Babel support for Greek


This work may be distributed and/or modified under the conditions of the LaTeX Project Public License, either version 1.3 of this license or any later version.


Babel-greek is a contributed package providing support for the Greek language and script via the Babel system.

In 1997, Apostolos Syropoulos added support for the Greek language to the “babel” package. The file greek.ldf provides options for monotonic (single-diacritic) and polytonic (multiple-diacritic) modes of writing.

There is now experimental support for Unicode-aware TeX engines (XeTeX/LuaTeX).




New maintainer.


The encoding definition file lgrenc.def moved to the greek-fontenc package.



bugfixes and cleanup,


LICR macros in string definitions,


LGR font encoding not used with XeTeX/LuaTeX,


input “xgreek-fixes.def” from polyglossia with Xe/LuaTeX.



Fix LaTeX bugs babel/3707, babel/4303 and babel/4305



Experimental support for XeTeX/LuaTeX.



CB-Fonts font definition files moved to CB-Fonts package.


Do not auto-load euenc.def with XeTeX/LuaTeX.



Fix bug babel/4360: spurious \fi.



bugfix: correct upcasing of babel strings with Xe/LuaTeX.



Rename greek.dtx to babel-greek so that texdoc shows the right documentation.


Compatibility with Xe/LuaTeX in Unicode and 8-bit mode.



Set \encodingdefault in \greekscript to fix Greek in footnotes etc. with document language Greek.


The “babel-greek” package requires the babel base package and parts of the greek-fontenc package. The greek-inputenc package is recommended when using 8-bit TeX engines.

Use with XeTeX/LuaTeX requires also xgreek-fixes.def from polyglossia for correct up/downcasing.

Typesetting Greek texts requires Greek text fonts.

Plain TeX is currently not supported. Patches are welcome.


If possible, get this package from your distribution using its installation manager.

Otherwise, make sure LaTeX can find the required files:


Pass the “greek” option to babel:


For polytonic Greek, set the language attribute “polutoniko”:


With XeTeX/LuaTeX, load fontspec before babel, so that babel-greek can set up the Unicode font encoding for use with Greek, e.g.

\setmainfont{Linux Libertine O}
\setsansfont{Linux Biolinum O}

For details see babel-greek.pdf and the babel documentation.

Literal input of Greek characters is possible with the greek-inputenc package or with XeTeX or LuaTeX. For the Latin transliteration provided by the LGR font encoding see usage.pdf and the example files provided with greek-fontenc.

Greek text fonts

A list of Greek text fonts for use with LaTeX is available at the CTAN

With the XeTeX or LuaTeX engines, the user should ensure that the chosen font contains the required glyphs (the default Latin Modern fonts miss them). Examples for suitable fonts are the CM-unicode or the Linux Libertine OpenType fonts as well as any system-wide installed OTF fonts that support Greek (e.g. Deja Vu).

The LGR font encoding is the de-facto standard for typesetting Greek with 8-bit LaTeX. Fonts in this encoding include the CB fonts (matching CM), grtimes (Greek Times), Kerkis (matching URW Bookman), and the GFS font collection. Setup of these fonts as Greek variant to matching Latin fonts is facilitated by the substitutefont package.

The LGR font encoding generates Greek characters via an ASCII transliteration. This enables simple input with a Latin keyboard. Characters with diacritics are selected by ligature definitions in the font (see usage.pdf).

A major drawback of this transliteration is, that you cannot access Latin letters if LGR is the active font encoding (e.g. in documents or parts of documents given the Babel language greek or polutionikogreek). This means that for every Latin-written word or acronym an explicit language-switch is required. This problem can only be solved via a font-encoding comprising both Latin and Greek like the hypothetical T7 or Unicode (with XeTeX or LuaTeX).