Saturday, April 14, 2012

How to Locate Greek Letters and Mathematical Symbols without Going Crazy

On a recent project, I've had to use a variety of greek letters and mathematical symbols. While I know that many of these symbols exist in Pro fonts, locating them in InDesign's glyph panel has proved to be rather difficult. Here is a screen shot of the glyphs panel, displaying the entire font of Myriad Pro. It's a bit dizzying, is it not?

Notice how on the top left of the glyphs panel is a little drop down menu.

I's never given much thought to the drop down menu. I'd always left it at either "Entire Font" or "Alternates for Selection." But today I needed a special mathematical symbol and I really didn't want to spend a bunch time digging through the entire font trying to locate it. So I finally took a look at the rest of the dropdown menu. Lo and behold, in the second section of the dropdown menu, there was an option called "Math Symbols." How had I not seen this before?! And look a little farther down, there's another one called "Greek." Here are screenshots of all of the different character categories, from top to bottom, in the order listed in the "Show" drop down menu.

Basic Latin and Latin 1

Extended Latin A

Extended Latin B


Superscripts and Subscripts




Math Symbols


What's so neat about displaying the different character-type categories is that you can also display them in different fonts, and the character-type category remains selected. For example, if you are typesetting a physics book for fifth graders, and wanted to use Greek letters in Marker Felt font, you can easily see that a variety of Greek letters are, in fact, available in Marker Felt. Who knew?

Greek letters in Marker Felt font