I need to create a capital Greek delta with a circumflex on top of it:

enter image description here

How do I do that in Word or any other text editor (on a Mac)?

The file will be mailed to a publisher, so the letter should appear the same on his computer (so the method should use some standard font).

Note: I do not want to create an image!


You can use Character Viewer to add a combining circumflex (U+0302) to your delta. You may need to experiment with fonts to see what looks best among the ones which are common to most computers. My TextEdit version with Helvetica below:

enter image description here

  • Thank you. Can you explain what you typed and in which order? I cannot get this to work. All I get are a circumflex and delta side by side: ^∆. – user28268 Jan 9 '15 at 14:55
  • Oh, works with Unicod Hex input: ̂∆. Edit: Ah, well, not here, obviously. – user28268 Jan 9 '15 at 14:59
  • ∆̂ <= Well, actually it does work here (at least with whatever font my browser uses to render this site). I just had the wrong order in my previous comment. Do ALT-k first, then switch to Unicode Hex Input, then hold down ALT and while you hold it down type 0302. It looks dispaced in the comment textarea, but once you save, it displays fine. – user28268 Jan 10 '15 at 14:07
  • While using the "ABC - Extended" keyboard, pressing Shift-Option-6 places a circumflex (ˆ) over the preceding character, if that character can combine with that mark. It's easy to remember because ^ appears above the 6 on its key (on my US keyboard). Once I have the "∆" character by typing or pasting it, pressing Shift-Option-6 immediately after it produces "∆̂". For fun, try these: ∆̀ ∆́ ∆̈ ∆̃ – L S Jul 25 '17 at 17:25

Delta with circumflex has not been coded as a single character (precomposed character), so at the character level the only option is to use the letter delta followed by U+0302 COMBINING CIRCUMFLEX ACCENT, as @TomGewecke suggests.

The font issue is tricky. First, there are literally no standard fonts in the sense that some fonts would be available on all platforms. To begin with, Android devices have their own limited repertoire of fonts, which do not exist on other platforms (unless installed separately). Second, in most fonts this combination is rendered in an awful way. This may partly depend on rendering software, partly on font design.

Although Tom’s image shows a nice delta with circumflex, the Helvetica font is not installed in most computers of the world. Its Windows counterpart, has the circumflex badly misplaced. The following screenshot is from Win 7 version of Word 2007:

enter image description here

(Equation Tools have a construct for adding a circumflex, but as the image shows, it’s odd-looking. Besides, Equation Tools work only when creating a .docx file, and such files cannot be read by old versions of Word.)

In most fonts, the rendering is closer to the Arial problem than the Cambria rendering. So if I had to compose a Word document to be readable across platforms, I would use the Cambria font and save the document with font embedding enabled (Word settings, section Save; check the checkbox for including only the characters actually used, since otherwise you get a few extra megabytes in the file).

Your mileage may vary. Using Helvetica for this specific character, with font embedding, may be a feasible option. However, since the notation is essentially mathematical and since math texts are generally better rendered in serif fonts, I would look for a suitable serif font in the system.

  • On my Mac, I cannot get the circumflex to properly align in any font (including Cambria) in Word. In TextEdit I can align it in any font that I tried (except Cambria, where it is slightly off to the left). I guess my best option is to include a note, a high resolution image of the intended look, and an in-text placeholder, when I submit my manuscript, and leave the typesetting to the typesetter of the publisher. – user28268 Jan 10 '15 at 14:05
  • @what Cambria works fine on my Mac with Word 2011. Can you not submit PDF to your publisher? Fonts are embedded and it will look right. – Tom Gewecke Jan 10 '15 at 16:48
  • @jukka Where in Word for Mac can you enable font embedding? I think that is only possible in Windows. – Tom Gewecke Jan 11 '15 at 18:50

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