17

Unfortunately, the command \Alpha does not produce capital version of \alpha (as one might expect in analogy with how, say, \Pi produces capital \pi). It so happens that the capital alpha looks rather similar to A, but that doesn't mean that there aren't situations where I would like to use capital alpha in a formula. For instance, suppose I already have \pi which belongs to a set \Pi, and then \alpha comes along and I need a name for the set of its possible values.

What is the best way to write capital alpha?

The obvious first attempt is to just write A. But it's not right - A produces italic A, while Greek letters are by default not italic. Would \mathrm{A} do the trick, or is there some subtle issue I'm not noticing? Is there a package that will save me the work of defining all capital letters by hand?

4
  • 6
    Yes, it is \mathrm{A}.
    – user156344
    Apr 19, 2019 at 13:21
  • Slight correction: uppercase Greek letters are by default not italic in math, but lowercase ones are. Apr 20, 2019 at 8:27
  • 3
    How will your readers distinguish between Alpha and A?
    – egreg
    Apr 20, 2019 at 10:02
  • 1
    @egreg - With any luck, Alpha and A will not appear anywhere close to one another. And even if they do, one will be italic and the other one won't. Apr 20, 2019 at 20:53

4 Answers 4

35

If you're using LuaLaTeX or XeLaTeX, you can use the unicode-math package. It defines all uppercase Greek letters:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{unicode-math}
\begin{document}
$\Alpha+\Beta=\Gamma$.
\end{document}

The result is:

enter image description here

This way has an advantage in that one can change the style of the letters by altering the unicode-math options. For example \usepackage[math-style=ISO]{unicode-math} without any other changes yields:

enter image description here

Also, this way alpha can be copied&pasted from the resulting PDF.

13
  • 2
    -1 for dependence on IDE/engine.
    – Rosie F
    Apr 19, 2019 at 17:37
  • 28
    @RosieF There’s no dependence on IDE. Posting a solution that uses newer technology does not merit a downvote unless it fails to answer the question, i.e. ignoring the specified requirements. This site should encourage posting alternative solutions, some of which use LuaLaTeX or XeLaTeX.
    – Davislor
    Apr 19, 2019 at 18:45
  • 13
    @RosieF It is impossible to use TeX without using some specific TeX engine. If commonly used implementations behave differently (which may be unfortunate, but is a fact of life) understanding the differences is an important part of the answer.
    – alephzero
    Apr 19, 2019 at 20:19
  • 6
    +1: @RosieF I also no not see any reason for a downvote at all. Apr 19, 2019 at 21:25
  • 7
    @RosieF By the same logic, all questions that depend on LaTeX instead of just base TeX should be downvoted, since that is an extremely large dependence!
    – AJF
    Apr 20, 2019 at 14:33
20

Screenshot from lshort.pdf (The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e):

enter image description here

So it is simply \mathrm{A}.

\documentclass{standalone}
\newcommand\Alpha{\mathrm{A}}
\begin{document}
$\Alpha+\Pi=\Gamma$
\end{document}

enter image description here

3
  • 4
    +1 for independence from IDE/engine.
    – Rosie F
    Apr 19, 2019 at 17:36
  • This cannot print \Eta is it normal?
    – alper
    Apr 19 at 14:43
  • \Eta is the same as H.
    – john
    Jun 6 at 4:48
9

I would recommend unicode-math and Sergei Golovan’s solution if you are able to use it. Fewer and fewer publishers force you to use PDFTeX.

Here is a PDFTeX-compatible solution that produces a Greek Α and Β instead of a Latin A and B:

\documentclass[varwidth]{standalone}
\usepackage[LGR, T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}

\usepackage{lmodern, amsmath}

\newcommand\mupAlpha{\mathord{\text{%
\fontencoding{LGR}\upshape\selectfont \textAlpha}}}
\newcommand\mupBeta{\mathord{\text{%
\fontencoding{LGR}\upshape\selectfont \textBeta}}}

\begin{document}
\( \mupAlpha + \mupBeta = \Gamma \)
\end{document}

Latin Modern Font Sample

I chose the names \mupAlpha and \mupBeta, which are compatible with unicode-math, because they always produce a regular-weight, upright letter. It would also be possible to define italic \mitAlpha and bold \mbfAlpha by inserting \itshape or \bfseries. Or you could call it \Alpha.

Another alternative is to declare LGR-encoded symbol alphabets and \DeclareMathSymbol, but be careful you don’t run out of math alphabets, which are a limited resource in the legacy toolchain. There are a number of packages that define Greek math-mode fonts, including upgreek. Both mathastext and isomath have options to load a LGR font for your Greek letters in math mode.

In theory, you could try the alphabeta package to use commands such as \Alpha in either text or math mode, and also insert the Unicode characters in math mode. However, it produces inconsistent results: Α + Β = Γ. In practice, if you want to mix different scripts, you’re much better off with Unicode and the modern toolchain designed for that.

3
  • Did you try $x_{\mupAlpha}$?
    – egreg
    Apr 20, 2019 at 9:50
  • @egreg Oof! Thanks for the reminder.
    – Davislor
    Apr 20, 2019 at 10:11
  • Looking back at this answer, it might or might not have a bug. \mathAlpha, etc., don’t reset the font series, so a \bfseries command will bleed over. This might actually be desirable, if it appears in a chapter or section title! To fix it, replace \text with \textnormal or call \usefont within \text to set all font porperties at once.
    – Davislor
    Sep 13, 2019 at 15:41
6

This works with the default Computer Modern fonts. A different font family should be chosen if the font is different (and it should have support for the LGR encoding).

I redefined also \Delta because the correspondence when copying maps the standard \Delta to U+2206 INCREMENT.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[LGR,T1]{fontenc} % or OT1

\DeclareSymbolFont{upgreek}{LGR}{cmr}{m}{n}
\SetSymbolFont{upgreek}{bold}{LGR}{cmr}{bx}{n}

\DeclareMathSymbol{\Alpha}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`A}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Beta}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`B}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Delta}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`D}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Epsilon}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`E}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Zeta}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`Z}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Eta}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`H}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Iota}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`I}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Kappa}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`K}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Mu}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`M}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Nu}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`N}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Omicron}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`O}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Rho}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`R}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Tau}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`T}
\DeclareMathSymbol{\Chi}{\mathord}{upgreek}{`Q}


\begin{document}

$\Alpha\Beta\Gamma\Delta\Epsilon\Zeta\Eta\Theta\Iota\Kappa\Lambda\Mu$

$\Nu\Xi\Omicron\Pi\Rho\Sigma\Tau\Upsilon\Phi\Chi\Psi\Omega$

{\mathversion{bold}$\Alpha\Beta\Gamma\Delta$}

\end{document}

You could also avoid the dependency from LGR, but in this case you have to set up a font family in the U encoding.

enter image description here

Below what I get by copy-paste:

ΑΒΓΔΕΖΗΘΙΚΛΜ ΝΞΟΠΡΣΤΥΦΧΨΩ ΑΒΓΔ

If you define \Alpha as \mathrm{A} you just get the same glyph, but upon copying it would be A.

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