Friday 14 December 2007

Three new W3C Working Drafts

Today the W3C published three new working drafts

MathML3 Several new features worked on this time, more Content MathML improvements, more information on layouts for elementary mathematics (long division, etc.), and the first draft of a Relax NG Schema. Also, we have re-instated the XHTML+MathML version of the spec.

A MathML for CSS profile I'm down as co-editor of this, but all the main credit should go to George Chavchanidze of Opera Software, who's continuing his long standing work of getting mathematical rendering using pure CSS declarations.

XML Entity definitions for Characters The latest iteration of the the definitions of Characters. This was formerly part of the MathML spec (Chapter 6) but had been separated out and extended to include all the ISO entity sets, and the HTML Entity sets. I still hope that eventually this can be a joint ISO/W3C publication, updating ISO/IEC TR 9773-13. We'll see...

Sunday 2 December 2007

Mathematics in PowerPoint 2007

I've never used PowerPoint, but I've been investigating recently the mathematical and in particular MathML capabilities of the Office 2007 suite.

It's been noted in several places that PowerPoint doesn't support the new Word 2007 math zones and that if you cut and paste a math expression from Word to PowerPoint, the result is an image, which means you can't edit it or search on it in that form, and it looks horrible on screen, especially if you have background colour or textures applied to your slides.

This note is just to mention a mechanism of getting correctly rendered editable mathematical text into PowerPoint, in a form which has the full oomml XML markup in the pptx file, so you can extract that and convert to MathML if needed using the Microsoft supplied stylesheet. I suspect that this mechanism is (or ought to be) well known by anyone (not me!) who's used PowerPoint, but a google search didn't show up anyone else mentioning it in this context, so I thought I'd post...

To get a math expression inserted, don't cut and paste a math zone from word, in Powerpoint choose
insert / Object /MicroSoft Word Document
then make a 'document' consisting of the equation you need using the embedded copy of Word. the resulting equation will be saved as an embedded object, and if you unzip the pptx PowerPoint file you will find a docx version of the embedded object in the embeddings directory, which you can further unzip to locate the oomml math XML.

The resulting equation renders as text rather than an image and may be edited at any time later, just click on it and you get thrown into a copy of Word.

Screen shot with one of Word's example equations rendered twice in a PowerPoint slide, once as an embedded object and once as an image.