How to Copy an Equation from MathType to Lyx

Recently, I’ve been using Latex with Lyx instead of Microsoft Word to format my dissertation and research papers. I find managing the formatting to be much easier, and the layout is guaranteed to be consistent throughout the document. However, much of what I have done previously was in Word, and I often want to transfer math equations I wrote previously in MathType over to Lyx rather than rewriting them from scratch.

While the method is somewhat of a nuisance because of the terrible way MathType handles Latex, it is certainly possible, and can often be faster than rewriting an equation.

  1. In Microsoft Word, select the MathType equation you want to copy over to Lyx.
  2. Click the MathType tab at the top of Word. Click Toggle Tex. This will convert the MathType equation image into Latex code.
  3. Copy the Latex code. In my example, I get:
  4. Insert a new math formula field in Lyx. Here is the tricky part. You cannot simply paste the Latex code you have copied directly into this formula field. Otherwise, it will show up as text, not a formatted equation, like so:
  5. MathType adds the \[ characters to the beginning and the \] characters to the end of the Latex code. DELETE these characters before pasting into Lyx. (For multi-line equations, MathType also may surround the Latex code with \begin{align} and \end{align}. These must be deleted too to paste into Lyx properly). In my example, I end up with:
  6. With the extra two characters removed from the beginning and end of the Latex code, the code will paste properly into Lyx:
  7. However, as you can see in the example, MathType inserts extra braces into the Latex code, more than are necessary. These must be removed manually, but at least the majority of the equation formatting is preserved and recognized by Lyx’s formula editor. Once removed, you are done!

This method was tested using MathType 6.5 and Lyx 1.6.8

The Periodic Table of the Elements in Adobe Illustrator Format

I needed the Periodic Table in vector format, so I decided to just draw one myself. If anyone else needs it as well, here is the Periodic Table of the Elements in Adobe Illustrator format.

Download Periodic Table as .AI (1.1 MB)

My source for the data was from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), 2007 (http://old.iupac.org/reports/periodic_table/).

If you want to change the font, color, or size of all element properties at once, I have tagged each object type with its own Attribute Note (element_name, atomic_number, element_symbol, atomic_mass, box). For information on how to select objects with the same attribute note, please see my previous post on that topic: How to select the same sub-objects in multiple copies of a group in Adobe Illustrator


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Remove the Ping Dropdown Menu in iTunes 10 for Windows

In the iTunes 10.0.1 update, Apple added a Ping dropdown menu which appears next to the currently selected song name. Since I found this to be quite an eyesore, I used a similar trick as my previous post on removing the iTunes store arrow links.

First, close iTunes. Next, with a text editor, open C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iTunesPrefs.xml on Windows XP, or C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iTunesPrefs.xml on Windows Vista and Windows 7. Make sure to replace UserName with your own Windows user name. After the following lines:

add the code:

When iTunes is reopened, the Ping dropdown icon will be gone! This is a great way to disable that annoying menu. If you ever need to show the menu again, simply go back to the file and remove the lines.

Give Songs Half-Star Ratings in iTunes for Windows

By default, iTunes only allows song ratings in full-star increments (e.g., ). However, the program has the capability to display half-star ratings as well (e.g., ), but the setting to do this is hidden.

You can enable the assignment of half-star ratings by editing the user preferences file. To do this, first close iTunes. Then, with a text editor open C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iTunesPrefs.xml on Windows Vista/7/8 (or C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iTunesPrefs.xml on Windows XP). After the following lines:

add the code:

When you restart iTunes, you will be able to set half-star ratings in addition to the full-star ratings in the iTunes Library window by clicking and dragging the area in the ‘Rating’ column of a particular song.

However, changing the rating by right-clicking the iTunes icon in the system tray will still only allow you to assign full-star ratings. The ratings menu is also nested one level deep, and therefore takes a bit longer to access. Since I often use the tray icon to rate songs rather than switching back to the library window, I have developed a free software tool called iTSongRater which adds an improved iTunes navigation and rating icon in your system tray. When the iTSongRater tray icon is right-clicked, the pop up menu allows you to directly assign full and half-star ratings right from the start, and also allows other features such as changing the playcounts of songs. Try it out! It is much more useful than the default iTunes tray icon.

View all iTSongRater Features

Tested on iTunes 10, 11 & 12

Sort iTunes Library by Artist, then by Album Year

I keep my iTunes library sorted by Artist alphabetically, but when you click the Artist heading, the Album column gets sorted alphabetically as well. I recently discovered a trick to sort Albums by Year within each Artist group, while keeping the overall Artist order alphabetical.

Simply click the Album column heading twice. The heading will rotate from “Album” to “Album by Artist” and then “Album by Year.” This will sort the iTunes Library by Artist, then by Year. The following is a summary of the different combinations:


  1. Sort by Artist alphabetically, then Album alphabetically.

  2. Sort by Album alphabetically.

  3. Sort by Album Artist alphabetically (or Artist if Album Artist is blank), then by Album alphabetically.

  4. Sort by Album Artist alphabetically (or Artist if Album Artist is blank), then by Album chronologically.

For compilation albums things get a little confusing. The Album Artist is not always the same as Artist, so it is important to remember that for the last two options, these will be listed according to Album Artist. Also, if the Album Artist is blank, but the album is marked as a compilation, these songs will be found at the end of the library.

It is nice to have Albums listed chronologically within each Artist!