Many Disability Offices are constantly trying to find the next big tool that will dramatically improve how they convert documents into accessible formats. One of the major challenges is converting Math content. This is a very laborsome process. Even a tool that saves a few seconds rockets to the top of your must have list. Today, I compared a few tools: MathType, Equatio and MathPix.

# Summary of findings

MathType was by far the most comprehensive of all three. MathType plugs directly into word which allows a user to type out the math expressions or use their WYSIWYG editor to create the formula from an array of options. Out of all three, MathType provided the most options for creating math from scratch. It does not offer options to copy existing math images and convert them to another markup.

Equatio was by far the best tool for transcribing existing math equations. Both MathPix and Equatio did an impressive job transcribing handwritten notes. Important to note that MathPix is open sourced, and was used to build Equatio’s platform.

While both Equatio and MathPix do similar things, Equatio was more user friendly, and offered slightly more tools. One of mention is the ability to export mathspeak which is highly desired by some students.

Overall, in my opinion, MathType and Equatio/ MathPix were built to do different things. MathType is better at typing out a math document if you had little to no knowledge of LaTex. Equatio does a much better job of transcribing existing math – even if only one line at a time.

If you are unable to afford Equatio, MathPix is a useable alternative (but be prepared for a minimalist user experience).

# Detailed Overview

## Features

In terms of features, MathType offered the greatest array and ability to type a full document. Equatio provides you a floating tool bar that you can type one equation at a time and enter into your document. I found for creating a complete file from scratch, MathType was your best option.

In regards to taking an existing file, whether handwritten or typed to convert into accessible math, both Equatio and MathPix was a great option. Both only allows you to edit one line at a time. In most cases the conversion was accurate with only minor changes needed when necessary.

Equatio overlays the newly OCRed math object on top of the image you selected. This makes it difficult to know if it did convert with 100% accuracy. MathPix opened another window. Both allowed you to edit the math should you need to.

Once displayed correctly, while both Equatio and MathPix gives you a number of output options, Equatio gave you slightly more. In the end having the ability to export the mathspeak, and the better user interface gave Equatio the leg up on MathPix.

Features |
MathType |
MathPix Sniping |
Equatio |

Keyboard typing of math equations |
yes | No | Yes |

Common equation shortcuts |
Yes | No | Yes |

‘drag and drop’ equations |
Yes | No | Yes |

Word integration |
Yes | Yes | Yes |

Export to LaTex |
Yes | Yes | Yes |

Export to MathML |
Yes | Yes | Yes |

Export MathSpeak |
No | No | Yes |

Handwriting Recognition |
No | Yes | Yes |

Speech to text |
No | No | Yes |

## Ease of Use

For those who want to type a document from scratch MathType was the easiest to use, and offered the most options for ‘drag and dropping’ equations into your document. For converting a document, Equatio was the easiest to use. Their interface was intuitive, and provided you far more options then MathPix.

## Accuracy

MathType is user generated, so the accuracy depends on how much knowledge you have of the math you are typing. Equatio and MathPix both OCR existing math images, so it did most of the heavy lifting for you. There were minor adjustments needed here and there, but overall the accuracy was beyond expectation.

## Output options

All of the software gives you an ability to convert the math images into MathML, LaTex or an SVG with alt text behind it. I found Equatio superior in that it offered an ability to also export the math speak.

## Costs

Based on the products website:

MathType | MathPix | Equatio |

$49.95 per license annually
**Discount for institutional ordering not reflected |
Free | $100 per user annually
**Discount for bulk order/institutional ordering not reflected |