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At the advice of a past question (Text related packages advised to avoid combining) I am looking into changing my document dependencies from textgreek to polyglossia, but because of restrictions to my ascii container, I avoid inserting advanced characters such as greek characters. If I am to stop using textgreek I will lose my ability to insert an alpha using \textalpha type codings.

I have read through the polyglossia documentation, and from what I can tell, it is designed to use characters in the container, not coded.

So what is the best way to recode these symbols myself?

My experience is that any attempt to use \alpha will require a math mode encapsulation, which is what I was trying to avoid.

Also, since characters can be declared in newcommand what character map or encoding set can I use to define new characters for use with polyglossia ensuring they will still be recognized as a greek family?

  • Apologies for my ignorance but what do you mean by your ascii container? I guess you know that XeTeX assumes your .tex file uses UTF8 encoding? (I'm wondering if I have given you bad advice. Maybe I should have said don't use XeTeX for this...?) – cfr Jul 15 '15 at 0:33
  • @cfr I use eclipse as my preferred project management environment and while I can go to File -> Properties -> Resource -> Text File Encoding -> and select from any of {ISO-8859-1, US-ASCII, UTF-16, UTF-16BE, UTF-16LE, UTF-8} . Because I frequently script the production of tex files, I am not always able to use UTF-8 encoding. To that end I am unable to include certain characters. I think your advice was sound however! I am committed to XeTeX because of custom fonts and an inexperience (but eventual desire to learn) LuaTex. – EngBIRD Jul 15 '15 at 16:48
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You don't have to define anything. xunicode (loaded by fontspec, loaded by polyglossia) defines \textalpha. You can also always enter a char with the ^^-notation and the unicode number:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{fontspec}
\setmainfont{Arial Unicode MS} %some font with greek
\begin{document}
\textalpha\textbeta ^^^^03b3
\end{document}

enter image description here

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