Microsoft Equation Editor


In Scrivener there is the possibility of using MathType to write mathematical notation.
I don’t have it and don’t want to buy it.
But I do have Microsoft Office 2010 for OSX, which includes an Equation Editor application.
Is there any possibility of telling Scrivener to use the Microsoft product?

If not, it will be a nice feature in a future release to add to possibility of choosing the equation editor to use and have a button in the menu ribbon to open it.



I don’t believe this tool is available to third-party developers, especially those using a programming platform that isn’t core Windows. Indeed, even the storage of equations in the document itself does not appear to be portable. Try saving an equation into an RTF document and re-opening it with Word. It should be fine. Now import the RTF into Scrivener, you’ll see it is actually just a low-res picture at this point. If you export the RTF back to the desktop and open it in Word, its original properties will be lost—it will just be an image. This even happens if you try the same test with WordPad, instead of Scrivener. So, it’s probably similar to embedding an Excel spreadsheet into a Word document—Office can use it, but not much else.

That all aside, I don’t see this as a separate application, just as something built into Word. That may be because I did not buy the most expensive version of Office 2010, though.

Hi Amber,

Thank you for answering.
Actually, I think I expressed myself not very clearly.

What I’m saying is that in Scrivener you propose to open a Math notation program.
This math notation program costs some money.
Since there are some free alternatives (see why not have an option in Scrivener that give the user the choice of the math notation program to open. The same way you can indicate in some program what program to use to open PDF or what navigator to use.

I’m not talking about perfect integration with Scrivener (even though I’m wondering if some of the free softwares available out there don’t give the possibility of manipulating their code using APIs and making them fully integrated with Scrivener), but to have a button that opens my favorite math notation application.

Yes, you are right about the fact Microsoft Equation is creating an image of the mathematical formula.
An image I need to copy paste to Scrivener.
And by the way, the pasted image (like all other images I think) can not be resized. Is that correct?

On a Mac you can find the MS Office Equation tool in Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Equation
I think I said it was Office 2010, but it’s 2011.


There are other tools around for setting maths equations. The open source LibreOffice (where most of the developers went when Oracle tried to exert ownership of GPLed code) package includes one right out the box and it doesn’t cost anything other than the download time and bandwidth. Appears to work at least as good as Microsoft—probably better.

Ah, yeah you had me checking how Windows works when you said Office 2010. :slight_smile: I wasn’t even thinking about Mac—but much of what I said is going to be the same deal, Microsoft rarely plays nice with other developers. I don’t have Office for Mac, so I don’t know for sure how that works (or doesn’t) with other Mac programs. I’ll have to look into it, if it does have an API, it would certainly be worth looking into the option of integrating with Office. But if it cannot provide a mechanism for users to edit equations they’ve already created, I don’t really see any advantage in adding a menu command specifically for it. The MathType command is only there because a lot of time has been put into integrating the two via their API. We aren’t just telling Finder to run “”.

I imagine you are familiar with LaTeX equations? They arguably produce some of the best typesetting anyway (certainly better than Microsoft), and you can reasonably integrate the use of LaTeX equations into Cocoa applications like Scrivener, via the LaTeXiT utility. It works about like MathType would, where you can load a previously typeset equation and edit it. The result can be saved as vector PDF, which Scrivener handles. All around it’s a good system, but being LaTeX based, it’s not as “friendly” as some of the other equation editors out there. That’s its main drawback. If that appeals, I’d recommend the MacTeX distribution. LaTeXiT comes with it, and it will have everything you need to create beautiful equations. It’s a bit of a hefty download however.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting you use LaTeX entirely, the LaTeXiT utility allows one to take advantage of its equation typesetting capabilities and plug the result into Mac text editors (like Scrivener).

Two solutions: (1) if you do not use a bibliography manager (or the Scrivener integration for it), try binding your preferred equation editor to that preference, in the General pane. Now whenever you need it you can just hit Cmd-Y to bring it up. (2) and more broadly, consider a power tool like BetterTouchTool. Not only will it make your mouse and trackpad reach their full potential, but you can use it to manage shortcuts as well—both for specific applications (which you can also do with System Preferences, but I prefer BTT) and globally. You can thus bind something like F5 to launch your preferred equation editor—in any program whatsoever.

That sounds correct to me if the image is high-quality. That likely means it is vector PDF, which cannot be freely resized (sorry, that’s just a text engine limitation).

Thank you Amber for your extensive answer.

Best regards :slight_smile: