Insert or Type the Delta Symbol in an Excel Worksheet

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated March 20, 2022

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2013, 2016, 2019, 2021 and 365 (Windows)

You can insert or type the Delta symbol in Excel worksheets using built-in commands or keyboard shortcuts. The Delta symbol is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet and corresponds to the letter D. Delta can be entered in upper case (Δ) or lower case (δ).​ You can insert the Delta symbol using the Insert Symbol command, the Symbol font, Alt code shortcuts, AutoCorrect shortcuts or a custom format. The Delta symbol can be entered in cells, text boxes and equation blocks in Excel.

In this article, we'll review 7 ways to insert the Delta symbol in Excel:

  1. Use the Insert Symbol command
  2. Press Alt and then enter a number sequence
  3. Use the Symbol font and press the corresponding letter on the keyboard
  4. Create a custom format
  5. Add custom AutoCorrect entries to create shortcuts
  6. Use Math AutoCorrect shortcuts in an equation block or placeholder
  7. Use the Equation tab in the Ribbon to insert symbols in an equation block or placeholder

In mathematics, delta means change.

Recommended article: How to Insert Multiple Rows in Excel (4 Fast Ways with Shortcuts)

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To insert an equation block in Excel:

  1. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Symbols. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Click Equation. An equation block is inserted on the worksheet.

1. Inserting the Delta symbol using Insert Symbol

To insert the Delta symbol using Insert Symbol in an Excel worksheet:

  1. Click in the cell, text box or equation block where you want to insert the Delta symbol. Double-click the cell if you want to edit a cell that has other content.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Symbols group, click Symbol. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click More Symbols. A dialog box appears.
  5. If necessary, click the Symbols tab.
  6. Select (normal text) from the Font drop-down menu and then Greek and Coptic from the Subset menu. Alternatively, you could select the Symbol font.
  7. Click the Delta symbol.
  8. Click Insert.
  9. Click Close.

The Insert Symbol dialog box displays the Delta symbol when you select normal text as the font and Greek and Coptic as the subset:

Insert symbol dialog box in Excel with Delta selected.

Some Excel users may want to insert a solid upward-pointing or downward-pointing triangle to represent change (or a delta) as follows:

▲▼

To insert the upward-pointing or downward-pointing triangle:

  1. Click in the cell, text box or equation block where you want to insert the Delta symbol. Double-click the cell if you want to edit a cell that has other content.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Symbols group, click Symbol. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click More Symbols. A dialog box appears.
  5. If necessary, click the Symbols tab.
  6. Select Wingdings 3 from the Font drop-down menu.
  7. Scroll through until you see the triangles you want to use.
  8. Click the upward-pointing or downward-pointing triangle.
  9. Click Insert.
  10. Click Close.

The Insert Symbol dialog box displays the triangle symbols when you select Wingdings 3 as the font:

Insert symbol dialog box with triangles displayed.

2. Using Alt keyboard shortcuts to insert the Delta symbol

You can press the Alt key in combination with numbers on the numeric keypad to insert Greek symbols in a cell, text box or equation block.

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

Δ (Upper case Delta) – Alt + 916
δ (Lower case Delta) – Alt + 235

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.

In the Insert Symbol dialog box, Alt keyboard shortcuts are also displayed for each character at the bottom. The Unicode (hex) sequences listed in the dialog box are entered differently. In the document, press the indicated keys (using the numeric keypad) and then press Alt + X.

If you prefer to enter the following upward-pointing or downward-pointing triangles, press the following and use the numbers on the numeric keypad:

▲ – Alt + 30
▼ – Alt + 31

3. Inserting the Delta symbol by switching to the Symbol font

You can use the Symbol font to insert the Delta symbol in Excel.

To insert the Delta symbol using the Symbol font:

  1. Click in the cell, text box or equation block where you want to insert the Delta symbol.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Select Symbol from the Font drop-down menu.
  4. Type the character to insert the required letter or symbol (such as the letter D).

The Greek characters correspond to standard characters. For example, if you type the letter d, Excel enters the corresponding Greek lowercase letter. Note that this changes the font for the entire cell if you have selected a cell.

4. Creating a custom format for the Delta symbol

You can insert the Delta symbol in cells with numbers that you want to use in calculations by creating a custom number format. You can also use this method to display the upward-pointing or downward-pointing triangles which is common in dashboards. Once you create the format, you can apply it to cells containing numbers and you will still be able to perform calculations on the numbers.

Custom number formats have up to 4 parts separated by semi-colons. The first part affects positive numbers, the second part affects negative numbers, the third part affects zero values and the fourth part affects text. Literal text needs to be enclosed in quotation marks ("") and zeros force digits to display.

To create a custom number format to apply the upward-pointing or downward-pointing triangles in a format (in this case for percentages):

  1. Insert the triangles in a cell using the Insert Symbol or Alt method above.
  2. Double-click the cell and drag over the triangles.
  3. Press Ctrl + C to copy the triangles.
  4. Press Ctrl + 1 to display the Format Cells dialog box. Alternatively, right-click one of the selected cells and select Format Cells from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click the Number tab.
  6. In the categories on the left, click Custom.
  7. Delete the format that appears in the Type area.
  8. Enter a positive number format. For example, press Ctrl + V to paste the triangles and then enter 0%.
  9. Delete the downward-pointing triangle.
  10. Type a semi-colon to create a negative format part and enter a minus sign (-).
  11. Press Ctrl + V to paste the triangles again and then enter 0%.
  12. Delete the upward-pointing triangle in the negative part.
  13. If you want the upward-pointing triangle to appear in green, type [Green] at the beginning of the first part. If you prefer a darker green, enter [Color10] instead of [Green].
  14. If you want the downward-pointing triangle to appear in red, type [Red] at the beginning of the second part.
  15. If you want to format zero values, add a semi-colon at the end of the format and enter a zero value part.
  16. Click OK.

The following custom number format would display a green upward-pointing arrow for positive percentages and a red downward-pointing arrow for negative percentages:

[Color10] ▲0%;[Red] ▼-0%

In the following example, the custom number format  has been entered in the Type area in the Format Cells dialog box:

If you wanted to display 2 decimals for a % format, you could create the following custom format:

[Color10] ▲0.00%;[Red] ▼-0.00%

The Format Cells dialog box appears as follows with a custom format that includes upward-pointing and downward-pointing triangles:

Format cells dialog box in Excel with custom format to display upward and downward pointing triangles to represent a change or delta.

Custom number formats can now be applied to selected cells. Note that custom number formats are only saved in the current workbook.

You can create a similar format using the Delta symbol instead of the triangles.

To apply a custom number format:

  1. Select the cells where you want to apply the format.
  2. Press Ctrl + 1. Alternatively, right-click one of the selected cells and select Format Cells from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click the Number tab.
  4. In the categories on the left, click Custom.
  5. Scroll through formats on the right.
  6. Click the custom number format (custom number formats appear at the bottom of the list).
  7. Click OK.

A custom format has been applied to the cells in column C of the following worksheet with upward-pointing and downward-pointing triangles:

Excel worksheet with a custom format applied to cells to represent a change or delta.

5. Creating a custom AutoCorrect shortcut for the Delta symbol

You can also create a custom AutoCorrect shortcut for the Delta symbol. Although you can use Math AutoCorrect entries in equation blocks in Excel, you can't use them outside of math regions.

To create an AutoCorrect entry in Excel for the Delta symbol:

  1. Click in the cell, text box or equation block where you want to insert the Delta symbol. Double-click the cell if you want to edit a cell that has other content.
  2. Insert the Delta symbol using Insert Symbol or the Alt code method above.
  3. Double-click the cell and drag over it the letter or symbol.
  4. Press Ctrl + C to copy the symbol.
  5. Click the File tab in the Ribbon.
  6. Click Options. A dialog box appears.
  7. Select Proofing in the categories on the left.
  8. Click AutoCorrect. A dialog box appears.
  9. In the Replace with box, enter the name of the entry (such as \delta).
  10. Click in the With box and press Ctrl + V to paste the symbol.
  11. Click Add.
  12. Click OK.
  13. Click Close.
  14. Click in the cell, text box or equation block where you want to insert the Greek symbol. Double-click the cell if you want to edit a cell that has other content.
  15. Type the entry (such as \delta) and then press the Spacebar.

The AutoCorrect dialog box appears as follows with the Delta symbol to be added as an entry:

AutoCorrect dialog box in Excel with entry added for Delta symbol.

6. Inserting the Delta symbol in an equation block using AutoCorrect for Math

Excel has built-in Math AutoCorrect entries that are available to insert in equation blocks.

To insert the Delta symbol in an equation block using AutoCorrect for Math:

  1. Select the Excel worksheet where you want to insert an equation.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Symbol. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click Equation to insert a new equation block or placeholder. You can also use an existing equation block or placeholder.
  5. Click in the equation block or placeholder and type a backslash (\\\\) plus the name of the symbol (such as \delta) and then press the Spacebar. To enter a Greek capital letter, use the same method but start with a capital letter (such as \Delta).

7. Inserting the Delta symbol in an equation block using the Equation tab in the Ribbon

To insert the Delta symbol in an equation block or placeholder using the Equation tab in the Ribbon:

  1. Select the Excel worksheet where you want to insert an equation.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Symbol. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click Equation to insert a new equation block or placeholder. You can also use an existing equation block or placeholder.
  5. Ensure that you have clicked in the equation block and then click the Equation tab in the Ribbon.
  6. Click the More arrow on the bottom right of the Symbols gallery.
  7. At the top of the Symbols gallery, select the drop-down menu (typically, this displays Basic Math).
  8. Select Greek Letters from the drop-down menu.
  9. Click the Greek symbol you want to insert.

The Symbol gallery with Greek Letters selected appears as follows:

Insert symbol gallery in Excel with Greek letters selected to insert the Delta symbol.

You can also insert the Delta symbol in an equation block using Alt codes or the Insert Symbol dialog box.

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Summary
How to Insert or Type the Delta Symbol in Excel (7 Ways to Insert Δ or δ)
Article Name
How to Insert or Type the Delta Symbol in Excel (7 Ways to Insert Δ or δ)
Description
You can insert or type the Delta symbol in Excel worksheets using built-in commands or keyboard shortcuts. The Delta symbol is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet and corresponds to the letter D. Delta can be entered in upper case (Δ) or lower case (δ).​ You can insert the Delta symbol using the Insert Symbol command, the Symbol font, Alt code shortcuts, AutoCorrect shortcuts or a custom format. The Delta symbol can be entered in cells, text boxes and equation blocks in Excel.
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Avantix Learning

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