"Word is waiting for an OLE action to finish."

The information on this page applies to:
MathType for WindowsMicrosoft Office for Windows

You're working on a Word document and want to insert a MathType equation. You've clicked "Inline"¹ to insert the equation and after a couple of seconds you see this error message:

Word is waiting for an OLE action to finish.

Clicking Switch To has no effect, neither does clicking Retry. After clicking Cancel, this message pops up:

The program used to create this object is Equation. That program is either not installed on your computer or is not responding. To edit this object, install Equation or insure that any dialog boxes in Equation are closed.

¹This issue also happens after clicking "Display", "Left-numbered", or "Right-numbered".

Both messages give clues as to what's going on. The first one is rather direct; the second one a bit more subtle.

The first message mentions an OLE action. We don't need to go into what all that means, and in fact you may already know, but the important thing here is that 1) MathType is already open and 2) there is likely a MathType dialog open as well. This could be any one of a couple dozen MathType dialogs, but let's just say for example you were setting the main equation font, and got distracted, leaving MathType like this:

The MathType Define Styles dialog is still open.

When you click the "Insert" button (or other) to insert an equation into Word, MathType can't open the equation editing workspace for you, because the "Define Styles" dialog is still open. That's the OLE action the error message is talking about.

The second message Word pops up makes less sense, but it does ask you to ensure all "dialog boxes in Equation are closed". That's what we describe below.

The solution is generally simple — switch to MathType and close the dialog box. Sometimes it's not that simple though.

What if you see MathType's icon in the Windows Taskbar, but clicking it doesn't bring the window up so you can close the dialog? Alt+Tab is no help either. The solution is still simple, but the step to take in this case isn't intuitive.

  • Click the Windows Notifications icon, Windows Notifications icon, in the lower right of the taskbar..
  • There will be a group of Windows Settings buttons at the bottom of the Notifications pane. Click Project:
    The Project button is the lower left of the 16 Settings buttons.
  • In the Project pane, click PC screen only:
    "PC screen only" is the top of 4 options in the Project pane.
  • Once you do that, the MathType window will either be visible so you can close the dialog, or you'll be able to click its icon in the Taskbar to bring it to the front. Either way, close the open dialog and you should be able to proceed.


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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.