Efficient import of Mathtype Equations

For now, I am using Scrivener to organize existing course materials (economics, finance, statistics, philosophy). I am pleased that Scrivener shows several advantages over other approaches I have tried.

Generally the original documents are in up-to-date MS Office formats (docx, pptx, xlsx) that will push easily to rtf if need be. Older ones may be in open doc formats.

Background: most course documents have some embedded Mathtype equations and a few have many. (Occasionally there are graphics too, a not unrelated problem). I can import the documents into Scrivener just fine. But the equations are ignored (and Scrivener gives no indication that anything has been skipped).

Problem: Worse, once I have noticed that an equation is missing, I can’t find a way to easily move it into Scrivener. (I could of course open Mathtype in Word, say, copy the equation contents, then open Mathype in Scrivener, paste the equation and close. Over the the next decade I could probably finish a course that way.)

I gather that the Mac version would let me drag and drop, which makes sense. But it doesn’t much help those of us who do not want to join Steve Job’s parallel universe.

Note that the imported/transferred equations do not even have to be Mathtype-editable in Scrivener; a graphics version would suffice. If for some reason I wanted to edit one in Scrivener, I would be quite happy just to insert a fresh Mathype version. As a stopgap, I would have thought that mightn’t be too hard, since an rtf file has no problem with the Mathtype objects at all.

But I’m really hoping that someone can point me to, or remind me of, some little procedure that I have overlooked!

thanks for any advice


Scrivener won’t be able to import the MathType equations as editable equations. They should stick all right if you can flatten them into images. Going the other way will be the same–equations will be flattened during export from Scrivener.

I’m not super familiar with using MathType in Word, but maybe there’s a simple way to convert them all per document?

I have found that, if I want to see where an equation should be, I can flip Mathtype equations into Latex expressions in Word (and restore them, fortunately). That means that I can see where they are in the Scrivener import, which is fine.

But your advice about flattening to images is interesting because I haven’t been able to get Scrivener to import images at all - fortunately I use them less frequently than equations. Is there something I am doing wrong … or ought to be doing differently? Importing document images would certainly be helpful!

thanks for any advice!

Hm, what version of Word do you have? There are a few converter options for importing DOC and DOCX files, and the one that makes use of Microsoft Office’s libraries should be bringing in the inserted images. You’ll need Office 2007-2013 (not 365). If you’ve got that, go to Tools > Options… and click the Import/Export tab, then the “Import Converters…” button. Select “DOCX” from the drop-down menu on the left, then “Microsoft Office” from the menu on the right. Do the same for “DOC”, then click OK a couple times to close out of all that and try the import again.

If the MS Office converters aren’t available, you should still be getting the images included in DOC files if you have the “Scrivener” option set for that in the import converters. They should also be included in RTF files. You mentioned you’re working in a few formats; have you tried those with the images?

I run a fully updated Office 2013 so there shouldn’t be any trouble there. I have checked the converter options and for Word it is set to docx. I didn’t reset it. Graphics don’t come in from rtf either. I haven’t looked into it further because I thought perhaps it was normal and anyhow, equations were more urgent at the time. But with your confirmation that charts and figures should indeed show their cheery little faces after import, I’ll run a few more tests. If I can get them to behave properly that would pretty much mean that everything is in order!

thanks so much

Are we talking about embedded images or about Word shape drawings? The latter aren’t quite the same and they won’t import. Images from files (e.g. dragging and dropping a PNG into your Word doc) should be coming through. I did a quick test also with some of Word 2013’s “smart art” and a basic chart and those also both imported correctly in DOCX format with the MS converters.

It’s possible though that some of these editable forms are causing problems, so if you’d like to attach a test file or send it to windows.support AT literatureandlatte DOT com, I’ll take a look. There is probably not much we could do about it at this stage, because we’re limited on the conversion tools available, but we may be able to address it in the future. At least for now you’d know it isn’t supported and we could look for an alternative solution.

Sorry to be tardy in replying. It’s mid-term exam time!
I was referring to graphics that might be png files or windows metafiles (that’s what I would generally use to drop an Excel chart into a Word document).

I reset the DOC and DOCX converters by hand, although both seemed to be correct already.
The upshot is that Windows metafiles seem to import fine now.
That is not the case for a (pathological?) grouped object that is a png (screen shot) plus a couple of Word autoshapes. I can copy and paste it into Scrivener just fine.

Would I use something like that often? It depends on the project. There might be as lot of marked up charts in one, but none in the next five.

I tried attaching an example but apparently neither docx nor rtf files are allowed here.