I notice that beamer has everything in sans-serif by default, including math. In a regular article, simply using \sffamily doesn't cause math to be set in sans-serif. Using \renewcommand{\familydefault}{\sfdefault} doesn't work and the sansmath package sort of works, but seems to produce varying results with respect to whether letters are italic or not (e.g., in beamer \Gamma is not italicized, but with sansmath it is.)

Is there one "right" way to do this?

Edit: another problem is that \sansmath seems to turn \beta into "fi".


There are not many real sans serif math fonts. You can try


that has math symbol fonts, except for the "large symbols". Perhaps decent results can be obtained by loading the Iwona font:


enter image description here

A different approach could be with the Arev fonts; changing the preamble above into


you'd get the following

enter image description here

You find an extensive description of (free) math fonts at this address


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  • Is it possible to switch to cmbright or some other font for a certain portion of the document and then switch back? – jtbandes Oct 16 '12 at 21:51
  • See this question: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/33165/… – egreg Oct 16 '12 at 21:54
  • That solution is helpful, but when I try it the uppercase Greek letters are not sans-serif... any ideas why? – jtbandes Oct 18 '12 at 22:09
  • This happens when using mathpazo only. – jtbandes Oct 18 '12 at 22:18
  • 3
    The survey by Stephen Hartke is a bit dated. There is a more extensive survey by Günter Milde (2008, 2010) milde.users.sourceforge.net/Matheschriften/matheschriften.xhtml (Freie Mathematikschriften für LaTeX). In german, though (but see the links at the bottom of the document). – user4686 Oct 19 '12 at 12:19

For me (with font set to \usepackage{helvet}), the packages mathastext and isomath did the job to get a consistent appearance (text in mathmode in same style as default text):

% 'isomath' sets upper case greek letters italic in accordance with 
% the International Standard ISO 80000-2
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