Is there a way to type lambda λ on a mac without switching the entire keyboard binding to Greek, as described here: How do you type Theta on a Mac?
What is your reason for not wanting to switch the entire keyboard binding to Greek? If your reason was just that switching by the menu is a bit cumbersome, then you could set up a keyboard shortcut instead, for very quick layout switching.
With this, it takes just three keystrokes to type a λ (or any other Greek letter). I frequently need to type isolated Greek letters within a mostly latin-alphabet setting (I’m a mathematician), and I find this setup very convenient
- Add a Greek keyboard layout to your input sources, under System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources:
- add a keyboard shortcut for switching to the most recently-used layout different from the current one, under System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Input Sources. I use Command ⌘+Option ⌥+Space, which doesn’t (iirc) conflict with any system default shortcuts:
- Now you can get a λ by typing ⌘+⌥+Space (switch the input layout to Greek);
l(actually produce the λ); ⌘+⌥+Space (switch back to whatever layout you were typing in before). And, as a bonus, the rest of the Greek alphabet is at your fingertips as well!
- Press Command ⌘+Control ⌃+Space.
- Type lamda into the search bar. Pay attention to type lamda instead of lambda.
- Your lamda should be there:
You might ask why it is spelt lamda not lambda.
The use of the spelling lamda derives from ISO 10646. This does not mean that it is more correct than lambda, merely that the spelling without the 'b' is the one used in the formal character names.
Here are two more links provided by Itai Ferber:
Here is a website about Mac keyboard shortcuts: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201236.
I use the Emojis and Symbols menu to plug in characters I can't type via the keyboard. Awkward, but it works. (PS - If you happen to be working in Microsoft Word, it's dead easy - in preferences, enable "Math Autocorrect" outside of math fields, then type \lambda to insert it.)
If you will be writing it often, I would recommend going to
System Preferences → Keyboard → Text and adding a new replace rule: Replace
If you have access to Vim/gVim (the editor, which seems to go by the MacVim name on Mac), go into INSERT mode, press Ctrl + k followed by * followed by l. A λ character will be produced.
Copy that into the clipboard and you're good to go.
You can do this for other Greek letters too, just replace l with a, b, c, d etc. You can also get upper case versions of those letters by just entering them as... upper case!
That applies to other Vim distributions as well.
If you are an owner of Alfred Powerpack (only £17), you can download this workflow to search and type in any symbols quickly. That's what I use whenever I need to quickly type in any unicode symbol on my mac.
Works like this :
Copy the λ character from the original post. Paste it wherever you want it ;)
Three one keystroke solutions:
Install Ukelele and make option-L produce lambda.
Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Text and check Correct spelling automatically. Then add a rule to replace the standard output of option-L (which is ¬) with λ.
Use Karabiner to do the same. (A bit more difficult.)