Humanities › History & Culture Writing Greek Letters on the Computer Writing Greek Letters in HTML Share Flipboard Email Print Greek letter sigma. ThoughtCo History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Ancient Languages Figures & Events Greece Egypt Asia Rome Mythology & Religion American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated May 04, 2019 If you write anything scientific or mathematical on the internet, you will quickly find the need for several special characters that are not readily available on your keyboard. ASCII characters for HTML allow you to include many characters that don't appear on an English keyboard, including the Greek alphabet. To make the correct character appear on the page, start with an ampersand (&) and a pound sign (#), followed by a three-digit number, and ending with a semicolon (;). Creating Greek Letters This table contains many Greek letters but not all of them. It only contains uppercase and lowercase letters that are not available on a keyboard. For example, you can type the capital alpha (A) in Greek with a regular capital A because these letters look the same in Greek and English. You can also use the code Α or &Alpha. The results are the same. Not all symbols are supported by all browsers. Check before you publish. You may need to add the following bit of code in the head part of your HTML document: <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"> HTML Codes for Greek Letters Character Displayed HTML Code capital gamma Γ Γ or Γ capital delta Δ Δ or Δ capital theta Θ Θ or Θ capital lambda Λ Λ or &Lamda; capital xi Ξ Ξ or Ξ capital pi Π Π or Π capital sigma Σ Σ or Σ capital phi Φ Φ or Φ capital psi Ψ Ψ or Ψ capital omega Ω Ω or Ω small alpha α α or α small beta β β or β small gamma γ γ or γ small delta δ δ or δ small epsilon ε ε or ε small zeta ζ ζ or ζ small eta η η or ζ small theta θ θ or θ small iota ι ι or ι small kappa κ κ or κ small lamda λ λ or λ small mu μ μ or μ small nu ν ν or ν small xi ξ ξ or ξ small pi π π or π small rho ρ ρ or ρ small sigma σ σ or σ small tau τ τ or τ small upsilon υ υ or υ small phi φ φ or φ small chi χ χ or χ small psi ψ ψ or ψ small omega ω ω or ω Alt Codes for Greek Letters You can also use Alt codes—also called quick codes, quick keys, or keyboard shortcuts—to create Greek letters, as displayed in the table below, which was adapted from the website Useful Shortcuts. To create any of these Greek letters using the Alt codes, simply press the "Alt" key while simultaneously typing the listed number. For example, to create the Greek letter Alpha (α), press the "Alt" key and type 224 using the keypad at the right side of your keyboard. (Do not use the numbers at the top of the keyboard located above the letter keys, as they will not work for creating Greek letters.) Character Displayed Alt Code Alpha α Alt 225 Beta β Alt 225 Gamma Γ Alt 226 Delta δ Alt 235 Epsilon ε Alt 238 Theta Θ Alt 233 Pi π Alt 227 Mu µ Alt 230 Uppercase Sigma Σ Alt 228 Lowercase Sigma σ Alt 229 Tau τ Alt 231 Uppercase Phi Φ Alt 232 Lowercase Phi φ Alt 237 Omega Ω Alt 234 History of the Greek Alphabet The Greek alphabet went through several changes over the centuries. Before the fifth century B.C., there were two similar Greek alphabets, the Ionic and Chalcidian. The Chalcidian alphabet may have been the forerunner of the Etruscan alphabet and, later, the Latin alphabet. It is the Latin alphabet that forms the basis of most European alphabets. Meanwhile, Athens adopted the Ionic alphabet; as a result, it is still used in modern Greece. While the original Greek alphabet was written in all capitals, three different scripts were created to make it easier to write quickly. These include uncial, a system for connecting capital letters, as well as the more familiar cursive and minuscule. Minuscule is the basis for modern Greek handwriting. Why You Should Know the Greek Alphabet Even if you never plan to learn Greek, there are good reasons to familiarize yourself with the alphabet. Mathematics and science use Greek letters like pi (π) to complement the numeric symbols. Sigma in its capital form (Σ) can stand for sum, while the uppercase letter delta (Δ) can mean change. The Greek alphabet is also central to the study of theology. For example, the Greek used in the Bible—called Koine (or "common") Greek—is different than modern Greek. Koine Greek was the language used by writers of the Old Testament Greek Septuagint (the earliest existing Greek translation of the Old Testament) and the Greek New Testament, according to an article titled "The Greek Alphabet" published on the website BibleScripture.net. So, many theologians need to study ancient Greek to get closer to the original biblical text. Having ways to quickly produce Greek letters using HTML or keyboard shortcuts makes this process much easier. Additionally, Greek letters are used to designate fraternities, sororities, and philanthropic organizations. Some books in English are also numbered using the letters of the Greek alphabet. Sometimes, both lowercase and capitals are employed for simplification. Thus, you may find that the books of the "Iliad" are written Α to Ω and those of the "Odyssey," α to ω. What Are the Letters of the Greek Alphabet? 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