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On Windows Word 2007 and later includes a new style equation editor. When copying equations they are placed onto the clipboard as MathML (in addition to other formats), and can be pasted into programs such as Mathematica.

Word for Mac 2011 seems to include the same new style equation editor. How can I copy as MathML in Word for Mac? (Or if it already does that, how can I access the MathML data on the clipboard on OS X?)

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In Word for Windows, there's a preference setting where you can choose the format of the clipboard contents when you copy an OMML equation (OMML = Office Math Markup Language; i.e., the "new" equation editor). You can choose between MathML and "Linear Format". Based on the way you phrased your question, I assume you know this already (but others may not).

You have the same options in Word 2011 for Mac; you just access it in a different way, but in a way consistent with Mac OS preference settings.

  1. In Word 2011, choose Preferences from the Word menu. In the Authoring and Proofing Tools section, choose Equations.
  2. In the Equations Preferences dialog, the When copying an equation section gives you this choice. (Copy linear format is the default.)

You mention Mathematica, and that's a good example, because using this technique you can copy from Word and paste directly into Mathematica as MathML, which Mathematica understands and can deal with. Most software applications and websites do not understand MathML, but MathType does. If you copy from Word 2011 in this way, then paste it into MathType, you can then use the equation in any of 700+ applications and websites that MathType works with.

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Excellent answer, thanks! I did not know there was an option even on Windows. On Windows I do not need to change any options to be able to paste into Mathematica, and I believe that the equation is copied in several formats at the same time (the clipboard viewer from Windows XP shows this). –  Szabolcs Jan 24 '13 at 5:45
You're right about the multiple formats. On Windows, I count 13 of them, and on the Mac, 19. The multiple formats are because if the app you want to paste into can't accept one format, it may be able to accept another. It's up to the receiving app to "sniff" out the clipboard and take whatever format it can use. –  Bob Mathews Jan 24 '13 at 11:53
So the clipboard can hold data in multiple formats on Mac too? Which program did you use to look at these formats? On Win I used Clipbrd.exe (I was using WinXP, I hear newer Windows don't have it) –  Szabolcs Jan 24 '13 at 15:21
On Windows I use ClipSpy link and on the Mac I use Clipboard Viewer 2. ClipSpy is old, but does the job I need it for. Clipboard Viewer 2 is freeware that I got from someone else in our company. Unfortunately I searched but couldn't find the download site. This blog post mentions it and shows screen shots, but doesn't give a link either: link. –  Bob Mathews Jan 24 '13 at 20:28
Is it maybe this one? I managed to compile it thanks to the convenience of XCode, and it shows several formats, but only as hex/ascii. –  Szabolcs Jan 24 '13 at 21:26

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