Here are instructions for setting up various browsers to work with XHTML+MathML and Instiki. I’ve divided them by Browser and Operating System. Generally, all you need to do is install some fonts, and download the most recent version of your favourite MathML-capable browser.

Be forewarned: many older versions of these browsers will not work well, and will display all sorts of MathML rendering bugs. In many cases, there are workarounds for these bugs. But you’ll generally find it simpler to upgrade to the latest version of the browser.

Now that the MathML bugs in Mozilla have largely been fixed, the advantages of using the latest builds (particularly their support for the STIX fonts, and enhanced support for SVG) are significant.

Firefox 4, Seamonkey 2.1 and Camino 2.0 (and later) offer a mostly bug-free MathML and SVG viewing experience. There are enough lingering bugs in earlier versions, that you probably want to avoid them. If you’re a Firefox user, upgrade to Firefox 4; if you’re a Seamonkey user, upgrade to Seamonkey 2.1.

The STIX Fonts

Rendering MathML requires a large number of mathematical glyphs which are not present in most commonly-available fonts. Fortunately, the STIX Fonts are free, with generous licensing terms. They even come, pre-installed with MacOSX 10.7 and later. If you’re not running MacOSX 10.7, the first thing you’ll want to do is download and install them.

Older versions of Mozilla were designed to work with with the beta version of the STIX fonts. Users of Firefox 3.6 and Seamonkey 2.0 will actually need to first install the beta version, and then the release version of the STIX fonts. From the beta version, keep the STIXSize1.otfSTIXSize5.otf fonts. Replace the rest with the fonts from the release version.

Mozilla Browsers

  • Open a browser window with the pseudo-URL ”about:config”.

  • Type the string font.mathfont-family into the search box.

    • If the value of this setting is

      MathJax_Main, STIXNonUnicode, STIXSizeOneSym, STIXSize1, STIXGeneral, Asana Math, Symbol, DejaVu Sans, Cambria Math


      STIXNonUnicode, STIXSizeOneSym, STIXSize1, STIXGeneral, Symbol, DejaVu Sans, Cambria Math

      then your build is compatible with the STIX 1.0 release version of the fonts.

    • If it says

      STIXNonUnicode, STIXSize1, STIXGeneral, Symbol, DejaVu Sans, Cambria Math

      then you should download both the beta version and the release version of the STIX fonts, as described above.

    • If the string says something else, then you should follow the instructions about Browser Cruft before proceeding.


Download Firefox 4 or Firefox 5.0β or a Firefox nightly build.


Download Seamonkey 2.1 or a SeaMonkey nightly build.

Camino (MacOSX Only)

Download Camino 2.1. Camino 1.6 had ridiculously slow Javascript and somewhat borked MathML, making it useless for S5 slideshows.

Install SIMBL (or PlugSuit for MacOSX 10.5 or earlier) and megazoomer, which allows you to go to full screen mode by hitting -return. Of all the MathML-capable browsers for MacOSX, Camino is the only one which allows you to go into full-screen mode. So, even if you decide to make, say, Firefox, your default browser, you might want a copy of Camino to display S5 slideshows.

Windows Internet Explorer


and then install the MathPlayer plugin for IE.


Whatever you installed, head over to Jason Blevins’s test site, to give your new MathML-enabled installation a workout.