# Fastest way to type greek letters like α or β?

I am working on a computer with only English keyboard, I have no admin rights to change the language settings in Windows, but I need to insert Greek letters in a text editor and other typing programs.

What would be the fastest way to type Greek letters?

So far I only see the option to copy and paste from websites like Wikipedia that list Greek letters. But that takes too much time.

Another option would be to use ALT-codes but then I had to learn all these codes by heart.

So if anyone has a smart idea, answer please. Thank you.

• Presumably the fastest way to type them would be to get a Greek keyboard. – ChrisInEdmonton Jul 6 '15 at 17:39
• Only English keyboard allowed, and I cannot set the language to Greek. So the greek keyboard would still insert English letters. – Kai Noack Jul 6 '15 at 17:44
• Are you able to install software on this computer? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 6 '15 at 17:46
• – Moab Jul 6 '15 at 17:46
• @WarrenYoung All modern OSes can switch between multiple keyboard layouts, the problem here is that it requires Administrator privileges. Oh, and don't you think that buying a Mac is quite an (expensive) overkill if you just want to type α or β? – gronostaj Jul 7 '15 at 8:41

In Microsoft Office you can add auto correct list items, e.g. to automatically replace (alfa) to α, so after typing the text it will be automatically replaced to the character. It's longer to type then Alt codes, but also easier to remember.

## Update

Doing a bit of research I've realized that this solution is already implemented, you don't need to type again the whole alphabet, here you can find how it works in Word (from version 2007): https://support.office.com/en-za/article/Math-AutoCorrect-symbols-b8b463d9-f47d-45c4-a00f-9245c2b38843.
And way to get it working in other Office programs too: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/wiki/office_2013_release-excel/how-to-use-math-autocorrect-in-excel/dadf030c-2ba3-4080-9383-3050705792cf

• +1 Clever. In your example, add a space after "alfa", or a warning to pick placeholders that aren't part of words. – fixer1234 Jul 6 '15 at 20:14
• I meant (alfa) with the brackets, so it won't convert it when somebody use it intentionally. – Máté Juhász Jul 7 '15 at 2:33
• This is a nice solution. Although I don't have Microsoft Word installed. However, it brought me to the idea to use Google Docs, et voilà, there is a autocorrect available! I added my answer to the list here. – Kai Noack Jul 7 '15 at 8:22
• Instead of two answers listing macros for specific apps, one could expand the whole macro idea with software like PhraseExpress or Autohotkey. It isn't app specific, so you can type symbols even in your browser search, etc. – jiggunjer May 3 '16 at 1:03
• @jiggunjer - If you have another idea you're welcome to post it as an answer, that way it'll get more publicity. – Máté Juhász May 3 '16 at 7:10

## Solution with Autohotkey

To use Autohotkey is probably the fastest solution. It works globally in all Windows programs. You need this Autohotkey script: greekletters.ahk, it works like this:

After installing the script you simply activate ⇪ Capslock, then you type for instance the key a which turns immediately into α. As fast as it can be.

To get capitalized letters, activate ⇪ Capslock, then hold Shift and press the letter you need.

## Solution with Google Docs

Máté Juhász gave a great answer, which works if you have installed Microsoft Word 2007 or higher.

For everybody who has not Microsoft Word available, you can use Google Docs as a workaround. There you specify the Automatic corrections, go to >Tools >Preferences then insert for instance:

The same autoreplacement I can do now with Notepad++ using the Fingertext plugin.

So "Autocorrect" (automatic replacements) is the way to go!

Thanks to all for your ideas.

• This is very similar to the AutoHotKey method described here. This method includes a work-around for some programs that don't like to accept unicode characters from AutoHotKey (namely Inkscape and maybe others) – hugke729 Jun 9 '18 at 3:24

You can add Greek keyboard layout (it doesn't require Administrator privileges):

1. Open Control Panel.
2. In Clock, Language, and Region category, click the link Change keyboards and other input methods.
3. Click Change keyboards.
5. Scroll the list to Greek (Greece), expand the item, expand Keyboards item and select a keyboard layout you like.
Click Preview to see the preview of the keyboard layout.
6. Click OK to add the selected keyboard layout.
7. Click OK to close Text Services and Input Languages dialog, and click OK to close Region and Language dialog.

Thes instructions are for Windows 7.

Then use Left Alt+Shift to switch between keyboard languages.

• I have already 3 languages installed and swapping them in Windows is already a hassle. Adding a fourth language just to get α, β, γ about once a week is not an option for me. – Kai Noack Aug 18 '17 at 13:00

Try LaTeX. Install (you can install it to your users folder) TeXlive and TeXMaker. LaTeX is a typesetting program specifically for maths and stuff with non-latin symbols. It may be a bit overkill (depending on what you wanna do exactly) but it is worth learning this markup language.

You type plain textfiles with content like

\alpha_{i}


which would turn into an alpha with an underscore 'i'. It is very rich and makes practically everything look nice :-)

If you want to write whole modern greek words, you can try a "greeklish" to greek converter. (Greeklish is greek written with similar-looking or similar-sounding latin characters, for those who don't have greek characters on their keyboard or are lazy to press the key combination switch between languages)

http://services.innoetics.com/greeklish/Service_en.aspx

I use math auto correct option. To type α just type \alpha and then space. For more such shortcut for all greek symbols just see. Shortcut to type Greek symbols in MS Word

• (1) Is this really different from Máté Juhász’s answer? (2) Please describe what the user needs to do here; don’t just refer to a link (and especially not a link to a video). – Scott Sep 14 '18 at 3:26

You can add letters like this by following this:

1. Make sure NumLock is on.
2. Hold Alt and write in a number according to this map: http://tools.oratory.com/altcodes.html
3. Release the Alt and your letter should come up.

Note This may not work on all word possessing applications however do try.

Also once you get use to it then you should be able to remember some of the letters and their number.

Good luck

• OP says: "Another option would be to use ALT-codes but then I had to learn all these codes by heart." – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 6 '15 at 18:25
• Especially Gamma is not available with the ALT-codes... – Kai Noack Jul 7 '15 at 8:16
• The linked page does not have any Greek letters at all. Standard Character Map does not provide any Alt-keystrokes for Greek letters. – Alexey Ivanov Jul 17 '15 at 12:01