Some (La)TeX and MathML fails to translate

The information on this page applies to:
  • MathType for Windows
  • MathType for Mac
All supported versions of Windows and macOS
Note: As the title indicates, this article applies to TeX, LaTeX, and MathML. The examples given are LaTeX, but the points mentioned in the article apply equally to all text languages into which MathType can translate equations.
  • You've typed this equation (below) in MathType, and want to use MathType's Toggle TeX feature in Word to convert it to LaTeX.An equation showing the similarity of Fourier and Laplace transforms. Part of the equation is in red.The resulting LaTeX does not include the \color command. What you see is this:
    \hat{f}\left( \omega \right)={{\left. \mathcal{L}\left\{ f\left( t \right) \right\} \right|}_{s=i\omega }}=\int_{-\infty }^{\infty }{{{e}^{-i\omega t}}f\left( t \right)dt}
  • You figure not all is lost, since you have this equation in a colleague's paper, written in LaTeX. You copy the equation from her paper and paste it into MathType, intending to include it in your Word document. Here's her equation, \fhat\left( \omega \right)={{\left. \lapl\left\{ f\left( t \right) \right\} \right|}_{s=i\omega }}=\int_{-\infty }^{\infty }{\color{red}{{{e}^{-i\omega t}}f\left( t \right)}}dt and this is what you see in MathType:Equation showing two errors -- "\fhat" and "\lapl" didn't translate.Well rats. Now the color is there, but you have 2 other errors. What's up?

There are several reasons why MathType did not produce the result you were after in this case. Consider…

  1. MathType is not a LaTeX editor. It processes commands internally in its own language, then produces either graphical output or textual output. For textual output, such as LaTeX or MathML, MathType must translate its internal language into the desired output language, in this case LaTeX. Just like for spoken languages, translation is subject to errors and is rarely perfect. Such is the case when using MathType to translate into LaTeX.
  2. MathType does not support the full gamut of what is possible in LaTeX. When you create an equation in MathType and want to translate to LaTeX, MathType will not translate many (perhaps most) LaTeX commands that are appearance attributes, such as \color in this example.
  3. Another thing MathType does not understand is customization. In the second example in the Issue section above, the author of the original equation had included these 2 lines:
    \newcommand{\fhat}{\hat{f}}
    \newcommand{\lapl}{\mathcal{L}}
    These weren't copied with the equation to paste into MathType, but even if they were, MathType wouldn't have understood. Since MathType does not support command definitions, these appear in MathType in red, indicating they were not translated.

There are a handful more things MathType is able to accept on input than it will produce on output. You've seen one of those things in these examples — \color. There are more, but it's impossible to list them all here.

In general, it's possible for you to customize MathType's translators, but such customization is limited. If there's a particular character MathType doesn't understand or a command you'd like to tweak, you might be able to figure out how to do it. The translator files are just text files, and the output translator files are not that difficult to understand. Give it a shot and remember to always work with a backup copy.

Please keep in mind if you do try your own tweaks, we're probably not able to provide technical support. We'll help to the extent we can, but that will likely be limited to obvious errors you've made in the translator, and won't include any detailed troubleshooting.


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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.