To work effectively with MathTools in Adobe InDesign, you need to understand two key concepts and features: MathZones and Math Styles.
On this page
MathZones ↩
In MathTools, equations are called MathZones. A MathZone refers to a text range managed by MathTools and composed by InDesign.
🔑 Key concept: MathZones are expressed as text, not inline images.
In the screenshot below, the equation is outlined in a green frame (when in Normal screen mode). The green frame represents the MathZone. You can click inside the MathZone to edit the equation.
To learn how to create a MathZone, see Create a MathZone.
For more information about MathZones, refer to "Add your first MathZone" in movemen's Brief guide for the firsttime user.
Math Styles ↩
Math Styles specify how equations look; they are similar to InDesign's native styles.
When you create an equation in InDesign, you can apply different Math Styles (such as a fraction, vector, or square root) to your MathML equations.
When you place content that has MathML in InDesign, MathTools automatically applies a Math Style based on the structure of the MathML. MathTools also creates a variation of the default character style. You can find these in InDesign's Character Styles panel in the MathTools style group. For more information about Math Styles, MathML, and character styles, see the Deep dive below.
To open the Math Styles panel in InDesign, choose Math > Math Styles.
See MathTool's knowledge base for instructions about working with Math Styles and Math character styles.
Math Styles and MathML ↩
Math Styles are based on MathML presentation markup. Presentation markup describes how an equation is displayed. For more information about presentation markup, see Two types of MathML.
An equation is made of different components, which are represented by different MathML elements. For example, consider the quadratic equation:
The quadratic equation has these components:
Component  Description  Quadratic equation component 

Identifiers  Represents function names, variables or symbolic constants.
Represented in MathML as 

Operators  Represents mathematical operations (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) and parentheses, separators like comma and semicolon, or "absolute value" bars. Represented in MathML as <mo> . 

Fractions  Represents fractions with a numerator and denominator. Represented in MathML as <mfrac> . 

Square roots  Represents square roots.
Represented in MathML as 

Superscripts  Attaches a superscript to an expression. Represented in MathML as <msup> . 
NOTE The quadratic equation has more than just these components. Check out the quadratic equation represented in presentation markup to see all the different components expressed as MathML.
When Typefi generates an InDesign document that has MathML, MathTools automatically applies each component with a Math Style. Tip: For information about setting up a MathMLenabled Typefi workflow, see Set up a MathMLenabled workflow.
🔑 Key concepts: When you are working with Math Styles in InDesign, remember that:
 In MathML, presentation markup is used to describe what an equation looks like.
 An equation is made of different components, and different MathML elements represent each component.
 MathTools automatically applies a Math Style to each component, based on the underlying presentation markup.
 Equations can have more than one Math Style. For example, if you have a complex equation that is made up of different subexpressions (which are made up of different components too), each subexpression may have a different Math Style. The number of Math Styles an equation has depends on the MathML presentation markup.
Deep dive: Math Styles, MathML, and character styles ↩
NOTE This section is for readers who are interested in a "deep dive", or indepth examination, of how Math Styles, MathML, and character styles work together in an InDesign document.
Math Styles and MathML ↩
MathTools matches MathML equations to predefined Math Styles according to the equations' presentation markup. Presentation markup describes what an equation looks like.
Not all of the Math Styles are displayed in the Math Styles panel by default. When content is placed into the InDesign document, MathTools automatically creates a corresponding Math Style—based on the MathML presentation markup—and adds it to the Math Styles panel.
The underlying presentation markup is consistently mapped to the same Math Style. If multiple Math Styles match the same presentation markup, then MathTools uses the first one.
TIP If you don't like the automatic Math Style, you can create a new Math Style and apply it to the relevant component. Any additional styles should be added to the InDesign document.
In the screenshot below, the first equation is automatically mapped to the "Big Operator Style 2" Math Style and the second equation is mapped to the "Big Operator Style 3" Math Style.
🔑 Key Concept: MathTools automatically applies Math Styles to equation components based on the MathML presentation markup.
Sometimes, Math Styles appear the same, but they have different settings and are mapped to different presentation markup. Doubleclick a Math Style in the Math Styles panel to open the Math Style Options dialog and view its settings.
For example, in the Math Styles panel, "Big Operator Style 2" and "Big Operator Style 4" appear the same:
But, they have different settings and presentation markup:
Big Operator Style 2
Big Operator Style 4
MathML and character styles ↩
When a document is imported into InDesign, MathTools also creates a variation of the default character style. For example, the default styling for the identifiers (<mi>
) component is "normal" (nonslanted), unless the content is a single character, in which case the default style is "italic".
To override the styling in the MathML, the attribute mathvariant
needs to be added to the item. For example, <mi mathvariant="bolditalic">x</mi>
.
The values for @mathvariant
can be one of:
 "normal",
 "bold",
 "italic",
 "bolditalic",
 "doublestruck",
 "boldfraktur",
 "script",
 "boldscript",
 "fraktur",
 "sansserif",
 "boldsansserif",
 "sansserifitalic",
 "sansserifbolditalic",
 "monospace",
 "initial",
 "tailed",
 "looped", or
 "stretched".
For more information about character styles and math variants, see "MathML export: map font style to mathvariant", page 5, in movemen's MathTools V3 – New features at a Glance.
See also ↩
 What is MathTools?
 What is MathML?
 Create a MathZone
 Set up a MathMLenabled workflow
 Brief guide for the firsttime user (movemen)
For more information about MathTools concepts and features, please contact us. We're happy to help.
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