Accessible Math for Documents and Presentations

Creating accessible mathematical and scientific material can be difficult without proper software. Math tools built into Microsoft Office products, including Word and PowerPoint, do not follow an accessible format. This necessitates a different option to create mathematical and scientific writings.

MathML to the rescue

MathML is a web markup language approved by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which also creates all standards of web content including how web pages are actually coded. MathML is designed to be accessible to screen reader devices, allowing such users to read mathematical/scientific material without difficulty. 

Creating MathML content in Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office’s own equation editor does not produce MathML content, thus preventing certain users from being able to read any mathematical/scientific material. It is necessary to use an outside tool to create compatible materials.

One such program, MathType, works as a plug-in to Microsoft Office applications. The tool creates a new entry on the ribbon, allowing a user to create mathematical notations in MathType’s interface. The material added to a document is then readable as standard mathematical & scientific notations, as though it were written on paper. The same content includes MathML code, allowing a user with a screen reader to read the content. 

MathType is available at the college. Please contact the Help Desk at (708) 608-4357 for more information, or the Center for Teaching and Learning at (708) 974-5347.