Pages document with equations showing math type insertion menu.

How You Can Type High-School Math With Mac OS X

Typing can be a fantastic access method for those with Dysgraphia who find handwriting difficult, but how can you type math equations? Here are some OS X applications especially for inputting mathematics.

Reader Robin emailed me to ask:

My 16-year old son has Dysgraphia. Typing is a whiz for him and really allows him to express his written self with few barriers. The issue is math. Do you know of any math software programs that allow him to do higher math (Alegebra 2 and up)?

Yes! The apps in this list will allow users to input math equations via keyboard, mouse, or tablet. Since you are looking for apps for a high school student, I have specifically just looked for things for entering math in a word processing type style – these apps won’t solve the math in any way so they should be appropriate for use in math classes:

MathType Mac

Their description: MathType is a powerful interactive equation editor that lets you create mathematical notation for word processing, web pages, desktop publishing, presentations, elearning, and for TeX, LaTeX, and MathML documents.

  • Enter equations by point-and-click and/or typing.
  • MathType works with Apple’s iWork Applications (Pages, Numbers, Keynote), Microsoft Office for Mac, and many more applications and websites.
  • Costs US$97 for full price, or US$57 for academic users, and offers 30 day free trial.


Their description: MathMagic is a WYSIWYG math editor with Graphic user interface, with support for MathML, LaTeX, MS Equation Editor, and more.

  • Enter equations by point-and-click and/or typing.
  • MathMagic works with Apple’s iWork Applications (Pages, Numbers, Keynote), Microsoft Office for Mac, and many more applications and websites.
  • An Intro to MathMagic for Mac video is somewhat old but still helpful to get an idea how this application works.
  • Costs US$69 for full price, or US$49 for academic users, and offers a 30-use free trial.
  • There is also a free MathMagic Lite for iOS available. It has many fewer features than the full version, but for those using both iPad/iPhone and Mac it may be useful.

From what I can tell, MathMagic and MathType are fairly similar but MathMagic focusses a little more on appearance (it was originally developed for people typesetting equations for books) and MathType is a little more integrated with OS X as the Apple iWork programs Pages, Numbers and Keynote each include a menu function to insert a MathType Equation.

MathType equation being inserted into Pages document
Inserting a MathType equation into a Pages document is very easy, with a menu option especially for that.

Other Options

I also found this application for entry via handwriting. Dysgraphics probably won’t prefer this handwriting-style entry, but others may so I am including this entry for completeness:

Their description: Using a pen and tablet, or even a trackpad or mouse, just write an equation with handwriting as you normally would, tap Enter to convert it to formatted math, and copy or drag it into your target application for evaluation, plotting, or documentation. […] You can adapt MoboMath to your individual handwriting style. If you write a character in your own special way, you can now train MoboMath to recognize it.

  • Application reviewers report that MoboMath may need a fair amount of training before its recognition is good.

For those looking for apps which will help with solving the math as well as entering it into the computer, Robert Rau has put together a fairly comprehensive list of math tools for Mac OS X which includes applications for solving, graphing, doing statistics, calculating, and more.

Happy calculating!

– Ricky

3 thoughts on “How You Can Type High-School Math With Mac OS X”

  1. Ricky I discovered your website one month ago and have been enjoying your posts. My problem is that I’m gradually losing the use of
    my hands due to weakness and denervation. There is no cure. I am not tech savvy and am overwhelmed by the multiplicity of tech that is
    out there. I have a Mac OSX 10.9.4. What is the best way to figure
    out which of your information might be applicable to me? I’ve been
    using the voice to text app that came with my computer. Norma

    • @Norma: I thought about this question a lot and I honestly don’t know. I think if you want somewhere to start then finding an occupational therapist who specialises in assistive technology is probably your best bet – you could contact your local occupational therapy association or similar and ask them for recommendations. As you get more familiar with the options and your own abilities you’ll be able to choose for yourself, but that would be a good place to start. Best wishes.

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