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Save as PDF in Word causes parts of some equations to be missing in the PDF


The information on this page applies to:

MathType for Windows

Microsoft Word for Windows


You've got a Word document and have used Word's Save as dialogue to save the document as a PDF. When you look at the PDF, all the text is there and all the equations are there, but some of the equations have what looks like a white rectangle covering part of the equation.


in Word

in the PDF



When you save a Word document like PDF, Word's Options include saving the PDF as PDF/A compliant by default. This option is what causes the phenomenon shown in the examples above.


For most MathType users, turning off the PDF/A option won't cause any problem. According to Adobe, the PDF/A format "is an archival format for long-term preservation of the document's content". The additional features of this format will not provide any necessary benefit for most of you.

When you save the document as PDF, click the Options button (in the Save As dialogue). When you do, you'll see this Options dialogue:


Clear the checkmark near the bottom that reads PDF/A compliant, then click OK. Equations should look normal in the PDF.


If you have Adobe Acrobat, please note…

  1. If you need to save as PDF/A, Acrobat will do this. You can either use the Export or Save as Adobe PDF buttons in the Backstage area (i.e., click File) or use the Create PDF button on the Acrobat tab in Word. Either method can produce a PDF/A without blocked equations.

  2. If you use Acrobat to open one of the documents you've saved as PDF/A, you'll get a blue bar between the PDF and the Acrobat toolbar, telling you the document was saved as PDF/A and is not editable. If you click the Enable Editing button, it will remove the PDF/A properties, but this will not cause the equations to appear normal. Your only option is to use Word to repeat the Save as PDF process.


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.