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42 How do I write greek with TeX/LaTeX


This article is from the Greece FAQ, by Nikolaos (Nick) C. Fotis, nfotis@theseas.ntua.gr with numerous contributions by others.

42 How do I write greek with TeX/LaTeX

+[ NOTE: there's a new version of 'greektex' in the winds - more info in
+ the next issue! ]

From: Dimitrios FILIPPOU <filippou@binkley.cs.mcgill.ca>


The following text contains some information on whatever exists for
typesetting by TeX documents which contain entirely or in part Greek
text. Those who would like to typeset Greek texts not by plain TeX, but
rather with LaTeX, may find this short note quite useful as well.

Therefore, the following text contains some information on

* Greek fonts created for TeX by METAFONT (this will be of
great interest to the few ones who like to play with METAFONT),

* complete TeX/LaTeX packages for typesetting Greek documents
(the quick solution for anyone who wants to typeset Greek texts
with TeX or LaTeX), and

* where should one seek help in case he has problems to typeset
Greek with TeX or LaTeX (the Greek connections :-) ).

A more extended version of this note has been apparently archived
under the name "help/greek.faq" at all CTAN sites:

ftp.shsu.edu (,
ftp.dante.de (, and
ftp.tex.ac.uk (

Public domain Greek fonts for TeX

Silvio Levy (Princeton University, New Jersey, USA) was the one who
created the first family of fonts for typesetting Greek text with TeX.
Levy's fonts were created by METAFONT and appeared by the mid-80s, just
as TeX version 3.0 started coming out. That was an 8-bit font family
and included regular, slanted, bold and typewriter typefaces. Levy made
his Greek fonts after the Didot design, a typeface which was originally
created two centuries ago by the famous Didot printers in Paris and
which is still used extensively by Greek printers today. Among Greek
printers, this Didot typeface is known as "apla" (plain), but often
outsiders call it incorrectly "Greek roman".

The METAFONT source code of Levy's fonts is still available in some FTP
sites (usually in font collections). Nonetheless, it is not worth to
bother with these METAFONT sources, because Levy's fonts have been
surpassed by the similar ones that where subsequently created by Yannis
Haralambous (Villeneuve d'Ascq, France).

Yannis Haralambous' family of Greek fonts looks the same as Levy's one,
i.e., it is of the Didot kind, but uses a different 8-bit coding
scheme. It contains five typefaces: regular, slanted, bold, "italics"
(these "italics" are kind of pseudo-italics based on the Greek math
n fonts) and small caps. Within the
small caps of Haralambous, you will find some extra characters such as
digamma, qoppa and sampi, which are useful in writing Greek numerals.
The METAFONT sources are available by FTP from many "fonts/greek"
collections and some old "babel" collections such as

ymir.claremont.edu (,

Together with his fonts, Yannis Haralambous has also put a few
essential macros to allow the easy use of the fonts.

In the time between Levy's and Haralambous' works, Brian Hamilton Kelly
(Royal Military College of Science, Swindon, UK) also presented a
family of Greek fonts. Apparently these fonts (Greek "roman", "italic",
bold and typewriter) were created out of the Greek characters of the
Computer Modern math fonts. I have never tested Hamilton Kelly's fonts,
but, as their author says, they were created only for modern uni-accent
Greek; they will not work for multi-accent ancient or modern Greek. The
METAFONT sources of these fonts are available by FTP from

ymir.claremont.edu (,

The two public domain Greek TeX packages which have been put together
by Moschovakis and Dryllerakis and which are discussed later in this
note, are heavily based on the original work of Levy and Haralambous.
In terms of fonts, both these public domain Greek TeX packages include
Levy's and/or Haralambous' original work only slightly modified.
Moschovakis, for example, has added his own experimental "Greek
italics" and "Greek sans serif".

Commercial Greek fonts for TeX

SCHOLAR TeX is a commercial TeX package that has been created by Yannis
Haralambous. It includes fonts and macros for modern Greek, ancient
classical Greek, ancient epigraphical Greek and ("in the near future",
according to the author) Byzantine Greek. Indeed, the scholar may find
this package extremely useful as, in addition to Greek, it includes
fonts for many other non-Latin alphabets. SCHOLAR TeX is also the only
package available at this moment that contains complete hyphenation
tables for ancient classical Greek and modern Greek (hyphenation rules
are not the same for ancient and modern Greek). The price of SCHOLAR
TeX is US$200 for individuals (US$100 additional for METAFONT sources)
and US$500 for institutions (includes METAFONT sources). For orders or
more information, you can contact:

Yannis Haralambous
101/11 rue Breughel,
59650 Villeneuve d'Ascq,

e-mail: yannis@gat.univ-lille1.fr
fax: +33

You must specify to the author of SCHOLAR TeX what is the operating
system where you intend to use his product.

Public domain Greek TeX packages

At this moment, there exist two complete public domain packages with
fonts and macros for typesetting Greek documents by TeX or LaTeX. These

1. "greektex" version 2.0 (?) by Yiannis Moschovakis (UCLA, Los
Angeles, USA), and

2. "GreekTeX" version 3.1 by Kostis Dryllerakis (Imperial
College, London, UK).

The names of these packages are indeed identical. Hence, in order to
distinguish the one from the other, I have denoted the first one with
lowercase letters.

Both these packages include a number of 8-bit fonts: regular, slanted,
typewriter, etc. They also include macros for typesetting ancient or
modern, uni-accent or multi-accent Greek by either plain TeX or LaTeX.
Greek hyphenation tables are also provided in these packages. However,
these tables have been prepared according to the hyphenation rules of
modern Greek; therefore, they may give a few erroneous results with
ancient Greek texts.

Particularly for LaTeX users, Moschovakis has included in his
"greektex", a style file for entirely Greek articles. Dryllerakis, from
his side, has added a Greek article and a Greek book style file in
GreekTeX. These Greek style files are in reality the standard LaTeX
article and book style files with just few modifications, mostly in
titles. GreekTeX also includes a "greek.sty" which comes very handy to
those who want to include only a few Greek quotes in their documents.

The Greek TeX packages are accompanied by "filters" for character
translation. With these filters, the packages can be used under any
system which accepts standard 7-bit ASCII encoded input such as UNIX,
DOS, etc. However, each of these packages was originally created under
a different operating system. Consequently, "greektex" is more friendly
to use on a DOS machine, because it allows the user to type in Greek or
Latin directly. On the other hand, I find GreekTeX a better choice for
UNIX running machines, since at many UNIX terminals you cannot edit a
document with Greek characters encoded at ASCII positions above 127.
For DOS machines, GreekTeX works very well with the "texconv" filter of
emTeX. Kostis Dryllerakis has also reported that his GreekTeX has been
used succesfully on a Macintosh (I would think with OzTeX).

The fonts of "greektex" include the basic Computer Modern Latin
characters at their original posistions (ASCII below 127). Contrary to
this, the fonts of GreekTeX do not include any Latin characters, but
only Greek ones. For that reason, TeX users who want to avoid
duplicating the font files in their disks, should go for Dryllerakis'
package. I would recommend Moschovakis' "greektex" to those who want to
typeset entirely (or or almost entirely) Greek texts by TeX on their
DOS machine. However, those who will pick up Moschovakis' package
should be aware that their ".tex" file may not be easily transfered
from one machine to another. Portability seems to be the biggest
advantage of the other package, Dryllerakis' GreekTeX, even if editing
something for Greek output by GreekTeX is a bit more tedious. GreekTeX
also seems to be the more suitable Greek TeX package for the New Font
Selection Scheme (NFSS) and the upcoming LaTeX version 3.0.

For those who are interested, Moschovakis' "greektex" is available by
FTP from

math.ucla.edu ( [original site],
directory: pub/moschovakis/greektex

and in all CTAN sites (these sites are listed at the beginning of this
note) in the directory:


Dryllerakis' GreekTeX is available from

laotzu.doc.ic.ac.uk ( [original site],
directory: public/tex

and in all CTAN sites in the directory:


It is worth to add at this point that each Greek TeX package takes
about 2 Mb of space on the hard disk of my PC. This includes
documentation files, files with macros, format files, ".tfm" font files
and ".pk" font files for a HP Laserjet printer.

Contacting the Greek TeX community

Most of the fonts, macros, and packages that were described in the
previous paragraphs have been created by people who have showed much
enthusiasm on typesetting Greek by TeX, but without any intention of
making money out of this story. Their work is available to the public
at no-charge, but it can not be guaranteed that it is error-free or
that everything will be OK under any TeXing circumstances. Sometimes,
you may have to do a bit of hacking and, if like me you are not a
TeXnician, you may find yourself often frustrated.

Thus, in the case you face problems with typesetting Greek with TeX,
but also if you have new ideas about this subject, you should join the
ELLHNIKA mailing list. To do this, just send a message to
LISTSERV@DHDURZ1.BITNET by e-mail. This message must contain only
one line in its body:

SUBSCRIBE ELLHNIKA <your 1st name> <your last name>

The list has currently about 80 subscribers with Yannis Haralambous
being the list owner. Once you are a subscriber to this list, you may
send your questions, your problems, or your ideas to
ELLHNIKA@DHDURZ1.BITNET. Ultimately, you may also post your problem or

Posted for 1st time: Feb. 6, 1993
Revised (abridged): May 2, 1993
Revised (abridged): May 8, 1993
Revised (abridged): Feb. 3, 1994


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