Friday, December 26, 2014

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts for the Math Teacher

Have you ever wanted to put a math symbol into the math worksheet you are making, but don't want to go to all the trouble of using Math Type or Equation Editor?

I can't tell you the number of times I wanted to put π into a geometry worksheet and I was so frustrated that I was going to have to open Equation Editor or insert a symbol.  Ugh…Word makes things so difficult!  Usually what I ended up doing was handwriting it in and then inevitably I would end up forgetting to put it somewhere I needed it!

Then I discovered that there are symbols that I can insert using the KEYBOARD!!!  I am using a mac, so I am not sure if this will work on the PC, but Mac users REJOICE!

Here are some often used symbols and the Mac Key Combination that will allow you to type the symbol immediately:

˚   - alt k makes the degree symbol

π - alt p makes the pi symbol

√ - alt v makes the radical symbol

∫ - alt b makes the integral symbol

µ - alt m makes the letter mu

∞ - alt 5 makes the infinity symbol

÷ - alt forward slash makes the division sign

Sometimes there are different symbols that can be made if you hold down the shift key at the same time as the alt key.

Other key combinations will make other letters of the Greek alphabet.

Experiment on you own and let me know if you find any other interesting combinations that will help you!


  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard. Then check the box beside "Show Keyboard & Character Viewer in Menu Bar". This will place a small icon that looks similar to a calculator onto your menu bar at the top of your screen. Click on the icon and choose "Show Character Viewer". This will allow you to drag and drop tons of math symbols as well as other special symbols and characters into any place in which you are typing. As a Geometry teacher, I use this ∠ symbol and ≅symbol daily! Our school has gone 1:1 this year with each student having their own MacBook Air. This has been a LIFESAVER for all of us!

  2. This is an awesome tip - thank you!