Insert Greek Letters or Symbols in Google Docs (with Shortcuts)

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated December 2, 2021

Applies to: Google Docs® (Windows or Mac)

You can insert Greek letters or symbols (such as Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Omega, Pi, Sigma or Theta) in Google Docs files in several ways (including Alt code shortcuts).

In this article, we'll review 6 ways to insert Greek letters or symbols in a Google Docs file:

  1. Use an Alt shortcut by pressing Alt and then enter a number sequence (Windows)
  2. Use the Insert special characters dialog box and select a category
  3. Search special characters
  4. Create a custom Substitutions shortcut
  5. Use built-in shortcuts in an equation
  6. Use an Equation toolbar in an equation

First, you will need to log in to your Google Drive account at drive.google.com and then open the document in which you want to insert the Greek letters or symbols.

Recommended article: Google Docs Shortcuts to Quickly Select Text

1. Using Alt keyboard shortcuts to insert Greek symbols (Windows)

You can press the Alt key in combination with numbers on the numeric keypad to insert Greek symbols.

Press and hold Alt and then enter number sequences on the numeric keypad to enter the following:

α (Alpha) – Alt + 224
ß (Beta) – Alt + 225
Γ (Gamma) – Alt + 226
Δ (Upper case Delta) – Alt + 916
δ (Lower case Delta) – Alt + 235
ε (Epsilon) – Alt + 238
Θ (Theta) – Alt + 233
π (Pi) – Alt + 227
µ (Mu) – Alt + 230
Σ (Upper case Sigma) – Alt + 228
σ (Lower case Sigma) – Alt + 229
τ (Tau) – Alt + 231
Φ (Upper case Phi) – Alt + 232
φ (Lower case Phi) – Alt + 237
Ω (Omega) – Alt + 234

If these sequences don't work, press the NumLock key on the numeric keypad.

If you don't have a numeric keypad, you may be able to press the Fn key and access the numbers at the top of your keyboard.

2. Inserting Greek symbols using Insert special characters and selecting a category

You can insert the Greek symbols, as well as other symbols, using the Insert special characters dialog box.

To insert Greek Symbols in a Google Docs document using Insert special characters and selecting a category:

  1. Position the cursor in the document where you want to insert the Greek symbol.
  2. Click Insert in the menu. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Click Special characters. A dialog box appears.
  4. In the Category drop-down menu, select Other European Scripts.
  5. In the sub-set drop-down menu, select Greek.
  6. Click the symbol you want.
  7. Click Close (X on the top right of the dialog box).

Below is the Insert special characters dialog box with Other European Scripts and Greek selected:

Insert special characters dialog box in Google Docs to insert a greek symbol by selecting a category.

3. Inserting Greek symbols by searching for special characters

To insert Greek Symbols in a Google Docs document by searching for special characters:

  1. Position the cursor in the document where you want to insert the Greek symbol.
  2. Click Insert in the menu. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Click Special characters. A dialog box appears.
  4. In the Search box, type the symbol you want (such as sigma).
  5. Click the symbol.
  6. Click Close (X on the top right of the dialog box).

Below is the Insert special characters dialog box with sigma entered as the search term:

Insert special characters dialog box in Google Docs with search Sigma as the greek symbol.

You can also draw the symbol in the drawing area on the right side of the dialog box.

4. Inserting Greek symbols using a custom Substitutions shortcut

To create a custom Google Docs keyboard shortcut for a Greek symbol:

  1. Open a Google Docs file.
  2. Insert the Greek symbol using one of the methods above.
  3. Select the symbol and press Ctrl + C or Command + C.
  4. Click Tools in the menu. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Click Preferences. A dialog box appears.
  6. Click the Substitutions tab.
  7. Click in the With box and press Ctrl + V or Command + V to paste the Greek symbol.
  8. Click in the Replace box and enter the combination of letters and symbols you want to replace such as \Sigma.
  9. Click OK.

To use the entry in a document, type the entry and then press the Spacebar.

Below is the Preferences dialog box in Google Docs with an entry for a Greek symbol under Substitutions:

Substitions dialog box in Google Docs with Greek symbol entered.

Note that these types of shortcuts have already been created and are available if you are in an equation block or placeholder.

5. Inserting Greek symbols in equation blocks or placeholders using built-in shortcuts

To insert Greek symbols in an equation block or placeholder using built-in shortcuts:

  1. Click in the document where you want to insert an equation.
  2. Click Insert in the menu and select Equation from the drop-down menu to insert a new equation block or placeholder. You can also use an existing equation block or placeholder.
  3. Click in the equation block or placeholder and type a backslash (\) plus the name of the symbol (such as \lambda) and then press the Spacebar. To enter a Greek capital letter, use the same method but start with a capital letter (such as \Lambda).

6. Inserting Greek symbols in equation blocks or placeholders using the Equation toolbar

To insert Greek symbols in an equation block or placeholder using the Equation toolbar:

  1. Click in the document where you want to insert an equation.
  2. Click Insert in the menu and select Equation from the drop-down menu to insert a new equation block or placeholder. You can also use an existing equation block or placeholder.
  3. Click the View menu and select Equation toolbar from the drop-down menu. An Equation toolbar appears below the Standard toolbar
  4. Click in a equation block or placeholder .
  5. In the Equations toolbar, click Greek letters and then select a Greek symbol from the drop-down menu.

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Summary
How to Insert Greek Letters or Symbols in Google Docs (6 Ways)
Article Name
How to Insert Greek Letters or Symbols in Google Docs (6 Ways)
Description
You can insert Greek letters or symbols (such as Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Omega, Pi, Sigma or Theta) in Google Docs files in several ways (including Alt code shortcuts).
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Publisher Name
Avantix Learning

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