How to enter Greek characters

  • In Word, to get the Greek capital sigma (say), I can type alt-920 on the numeric keypad. I can copy the character from Word and paste it into NPP and it shows up correctly. However if I type alt-920 in NPP I get a y with two dots (umlaut?). Is there a way I can use the numeric keypad to generate capital sigma and other Greek letters directly in NPP?

  • I could not replicate your ALT+920 results in Word 2016.

    Σ is U+03A3 (decimal 931), which can be typed in most windows apps (including Notepad++) as ALT-(+03a3) or ALT-(+3a3): hold down ALT, and press + then 03a3, with or without the leading 0. See more at

    Assuming the notation worked for numbers greater than 255, ALT-920 should have been U+0398, which is Θ (Theta), not Σ (Sigma).

    Without the plus, Windows (often? in my experience, always, but I don’t have infinite experience) interprets the digits after the ALT as an 8bit unsigned CHAR number, so if you type a number greater than 255, windows subtracts 256 until the number is below 256 (technically, it’s either modulus 256, or bitwise-AND with 255; multiple subtractions would be slow). Since 920dec = 398hex (398h or 0x398), which when ANDed with 255dec=0xFF results in 0x98 = 152dec. The character at Extended ASCII 152 (0x98) is ÿ; however, in unicode, it’s U+00FF (255dec) = “LATIN SMALL LETTER Y WITH DIAERESIS”, which shows you can type as ALT-152=ÿ (old-style Extended ASCII notation), ALT-0255=ÿ (new-style unicode decimal notation), or ALT-+00FF=ÿ (new-style unicode hexadecimal notation).

    The Windows charmap.exe utility (WIN+R charmap.exe) with it’s Character Set: Unicode > Group By: Unicode Subrange, is helpful for looking through all the unicode characters available in your given font. is helpful for searching for a Unicode character by name, and finding out what fonts support it, how to type it in Windows, or how to encode it in your favorite programming language.

  • First, apologies: Alt-920 yields capital theta in Word as you said, not capital sigma. This works as well in the non-Microsoft rtf program, Jarta. In NPP, however it gives the “Latin small letter y with diaersis” as you commented. ALT-(+3a3) doesn’t work for me in NPP. I went to the fileformat link you suggested and found that I can get sigma in NPP using ALT-228. But ALT-228 doesn’t work in Word or Jarta. Strange why it’s so application-dependent. Anyway, I now know what to do - thanks!

  • Wikipedia::Alt Code gives some history on the techniques.

    It should be noted that the + (and sometimes the numbers) in the ALT-(+3a3) sequence need to be on the numeric keypad.

    Oh, right, I’d also forgotten that Registry Key HKCU\Control Panel\Input Method\ value EnableHexNumpad must be set to 1 (create it as a String Value (REG_SZ)). After setting that and rebooting (or at least logging in), the ±sequences for unicode should work.

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