Looking to use lambda in a mathematical expression, or for coding with elegance perhaps? Find out here **how to insert lambda characters (Λ, λ and more) on a Mac** using keyboard text replacement and the emoji panel.

## First, the Number 𝝠

The Romans famously used letters to write their numbers and to do the math that could muster. So did the Greeks.

To depict the numbers, the Ancient Greeks made use of all the letters in their alphabet, though—and three otherwise obscure ones to boot—with the Milesian or Ionic numerals.

To begin, let’s find out how to write the number 30:

## How to Type Lambda ( λ ) on a Mac Keyboard

### Using Character Viewer or the Emoji Panel

Time needed: 2 minutes

To type the Greek letters uppercase lambda and lowercase lambda using a Mac keyboard and the macOS emoji panel:

**Position the text cursor where you want to insert the symbol for the letter lambda.****Press**`🌐︎`or`Fn``E`.**Using the menu**: You can also select*Edit | Emoji & Symbols*from the menu.**Type**`lamda`

or`greek letter lamda`

in the*Search*field.**No “Search”**: If you do not see the*Search*field initially, scroll down to reveal it.

“Lamda”: Do spell lambda as “lamda” (as used with Unicode for the character) for this search.**Click the desired lambda character to insert it.****Using the keyboard**: You can use the arrow keys to highlight the character, then press`Enter`to insert it.**Maths**: Unicode includes many lambda variants for use in mathematical notation; you will find these with a search for just “lamda”.**Coding**: For lambda functions (such as in the average-damping example from*Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs*below), use the minuscule λ.

### Using Text Replacement

To input lambda characters using the keyboard alone using text replacement on a Mac:

- Set up a key combination to expand to the desired lambda character; see below.
- Type the designated char combination where you want to input lambda.
- Follow up with a whitespace character or punctuation mark to complete inserting the letter lambda.

To set up a key combination for inserting lambda on a Mac:

- Open System Settings.
- Go to the
*Keyboard*category. - Select
*Text Replacement…*under*Text Input*. - Click
*+*. - Type the character sequence you want to use for entering the lambda character under
*Replace*.**Example**: Use`llbd`

for minuscule lambda, for instance. - Enter the desired letter lambda under
*With*using the emoji panel (see above) or copying and pasting (see below). - Click
*Add*. - Now click
*Done*.

## How to Type Lambda ( λ ) on a Mac Keyboard: FAQ

### Can I type the lambda symbol with the keyboard alone?

Yes, using the Greek keyboard layout.

To type the Greek letters directly using the keyboard on a Mac:

- Add the Greek keyboard layout as an input source to macOS.
- Switch to the Greek keyboard, if but temporarily.
- Press
`Λ`(L on a US-English keyboard) for`λ`(lowercase lambda) and`Shift``Λ`for Λ (uppercase lambda).

Other keyboards layouts (notably the US-English one) do not include combinations for entering the letters lambda directly.

### Can I also copy and paste the lambda character?

Yes.

Use the tables below to copy either the standard lambda characters or those designed for use in mathematical equations:

Uppercase Greek lambda `Λ` | |

Lowercase Greek lambda `λ` |

Mathematical bold capital lambda
`𝚲`
| |

Mathematical bold italic capital lambda
`𝜦`
| |

Mathermatical bold lowercase lambda
`𝛌`
| |

Mathermatical bold italic lowercase lambda
`𝝀`
| |

Mathermatical italic capital lambda
`𝛬`
| |

Mathermatical italic lowercase lambda
`𝜆`
| |

Mathematical sans-serif bold capital lambda `𝝠` | |

Mathematical sans-serif bold italic capital lambda `𝞚` | |

Mathematical sans-serif bold lowercase lambda `𝝺` | |

Mathematical sans-serif bold italic lowercase lambda `𝞴` |

*(How to type lambda on a Mac keyboard tested with macOS Sequoia 15.0; first published September 2024)*