# Greek in XeTeX

25 Mar 09

To write in Greek in XƎTeX is actually quite simple, especially if you use a font that contains all the characters needed to write in English (or whichever languages you use) and in Greek (like Gentium, Cardo, etc.). To type in Greek. The following instructions are specific for the Mac. If you use XƎTeX on Windows or LinuxLes you just need to adapt the commands for choosing fonts to your environment. These instructions also apply to working with Greek from other periods or other ancient or other non latin languages, provided you use the appropriate font.

To type in Greek:

• load the appropriate keyboard (see the instructions for your operating system or the Tyndale Unicode Font Kit. I simply use the Polytonic Greek keyboard on Leopard.
• select the font you use to write in Greek (If you use a unicode font that contains the characters you need you do not even need to change font. For example Cardo, Gentium, Adobe Garamond Premier Pro, etc., contain most Greek characters you will need.)
• start typing
• that’s it!

If you want to avoid typing the Greek text, you can simply copy the text you need from a unicode source (I use Accordance or the TLG).

If you use a different font for typing Greek text, simply define a little shortcut in the preamble and use it whenever you need to type in Greek. For example, in the sample file to download I indicated several shortcuts for different fonts (car, gar, kad, old) with the command similar to this one to use SBL Greek

\newfontfamily{\sbl}{SBL Greek}

To switch to that font I would insert the Greek text between brackets preceded by \sbl as in the following example:

I switch to Greek {\sbl Ἦν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν} and back to English

That’s about it. You can use several parameters with the \newfontfamily command but I'll keep it simple for this post. For the rest, you can use all the usual other formatting commands (quotation, verse, tables, etc.). The XƎTeX and LaTeX forums will give indications on hyphenating Greek texts and other typesetting commands.

The dowloadable file include a comparison of Romans 1:16‒17 in different fonts.

I would also need to talk about the possibilities offered by polyglossia, which is replacing babel in XƎTeX, but that will be for another time.

Very geeky. It works on Firefox alrite

Hello there, I'm having problems reading your site in the Maxthon browser (the text is barely readable). I've tried raising the font size in the browser display options but that didn't really help much. Any tips on what I can do? (Oh, and if it helps, I'm using Windows XP)

Hey,

I have not tested the site on Maxthon, but I did try it on Explorer and Firefox in XP and Windows 7 and it looked fine. Since I have never tried Maxthon, I am not sure what to suggest.