I have installed a clean version of MacOs and also a new versione of MacTex. While compiling a tex file, i get the following error

Package inputenc Error: Unicode character γ (U+3B3)(inputenc) not set up for use with LaTeX.

If I compile the same file on the old version of MacOs I don't get this error. Is there any setting of the package inputenc should I change?

It is an error arising from the bibliography file .bbl

  • U+03B3 is GREEK SMALL LETTER GAMMA. Maybe you can find the problematic entry with that information. You could also try \DeclareUnicodeCharacter{03B3}{XXXX Here I am XXX} and search for XXX in the output.
    – moewe
    Mar 18, 2019 at 12:13
  • Thank you. But I don't understand why the compilation works in the old version of MacOs and not in the new clean installation of the operating system.
    – apt45
    Mar 18, 2019 at 12:16
  • 1
    In April 2018 LaTeX made UTF-8 the default encoding for .tex documents (latex-project.org/news/latex2e-news/ltnews28.pdf). Earlier LaTeX would essentially assume ASCII input and characters not in ASCII range would not be handled as expected. The new default handles UTF-8 chars as expected, but not all characters have been set up for use. Previously the gamma would not have errored, but I would be surprised if the output had been as expected.
    – moewe
    Mar 18, 2019 at 12:19
  • What input encoding are you using? What is the encoding of your .bib file? Mar 18, 2019 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


I had the same error from a reference in a bib file. I left the bib file as is and used \DeclareUnicodeCharacter{03B3}{$\gamma$} and it worked a treat. Now the $\gamma$ comes up nicely!


Glad you solved this. Your options include:

  • Load the unicode-math package in a native Unicode engine, such as LuaLaTeX. It will understand all Unicode characters. This is what I would recommend, unless your publisher or professor requires you to use legacy 8-bit fonts.
  • Load \usepackage[LGR,T1]{fontenc} on a modern distribution, and it should understand γ in text mode. it might also need \usepackage{textgreek}. The kernel will only set up the Unicode characters that are in a text encoding that you loaded.
  • Do a search-and-replace in your source file.
  • Recent versions of babel should be able to automatically switch to a Greek font when they see Greek letters.
  • Define a command to display γ (either with inputenc or newunicodechar). This should probably be something like \ifmmode\gamma\else\textgamma\fi so it will work in either text or math mode.
  • Thanks for the edit, @UlrikeFischer!
    – Davislor
    Apr 14, 2021 at 14:39

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