MathType with LibreOffice/OpenOffice

LibreOffice and OpenOffice are not the same product and are not maintained by the same organization. Still, they're similar enough that the instructions you see on this page will apply to both suites. Screen shots are from LibreOffice. When we refer to LibreOffice on this page, the steps and instructions apply equally to OpenOffice.
MathType works with LibreOffice and OpenOffice for Windows, allowing you to insert equations into documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. See below for LibreOffice/OpenOffice for Mac.

These general techniques will work for LibreOffice Writer, Impress, and Calc. Where there are differences or special considerations for one of these applications, these are covered in the separate section below for the particular application.

  • Choose Insert > Object > OLE Object.
  • Choose Further objects, then click OK.
  • In the Insert Object dialog, choose MathType 7.0 Equation, then click OK.
  • MathType will open up in a separate window. Create your equation the way you want it to appear in your document, close the MathType window, and your equation will appear in LibreOffice.
  • You can also copy & paste or drag & drop an equation from an open MathType window, however, we do not recommend using copy & paste or drag & drop because the equation will be inserted as a picture, not an "object". It will look OK, but you cannot edit it.
  • Using the mouse, move the equation near where you want it. You can then make finer adjustments by using the keyboard's arrow keys while it's still selected. If it "jumps around" too much, hold down the Alt key as you press the appropriate arrow key to move it smoothly into position.

Edit equations in LibreOffice

Since OLE remembers MathType is what you used to create the equation, double-clicking it opens the equation in MathType for editing. After you have finished your changes, closing the window will update the equation in LibreOffice.

Moving the equation into position

  • Writer's default is for the equation you inserted to be "floating", with "Optimal Page Wrap" text wrapping. This means you can move the equation anywhere you want on the page, except you cannot place it in the middle of a sentence. Text will wrap left or right (but not both), as well as above and below.
  • To convert an equation to "inline", right-click the equation — with or without selecting it first — and choose Anchor > As Character from the contextual menu.)
  • You can move the equation by using the keyboard's arrow keys while it's still selected. Once it gets close to where you want it, hold down the Alt key as you press the appropriate arrow key to move it smoothly into position.

Edit an equation in Writer

Editing an equation is as simple as double-clicking it. After you make your edits, close the MathType window and your revised equation will appear in your document. Remember, as stated above, if you use copy & paste or drag & drop to get your equations from MathType into LibreOffice, you will not be able to edit them. If you find an error, you'll need to replace the old equation with a new one.

Note: You can copy a MathType equation from a LibreOffice document and paste it into another place in the document. Equations placed in this manner will be editable, but be advised this may cause problems later on if the "OLE" information (i.e., the information used by LibreOffice to know the equation was created by MathType) gets corrupted.

Saving the LibreOffice document in Word docx format

If you choose to save the document as a Word document, there are some things you should know:

  1. Equations that were inserted as "objects" as described above can be edited in the normal way in Word, i.e., by double-clicking them.
  2. Equation objects will not respond kindly to the use of most commands on the MathType tab in Word, such as Format Equations or Convert Equations. We do not recommend using these commands on documents created in LibreOffice.
  3. If there are equations you inserted as LibreOffice Formulas in your document, they will be OMML equations (i.e., Word equations) when you save as .docx and open the document in Word. MathType can edit these equations, but only if you use the Convert Equations command first, converting them into MathType objects. If you do this, we recommend selecting the part of the document containing the equations (i.e., dragging the mouse across it or otherwise selecting the text and equations), and using the Current selection Range in the Convert Equations dialog.

Inline equations

There's no such thing as a true inline equation in Impress. You must insert equations as described above, and move it into position, making enough room for text after the equation by manually inserting spaces.

Sizing equations

MathType maintains a connection with Impress when you add equations as we recommended, but that connection doesn't allow MathType to know what font or what size font you're using in Impress. We do not recommend sizing the equation by dragging a corner. Instead, please size the equation correctly by letting MathType set the size for you means of the Define Sizes dialog in MathType. There are at least 2 advantages of setting the size this way. One, you set it once and forget it (until you need a different size, such as using MathType in Writer). If you drag a corner, you have to do it for every equation. Two, if you drag a corner, no two equations are exactly the same size nor are they the same size as the text of your slide. By using Define Sizes, you will have consistently-sized equations.

The main consideration in using MathType with Calc is the same as using it with any spreadsheet: MathType will not produce formulas you can compute with. They are labels only.

Our recommendation for inserting MathType equations into Calc is no different from what we stated above — we recommend not using copy & paste or drag & drop.

If you do use copy & paste, the equation will, as described above, look fine but will be a non-editable picture.

If you use drag & drop, the equation will not only be a non-editable picture, but it will be distorted:

If you drag and drop an equation from MathType into Calc, its appearance will be distorted.

Further, if you insert an equation with drag & drop, then try to edit it by double-clicking, you'll get an error:

You'll get an olay error if you double-click an equation you inserted with drag and drop.

For all practical purposes, MathType does not work with LibreOffice for Mac. (Actually it's more correct to say LibreOffice for Mac does not allow MathType to work with it, but the end result is the same — the 2 applications don't work together.)

  • You cannot insert MathType equations into LibreOffice for Mac in the "normal" way (that is, the way described above), because there is no option to insert "Further OLE objects" as there is in the Windows version.
  • You can insert equations by copying & pasting or dragging & dropping them from an open MathType window, but if you do, not only are they non-editable pictures, but they don't look any good:
    MathType and LibreOffice don't work well together on the Mac.
  • If you have a LibreOffice document that was created on Windows and you open it on a Mac, you will be able to view the equations but not edit them. If you try to edit them by double-clicking, you'll get an error:
    You'll get an error if you try to edit equations in LibreOffice on a Mac that were created on Windows.