make equations in doc (word 97-2004) editable in word 2016 for mac

Hi,

I have received an old "doc" (word 97-2004) from a colleague. This document contains a lot of mathematical formulas, which are rendered as images when I open the document in word 2016.

I guess the equations used to be editable in the original editor (some old version of word). Therefore somewhere in the document there should be some kind of "raw" representation of the equations (latex-like, e.g.) that can be converted in the new format without resorting to third party software (someone suggested MathType).

If this is not the case, word is not compatible with its older versions, which is frankly unacceptable. There should be some way of recovering all the information in an old doc file. I can accept slight formatting issues, but turning entire editable equations in (very, very ugly) images is really bad.

It means that microsoft word is unreliable, because when a new version is released one risks loosing a lot of work.

Does anybody know an efficient way of making the equations editable?

Thanks a lot

Francesco

 

Question Info


Last updated January 16, 2020 Views 3,209 Applies to:
Answer
Answer

I wanted to make a summary post of this process. Peter and I have discussed this offline a good bit over the past week, and the process does work. This is a summary of the process:

  1. The original document may be .doc or .docx, created either on Windows or Mac. None of that matters. What matters is that the equations in the original document are equations created with the "old" equation editor, which on Windows is named Microsoft Equation 3.0 (or 3.1), and on Mac is Microsoft Equation Editor for Mac.

  2. Open the document in LibreOffice for Mac. I did this successfully with LibreOffice 4.2 and also 5.1. It should also work with OpenOffice. There are some options in LibreOffice Preferences > Load/Save > Microsoft Office to verify. They are "MathType to LibreOffice Math or reverse" and "WinWord to LibreOffice Writer or reverse". The default is for these to be enabled both for [L] and [S] (Load and Save), so make sure these are still enabled. The setting in OpenOffice should be the same.

  3. After you open the .doc or .docx in LibreOffice/OpenOffice, don't edit it. Just save it as "ODF Text Document (.odt)", then close it.

  4. Open this new .odt in Word 2016 for Mac. The equations should now be available for editing in the Word 2016 equation editor (called the "OMML equation editor").

Here are 5 documents, all with equations created in Microsoft Equation 3.0 (or Microsoft Equation Editor for Mac), and all will open in Word 2016 for Mac. Equations are editable with the OMML equation editor.

3 people were helped by this reply

·

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.

Answer
Answer

Peter & Francesco...

I, like Francesco, was skeptical of Peter's suggested recovery steps as well, and in my case the steps were not successful.

Francesco, would you mind emailing the document (or a portion of it) to MathType Tech Support? I don't think I can give email addresses here, but on our website it's under Contacts in the Company tab.

When I tried Peter's steps, I tried it with a very simple document, when an Equation Editor 3 equation, a MathType equation, and an OMML equation. I created it in Word 2011, and saved copies in both .doc and .docx formats so I could test each. In LibreOffice (I'm using v5.1), I opened the .doc and the EE3 and MT equations looked ok, but weren't vertically aligned with the text. The OMML equation was very blurry. None of that was surprising. Saved it as .odt & closed it without making any edits or doing anything other than saving in the new format.

Opened the .docx in LO, and the EE3 and MT equations looked the same as when I opened the .doc, but the OMML equation looked good in this version. Again, none of that was surprising. Saved it as .odt as above.

Opened the ODTs in Word 2016, and the EE3/MT equations weren't editable in either the doc/odt version or the docx/odt version. In fact, they didn't even show up in the docs/odt version. There was a red X instead. The OMML equation was editable in the docx/odt version.

I'm not sure what to conclude from this, but I'm certainly not convinced the equations in Francesco's document were either EE3 or MT equations. That's why I'd like to see the document. If there's a path to conversion for documents such as this, it's certainly something we should know about. No amount of testing we've done has uncovered such a conversion method, but we'd jump at the chance to credit someone for discovering it ahead of us.

Thanks,

Bob Mathews

Design Science

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.