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Mathematica includes some custom fonts that allow you to use a wide range of mathematical symbols in output. For example, one can write:

testdata = FoldList[0.99 #1 + #2 &, 0., 
 RandomVariate[StableDistribution[1, 1.3, 1, 0, 0.5], 100]]
version1 = ListLinePlot[testdata, 
 PlotLabel -> "Shocks are StableDistribution, \[Beta]=1"]

The resulting graphic will show a nice beta ($\beta$) in the plot label, and the Mathematica-specific font will embed correctly in a PDF file, for example.

enter image description here

That's fine if your target format is PDF, or if the other users of the graphic have the Mathematica fonts installed. But what if you want to include the graphic in a PowerPoint for Windows files, and therefore need to use WMF or EMF format, but you can't guarantee that the viewers of the PowerPoint file have the Mathematica fonts installed? Is there a way to use the ubiquitous Symbol font instead?

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The answer is, yes!

While there no doubt would be tricky ways to connect differently formatted text strings bound together, using Row or similar, it turns out that isn't necessary.

It is possible to change the font of particular characters in a string using the normal font-selection menus! In the example here, just type a "b", select it, and choose Symbol font from the relevant menu.

enter image description here

The exported graphic will show the Symbol font character correctly in either PDF or WMF/EMF formats (but not italics in PDF).

enter image description here

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I'd like to point out that you should use this trick on innocently looking characters as the parenthesis set. Although in the ASCII set, mma replaces them with its own custom characters leading to sometimes very unpleasant surprises during presentations. – Sjoerd C. de Vries Aug 5 '12 at 8:08
@SjoerdC.deVries - you can avoid these problems with SetOptions[Graphics,BaseStyle -> {PrivateFontOptions -> {"OperatorSubstitution" -> False}} . I am sure I had another question that covered this but I can't seem to find ti. – Verbeia Aug 5 '12 at 9:36
Yeah, I saw this before but I thought this would be a better/easier to remember solution. – Sjoerd C. de Vries Aug 5 '12 at 9:39
@SjoerdC.deVries the difference is that SetOptions works for all characters that would otherwise be substituted (parentheses, +, - etc) without you needing to know which ones are substituted, and you don't have to change fonts by hand every time. But my Q&A pair is a nice hack for those times you need a Greek letter or an unusual symbol. – Verbeia Aug 5 '12 at 9:41

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