inline equation: Crtl+Alt+Q (Mac: Ctrl+Option+Q)
  • Insert right-numbered equation: Alt+Shift+Q (Mac: Option+Shift+Q)
  • Insert left-numbered equation: Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Q (Mac: Ctrl+Option+Shift+Q)

If you're using Windows and want to write out an equation by hand, you can use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+M to open the Math Input Panel. Write the equation and after ensuring it's correct, tap Insert and the equation will be placed into the Word document.

If you prefer to type using the LaTeX language, begin and end your equation with $ and $ or \[ and \] for an inline equation or display equation, respectively. After you've finished the equation, use the shortcut Alt+\ to convert the LaTeX code to a MathType equation.

Editing equations

If there's an equation already in the document and you want to edit the equation, first select the equation. To do this without the mouse, place the cursor to the left or right of the equation, then while holding the Shift key, press the right or left arrow, as appropriate, to select the equation. Then use one of these 2 shortcuts to edit it in MathType:

  • Edit equation in-place in the document: Alt+E (Windows only -- see below)
    • Use Esc to return to the document after editing.
  • Open equation for editing in a separate MathType window: Alt+O (Mac: Option+Command+O)
    • Use Ctrl+F4 to close MathType and return to the document after editing. Remember, you can change shortcuts or add your own, so if another shortcut is more convenient than Ctrl+F4, change it. Ctrl+W, for example, is a standard shortcut to close the window
      ("W" = "window"), so that one may be more convenient and easier to apply with 1 hand.

You already know what "editing in a separate MathType window" is, since that's MathType's normal mode of operation. Here's what it looks like when "editing in-place" -- not available on the Mac:

Editing a MathType equation in-place in a Word document


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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