Toolbar and icons

Editor toolbar

The following images show all the icons available in the toolbar tabs.
# Name Icons Shortcut
1 General MathType's General tab Alt+1
2 Symbols MathType's Symbols tab Alt+2
3 Arrows MathType's Arrows tab Alt+3
4 Greek, letters
and numbers
MathType's Greek letters and numbers tab Alt+4
5 Matrices and
MathType's matrices and elementary math tab Alt+5
6 Scripts and
MathType's scripts and layouts tab Alt+6
7 Decorations MathType's decorations (overbars, arcs, etc.) tab Alt+7
8 Big operators MathType's big operators tab Alt+8
9 Calculus MathType's calculus tab Alt+9
10 Contextual MathType's contextual tab Alt+0
Note: For some deployments, some or all of the shortcuts listed here may be disabled.
You can navigate the MathType Web toolbar using keyboard shortcuts.

The MathType window is divided into the Tab area, the Symbol area, and the Editing area.

When MathType Web first opens, you are in the editing area. You can jump to the first tab of the toolbar using a key combo; ALT+1 in MS Windows and Linux, or CTRL+1 in macOS. Similarly, you can use ALT+2 for the second tab, ALT+3 for the third,... up to Alt+0 for the last tab. These combos are shown in the tooltips of the tabs.

There are shortcuts for each of the tabs, identified in the tooltips for each tab.

Additionally, you can use ALT+ (left arrow key) for the tab to the left of the current tab, and ALT+(right arrow key) to open the tab to the right of the current tab.

Use Alt and left arrow to go to the previous tab, or Alt and right arrow to go to the next tab.

After jumping directly to a tab, you are now in the symbol area; more precisely, the very first symbol is selected. You can move between symbols, in both dimensions, using the arrow keys. You can enter into extra sections by pressing (down arrow key), and you can exit from them by pressing ESC.

You can access the extra sections of a group by pressing the down arrow. If you're in an extra section, press the escape key to exit the extra section.

You can insert the selected symbol by pressing SPACE or RETURN.

Once you've found the symbol you want, press the spacebar or return/enter key to insert it.

After inserting a symbol, you are back to the editing area. If you don't want to insert a symbol, you can always press ESC to cancel and go back to the editing area.

The Contextual tab is empty by default. It's populated with buttons when you place the insertion point into a place that has extra settings. The Contextual tab has a different set of buttons for various locations of the insertion point.

The Contextual tab is tab number 10 on MathType's toolbar.

In this section, we'll see how you can use the Contextual tab to affect the appearance of:

Tables and matrices

Tables can have a lot of settings; borders, alignments, and spacing. When the cursor enters a table or a matrix then the Contextual tab gets active.

Let's see what can be done with an example: Ruffini's rule, which is the Latin countries' version of Horner's method. This is what we'll be creating:

Ruffini's Rule

We start with a 3×5 matrix. Fill in the numbers:

Two-part image shows creating a 3-by-5 matrix, and inserting the numbers in it from the example we're creating.

Since we now have content (a matrix) that needs the extra configuration options in the Contextual tab, those options are now available for use. We can add formatting to our table (matrix), beginning with the lines.

  1. We want a vertical line to the right of column 1 and a horizontal line between rows 2 & 3. We want the insertion point to be in the column 1 cell containing the 1, so click there. Now click the Insert line below and Insert right line buttons to add the lines:
    Use the buttons on the contextual tab to add a line below row 2 and to the right of column 1.
  2. Click the Force equal column widths button:
    Use the contextual tab to make the column widths equal.
  3. We want the numbers to be "right-aligned", but the Align right button affects only the column containing the insertion point. Let's leave column 1 center-aligned. Press the right arrow key to move to column 2, then click Align right:
    Use the buttons on the contextual tab to set "right alignment" on column 2.
  4. Move to the subsequent columns and set right alignment on them as well.

    Tip: We want just a bit more spacing between the columns. We could add this spacing with the "Column spacing at right" button, , but that one, too, affects only the column containing the insertion point. Since the columns are set to "equal column widths", an easier way is to click inside one of the empty cells in column 1, and press Space until the columns are spaced as you like them. Note that you won't see any movement for the first few spaces. Here's the result of 6 spaces in the first cell:
    Add spaces in one of the empty cells to adjust the widths of all the columns.

If that looks good to you, you're finished. This might be a good opportunity to point the mouse at the other buttons we didn't use, to see what each one does. Remember, if you click something and you don't like the result, that's what undo is for!

Alignment of matrix/table rows & columns

MathType has 5 alignment settings for rows, and 5 more for columns. Except as noted below*, alignment settings match the MathML specification. These are your options:

Row alignmentColumn alignment
• Align rows to top: ""
• Align rows to center: ""
• Align rows to bottom: ""
• Align rows to baseline: ""
• Align rows to axis: ""
• Align left: ""
• Align center: ""
• Align right: ""
• *Decimal align: ""
• *Relation align: ""                

*For Decimal and Relation alignment, MathType adds an additional namespace declaration to the math element and adds the attribute wrs:columnalign to the mtable element. For example a 2×2 matrix with relation alignment on both columns might be coded like this:

<math xmlns="" xmlns:wrs="">
  <mtable wrs:columnalign="relation relation">

Row alignment

The result of most of these settings is intuitive, but some of them warrant further explanation:

  • Baseline alignment. The baseline is the imaginary line on which characters "sit". Some characters with "descenders" (like g, y, etc.) extend below the baseline, but their main section sits on the baseline:
    Image shows an expression's baseline.

    A matrix row with baseline alignment has the baselines of each cell in the row aligned with each other (dotted lines added here to show the cells):
  • Axis alignment. The axis (or math axis) of an equation is the line on which a minus sign typically lies. Also on the axis are the fraction bar, arrows, etc. The equal sign has one line on each side of the axis.
    Image shows an expression's math axis.

    A matrix row with axis alignment has the math axes of each cell in the row aligned with each other:
If you look at these examples and think they look alike, you're right. Often there will be little or no difference between axis alignment and baseline alignment.

Column alignment

Align left, center, and right are easy to understand, and work the same as similar commands in your word processor. There are two additional options that warrant further explanation.

  • Decimal align: Toolbar icon for decimal alignment.. MathType lets you choose to align the contents of a column at a decimal marker or at a space. Different decimal markers are used between countries. Aligning at a space makes it convenient if you have a column of numbers with units (kg, mm, μs, etc.), to align at the left edge of the units. Examples:
    Examples of decimal column alignment in MathType.
  • Relation align: Toolbar icon for relation alignment.. If you have a column of equations, inequalities, or other relations, MathType lets you align at the relational symbol. MathType will align on these relational symbols and operators:
    less than, greater than, less or equal than, less-than and single-line not equal to, greater or equal than, greater-than and single-line not equal to, much less-than, much greater-than, less-than or slanted equal to, greater-than or slanted equal to, precedes, succeeds, normal subgroup of, contains as normal subgroup, proportional to, equals, not equal to, identical to, not identical to, tilde, not tilde, almost equal to, not almost equal to, asymptotically equal to, approximately equal to

Multiline equations

There are two main reasons for an equation or a formula to comprise more than one line.

  1. When the equation is too long to fit on one line, especially when the document layout is multiple columns:
    Image shows an equation that spans to 4 lines.
  2. When showing a step-by-step process, or when showing successive simplification steps:
    Image shows 3 lines of a solution, showing successive steps.

When you add a second line to a formula, the options on the Contextual tab become active. A formula with multiple lines is like a column of a table; you can horizontally align all lines at once. The Contextual tab has the buttons for that.

This is the same equation as the previous one showing successive steps of a solution, but it is not aligned at the equal symbol.
A button on the Contextual tab allows aligning on relational symbols and operators.

As in matrices, MathType will align on these relational symbols and operators:

less than, greater than, less or equal than, less-than and single-line not equal to, greater or equal than, greater-than and single-line not equal to, much less-than, much greater-than, less-than or slanted equal to, greater-than or slanted equal to, precedes, succeeds, normal subgroup of, contains as normal subgroup, proportional to, equals, not equal to, identical to, not identical to, tilde, not tilde, almost equal to, not almost equal to, asymptotically equal to, approximately equal to

Mixed fences (different open and close fence)

Sometimes, such as when writing half-open or half-closed intervals, we need to use one type of open fence and a different type of closed fence:

Image shows an example of a half-closed interval. This has a left bracket to begin the interval and a right parenthesis to end it.

Note that when you type parentheses, brackets, and braces, if you get only one, and not a pair of left/right fences, your integration of MathType is not configured for automatic formatting. If this is the case, and if you don't need stretchy fences (i.e., for tall content), then you don't need to do anything special in these situations. Simply type the open fence you need, type the content, and type whatever closing fence you need.

To type the example above, we'll need the contextual tab.

Type the left side

Let's use the Square brackets template:

Image shows selecting the square brackets template from the General tab (tab 1).

We need to replace the closing square bracket with a closing parenthesis, but we'll have more changes than that, so let's continue for now.

Type the right side

For the right side, use the Angle brackets with bar template on the Decorations tab:

Select the "angle brackets with bar" template on the Decorations tab (tab 7).

Replace the close fence on the left

We have 3 fences we need to replace -- the ones shown in red here (the red isn't part of the equation; it's just to show which ones we need to change):

Red in the equation indicates we need to replace the bracket that closes the set on the left side of the equation, as well as the 2 angle brackets enclosing the right side of the equation.

Click inside the fenced expression on the left. Click anywhere in there; it doesn't matter, as long as it's between the 2 square brackets. On the Contextual tab, find the setCloseBracket button and click it:

The set close bracket button is on the contextual tab, and it's what you'll need for replacing the set's close bracket.

Choose a right parenthesis:

When you click "set close bracket", a list will drop down and you can choose the desired fence from this list. We want a right parenthesis, which is the top fence on column 2.

Replace both fences on the right

Similarly, click anywhere inside the fenced expression on the right. On the Contextual tab, Choose the left curly bracket from the setOpenBracket list and the right curly bracket from the setCloseBracket list, and you have this:

Similar to the process described in step 3 above, replace both angle brackets on the right with left and right curly brackets, respectively.



If you've used MathType Web or MathType Desktop even briefly, one thing you no doubt already know is that some symbols expand along with their associated contents — an arrow above a vector, a radical symbol, fence templates, etc.:

Image shows examples of symbols and fences stretching.

In the MathML standard, some symbols are stretchy by default. MathType follows this convention.

You can override MathType's automatic default for the stretchy attribute of these symbols by using a button on the Contextual tab. To enable that button, first click to the immediate left or right of a stretched symbol that you want to "unstretch", then click the Stretchy button on the Contextual tab to unstretch it:

The "stretchy" button on the contextual tab will "unstretch" a symbol that has stretched.

Note there's no way in MathType to control the stretchy attribute of something that must be stretched, such as a fraction bar or a radical symbol.

Elementary math

In the Using MathType section on Elementary math, we described how to create common math expressions that are taught in the primary grades (ages 8-12). Sometimes these techniques are useful at a higher level as well. While we described above how to create these expressions, we didn't describe the options available on the Contextual tab for modifying these expressions.

Let's look at a few examples…

Note there are different methods around the world of showing these steps, depending on the country. The methods below are common in the U.S., and may be different for other countries. Regardless of location, the process in MathType is the same.

Subtraction with borrows

We'll create this subtraction problem:

1 thousand 234 minus 567 equals 667

The instructions above suggest to "have the formula written down somewhere beforehand…Proceed row by row, from top to bottom."

That's what we'll do...

  1. Choose the proper template from the Matrices and elementary tab. Proper in this case means you have a choice of two:
    • 3 rows stack with line and plus sign: . Since this is subtraction, if you choose this one, simply change the + sign to –.
    • 3 rows stack with line and minus sign: "". Choosing this one requires an extra click, since it's behind the "expander button": "". This is the template we'll use for this example.
  2. Like the suggestion above, type the contents, row by row, from top to bottom:
    Image shows the subtraction problem created in MathType without any modifications.
  3. Let's create the "borrows" on the top row (mathematically, that's the minuend). Click anywhere inside the minuend, then click the Contextual tab to bring it to the front:
    Same as previous image, but contextual tab has focus, and insertion point is between the tens and ones digits in the minuend.
  4. Notice the part in the middle that looks like a 3×3 matrix. That's where we'll create the borrows, but when you point the mouse at the button in the middle, it mentions carries, not borrows: "". That's OK; MathType doesn't know what mathematical operation we're creating. It's still the correct button, so click it. The position of the cursor in the borrows row will depend on its position in the minuend when you clicked the button, so don't worry if the position of your cursor is different from ours:
    After clicking the "insert carries" button, MathType adds a new row above the minuend.
  5. The 3×3 grid now shows the position of the borrows. The current position is directly above each digit in the minuend. We want them above & to the left, so click the button in row 1, column 1:
    Image shows slots for "borrows" digits are above and to the left of corresponding digits in the minuend.
  6. Click above and to the left of the 3; type 2. Press and type 1. If there are extra slots to the left of 1, press Backspace (Windows) or Delete (Mac) until they're gone. If you delete too many, undo until you're back where you need to be.
    Image shows the 2 borrow digits that have been added.
  7. Select 3 in the minuend, either by dragging the mouse across it, or by pressing Shift and using arrow keys to select it. Notice when you do that, a new section appears in the Contextual tab. One of the new buttons is Up diagonal strike. Click it.
    Image shows the "3" is selected in the minuend (which is the tens digit).
  8. Repeat with 2.
    Now there are crossouts and borrows on 2 digits in the minuend.
    We're finished except for 2 things: we want more space between the – sign and the 5, and we want a little more horizontal space between the digits.
  9. Click between – and 5. Press the spacebar. Now click the Spacing between digits button: "". Choose a number somewhere in the middle -- such as 5px. Adjust the value until it looks like you want it to look. This is 8px, and now we're finished:
    Image shows completed elementary subtraction equation.

Long division

This is the division we'll create:

198 divided by 12 equals 16.5

  1. On the Matrices and elementary tab, you'll see a template for long division: with divisor and quotient. Click that one.
  2. Since the cursor is flashing inside the divisor, we'll start there. Type 12, then press . Now you're in the quotient, so type 16.5. Right-arrow again, then type 198.
    198 divided by 12 equals 16.5; quotient is not lined up with dividend
  3. The quotient doesn't align correctly with the dividend, so let's shift the quotient to the right by one digit. Click in the quotient to the left of 1, or use arrow keys to get there. Press the spacebar:
    198 divided by 12 equals 16.5; quotient is now lined up with dividend
  4. Press to place the cursor back into the dividend. Press Enter. Notice the cursor does not have to be at the end of the line. Unless you pressed twice to place the cursor at the end of the dividend, it looked like this when you pressed Enter: 198, with cursor between 1 and 9. MathType knew what you wanted to do, and it left the dividend alone and added a slot beneath it for the first subtraction step.
  5. Type 12. Before we continue, we want a line beneath 12, so on the Contextual tab, click Insert line:
    We've entered the first result beneath the dividend -- the result of multiplying 1 by 12.
  6. See if you can complete the division problem, using a process similar to what we've already done.
    Image shows complete long division problem, with all the subtraction results beneath the dividend.

Polynomial multiplication

Polynomial multiplication isn't elementary math, but the structure you'll use in MathType is the same as what's used in elementary math. This is the multiplication we'll create:

x plus 1 times x minus 1 equals x squared minus 1

  1. Let's use this template:
    from the "matrices and elementary" tab (tab 5), the button labeled "3 rows stack with line and multiplication sign".
  2. Type the multiplier, x+1, then the multiplicand, x-1. If you want a bit more space between the operator (×) and the multiplicand, press Space to the left of the multiplicand.
  3. Type the first line of the sub-product, then press Enter:
  4. The insertion point (cursor) is in the units digit. If we begin typing there, the result will not be good:
    Insertion point is in the wrong place to continue.
    That's nearly what we need, actually. Let's take it one step at a time.
  5. Type x². After you type the superscript, press once to place the insertion point to the right of x². Press it once more. You won't notice a difference. In fact, it won't appear to have moved at all, but it did.
  6. Type +x, then press Space twice. On the Contextual tab, click the Insert line button to add a line beneath the sub-product.
  7. Press Enter and type x², followed by 2 as above. Press Space twice, then type –1. Finished! If you want crossouts on the first degree term in the sub-products, add them using the techniques you learned above.
    2-part image. On the left is the finished multiplication problem, and on the right is the same one, but with crossed-out x terms in the sub-products.
Placeholders. Surely you noticed these symbols: Placeholder symbol. Those are placeholders, and they'll help you align the digits in expressions such as the ones we've created in this section. That's also why we needed to press a couple times above. Take the case of x², for example. After typing 2, we pressed once to exit the superscript template, but we were still in the same digit position occupied by x². By pressing once more, we moved the insertion point to a new placeholder position, which caused x² to be moved to the left the appropriate amount as we continued typing the expression.


MathType does a great job of laying out mathematical expressions according to industry-standard mathematical typesetting standards. Even so, sometimes there are cases where you just want something to be positioned a bit differently. There may also be times when there's no way to do what you need to do except to position it manually. MathType provides for this, via the Nudging buttons on the Contextual tab.

By using nudging, you can make these transformations:

Image shows 4 examples of using nudging to produce a more visually appealing result.

Rather than a set of step-by-step instructions, here are some tips on how MathType's nudging works:

  • After you've selected the symbol or sub-expression you want to nudge, the nudging buttons on the Contextual tab will become active:
  • Click the button that corresponds to the direction you want to move the selection.
    There are buttons on the contextual tab for nudging left, right, up, and down.
  • If you copy and paste a selection that contains nudging, the nudging will be retained in the pasted expression:
  • Text size matters! Each click of a nudging button will move the selection one pixel – regardless of text size. Thus, if your equations are set to a text size of 16px, one click will represent a much larger movement than at 32px, and a much smaller movement than at 8px. In this example, we see the expression a + b at 8px, 16px, and 32px, respectively. The top row has no nudging, but in the bottom row, b has been nudged two clicks to the left:
    Three examples of nudging, showing that with larger type, each click of a nudging button has a smaller effect than each click when the characters are set in smaller type.
    It's easy to see each click resulted in a good bit more relative movement at the smaller text sizes than at the large one.

This tab is meant to collect some of the functions in MathType that are used in a publishing setting. These are typically only for the advanced user to control the MathML generated from MathType.

MathType Publishers tab

Note this special-use tab is not part of the toolbar by default, and must be activated by an admin.

Buttons on the Publishers tab


This button adds a display="inline" attribute to the entire formula. This is meant for writing formulas inside of paragraphs, as opposed to each formula being displayed on its own line. Elements such as subscripts may also change. It is a toggle button -- if you press it once, the entire editing area is affected (simply because it adds an attribute to the <math> tag). If you press it again, the attribute will be removed from the entire formula again.

Invisible operators

These are mainly useful towards the aim of improving accessibility options. However, they can also be used to achieve subtly neater visual results (particularly spacing and linebreaking rules). For example, compare the two renderings below, together with associated accessible text. Both meant to represent x times y.

Rendering Accessible text
No invisible times xy xy
Invisible times xy x invisible times y

There are four invisible operators in MathML, all of which you can insert from the MathType Web Publishers tab.

Remove <mo> tags from separators

For many reasons, MathType Web puts separators such as commas and periods inside their own <mo> tag, even if they form a part of a number inside an <mn> tag. However, this may cause spacing issues depending on how you render MathML. For this reason we've added a button that removes all <mo> tags from separators inside an <mn> tag. This is also toggle button - if you press it once, the entire editing area is affected. If you press it again, the option will be removed from the entire formula again.

Configuring the MathType Web toolbar according to your needs is entirely possible. Visit the Custom toolbar page for a technical guide. Review a few examples below. (These are "live" examples; feel free to try them out here.)


Chemistry toolbar

In some MathType Integrations you can use the Chemistry toolbar directly from a specific icon . In those integrations the Chemistry toolbar is referred as ChemType. Find out more about our Chemistry features.

PARCC (Grade 6-8)

Basic math