Ugly MathType Graphics

Hi,
I’m evaluating Scriverner (1.2.5) as an editor to write my research papers. Since formulas are a must, I also downloaded the trial version of MathType [Version 6.8 ].

To my disappointment the inserted formulas look quite ugly. They are obviously low resolution graphics, and compiling the document into a PDF did not improve it.

Since MathLab also works with MS office, I also gave it a try in that app. Here I get a crisp AND scalable OLE insert!

So what has to be done to get the same quality result within Scrivener?

P.S. I opened the RTF File from the Scrivener Project in Word to see what I get. The formular there is just a graphic - no link to MathType

I don’t know the answer to your question. I use Scrivener on the Mac. Plus I write in Markdown then export as a TXT file. However, the exported math equations are all in PDF format: thus they are scalable and crisp and wonderful.

I don’t think this is a Mac/Windows thing (but could be wrong). It probably has something to do with how the exact compile options are set up. My testing of export Multimarkdown to RTF came out funky. But exporting to PDF worked just fine.

At any rate, my guess is there’s a good solution for you. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can suggest a specific setup that works well.

To make things more clear, thats how it look in Scrivener
Formula.png

and that’s how it looks in the exported PDF. (at 150% zoom )
Formula_pdf.png

As comparison, that’s how a MathType formula looks like in word.
formula_word.png

and that’s how the word document looks exported as a PDF. (at 150% zoom )
formula_word_pdf.png

Do you see the difference?

For me this is a NO-GO for scrivener when it comes to scientific papers.

Yes, I see the difference. It’s very clear.

All I can say is that for my main setup (Mac, markdown, compile to TXT) this doesn’t happen. However, I have seen that this does happen in other cases where the compile settings are different.

Hopefully a Windows (or Mac) Scrivener expert will be able to describe compile settings where all comes out fine for your needs.

To my understanding, this is essentially a problem with how MathType works in a non-OLE application. It supplies us with a raster image and a text version of the formula. When you right-click on the graphic, we take that text version and send it to MathType so that it can reconstruct the formula from that supplied definition, and when you close that window, it gives us another image to replace the old one and the updated text definition. I think we could request the PDF version, however we do not yet have the RTF engine built up to the point where it can embed PDF graphics within text.

So, that’s what you get, a raster image. I agree the quality of these are not for publication, and are more suitable for working placeholders. I’m not sure why that would preclude Scrivener from being used to write scientific texts—certainly not from publishing them, but that was never it’s purpose in the first place. I don’t think many people publish scientific papers straight out of Scrivener. I know many who author them in the software, though. They then compile and move on to Word, for final collaboration, editing, inserting finalised graphics (and equations) and conforming the document to a style.

A way of avoiding recreating the equations to generate the final typeset quality versions would be to set your Cut and Copy options in MathType to copy the data instead of a picture. Then you can use that data to recreate an equation later on in Word. Stuff it into a linked comment in the inspector (beta feature) beside the placeholder (attaching it to the caption is a good spot). The nice thing about that technique is you get a list of equations in the Inspector sidebar. Click on any to jump straight to it.

Very good idea! :smiley:

So its a Windows environment only problem? Since in the video you talk of pdf exported by MathType…

On my Mac version the equations in PDF format are perfect.

When I export to Markdown I get a “folder” containing my text file and links to my equations: all of which are in PDF format. So that’s perfect.

It would be nice if there were a “cheat sheet” so we knew in advance which export combos lead to MathType equations being in PDF format versus some rasterized format. As is, current setup meets all my needs: but I think I’m just lucky in that respect.

Amber can speak to this much much better than me. But Windows version is not completely the same as Mac. Don’t know why Win version does not export to PDF with good PDF equations. Presumably that will change in the near future.

Correct, that’s the main limitation right now, coupled with the poorer quality of the raster version MathType provides. The Mac text engine came with the ability to handle embedded PDF. Even so, the PDFs are rasterised when compiling to standard word processor formats and lose their MathType data. But, if you are going straight to PDF out of Scrivener, that is not a serious problem.

You know, now that I look at the MathType preferences closer, I wonder if the Windows version can even make a PDF at all. On the Mac, PDF is one of the options you can select in the Cut and Copy section, so we might have problems from both ends of the equation (so to speak), on Windows.

My speculation would be, MathType is just taking advantage of the Mac’s inherent PDF display system. Basically the Mac draws itself on your screen using PDF technology, which is why every program can make a PDF out of the box. That’s what we use for making PDFs as well. From what I can tell, on Windows there is no central PDF generation at the OS level. It looks like we would need to find a library that would let us display EPS in the editor, to get scalable and crisp output.