If you want to install and configure your browser to read these XHTML+MathML pages click the correct link for your set-up. After doing so, your browser will then be able to view MathML correctly on a growing number of sites world-wide.

Quick links

This page was written in May 2006 for browsers available at that date. If you are aware of any changes since then that affect these instructions please let me know.

Microsoft Windows and Firefox

Installation of the current version Firefox (a version of mozilla) in MS-Windows should be straightforward. Note that you will also need certain fonts that are NOT installed by default. (Expected later in 2006 is a version of firefox that will come bundled with all the fonts you need.)

STEP 1. First download and install Firefox from this link (if you haven't done so already). Any version is OK for these web pages.

STEP 2. You will need to install extra fonts as well These are available via the Mozilla MathML fonts page. The simplest way is to click the link for the windows font installer on the Mozilla MathML fonts page. (Look for the text On Windows (not Linux), download the font installer and follow the instructions in the top right of the page.)

Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer

We'll assume that you are running a recent version of MS-windows (Windows XP or Windows 2000 or later) and have a recent version of Internet Explorer (6.0 or later). On its own this should enable you to see a limited version of the pages. However to view the MathML correctly you need a browser plug-in, MathPlayer (version 2.0 or later).

STEP 1. Install MathPlayer from Design Science's web site at mathplayer. When you have done this go to step 2.

STEP 2. Run this script. See below if you are worried about running a script in MS-Windows downloaded from a web page. (You should be.)

Why am I being asked to run a script on a web page and what should I do?

The script simply sets a registry value on your computer to indicate it can now display MathML. Although MathPlayer is now working and you can in principle view MathML pages, the web standards expect your browser to indicate it is now equipped though a field called accept. Many web servers look at this accept field to determine if the web browser prefers XHTML+MathML or just plain HTML pages. Unfortunately by default Internet Explorer (with or without MathPlayer) expresses no preference, and therefore the web server gives it the plain old boring HTML without mathematics. Personally, we think a MathPlayer-equipped browser should express a preference and have asked Design Science to set this registry value as part of the MathPlayer installation. Until this is done you need to run it separately yourself.

The script simply sets a registry key to include the mime typeapplication/xhtml+xml (for XHTML+MathML) in the accept field. Apart from comments (lines starting with rem), it contains a single line,

That adds the value application/xhtml+xml to a group of mime-types that your browser prefers on your computer. This simply indicates a preference for application/xhtml+xml files other than plain HTML if they are both available. You will still be able to view HTML just as before if that's what the server has.

If you don't want to run the script directly, your options are:

There are no possible problems we know of or any way this will affect the way you view other web pages or any other installed software on your machine. You will need to restart Internet Explorer (but not the whole system). It may be helpful to clear Internet Explorer's disk-cache (in case it is caching plain HTML files and therefore not looking for new XHTML+MathML files). If you have previously changed this area of the registry things could go awry, but it seems very unlikely that you would have done this without being aware of it. Let me know if there are genuine problems.

Other operating systems and firefox

Most recent mozilla-based browsers (such as Mozilla itself, Epiphany and of course Firefox) are able view MathML. If you use one of these, just follow the instructions to install fonts for your operating system and try it. The hints on the Mozilla fonts page may be helpful.

If you have some other browser, such as Safari, Konqueror, it is probably best at the moment to install Firefox. and the fonts.


The W3C's web browser, Amaya, should work. (MS-Windows, Linux, MacOS X.) Just click the link and follow the instructions.

For web gurus

According to web standards and recommendations at the WWW consortium web servers should use content negotiation to determine the best version of these pages for your browser. That means your browser should express a preference for application/xhtml+xml to see web pages with embedded MathML. Most pages here have an html and a xhtml version, and if you are getting the wrong one it is because your browser is sending the wrong accept field in the HTTP header.

There a great many of these and in any case there are are good practical and political reasons why one should not listen to who an agent is but rather what an agent has requested. Unfortunately most agents and browsers set this in a rather silly way, so all these should get plain HTML pages. Those that know the difference should express a preference for application/xhtml+xml. Mozilla (Firefox, et al.) does this, but IE (with or without MathPlayer) does not. If you want to get the application/xhtml+xml page you need to specify it either by including it and not mentioning text/html, or by including both and expressing a preference through the quality settings q="...". See for the definitive information on HTTP and on content-negotiation.