How to Make a Delta Symbol

Written by marisa swanson
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How to Make a Delta Symbol
Use a protractor to make a proper triangle your first time. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The Delta symbol is derived from ancient Greek and used today in mathematics and physics applications. There is an upper case and lower case symbol for delta. Both symbols have different meanings. The upper case delta is essentially an equilateral triangle with its two diagonal sides upright to form the top of the triangle. The upper case, triangle delta is most recognised. In basic geometry and algebra, it is used to denote the difference between two values. The lower case delta is used most notably in calculus to denote very small changes in variables. To make the delta symbol yourself is simple.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Protractor

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    Upper case Delta

  1. 1

    Place your protractor on a blank sheet of paper. Trace a straight line from the bottom of the protractor. This will be the bottom of your triangle.

  2. 2

    Draw a line from the left side of your triangle that is at a 45 degree angle. Place the protractor down in its original position. Note the 45 degree mark on the protractor and mark it on your paper with a pencil.

    Draw a line from the left end of your line through the 45 degree mark on your sheet of paper. Use the protractor as a straight edge to make sure the line is straight. When you are done, the line will be the left side of your triangle.

  3. 3

    Draw the remaining side of your triangle. Using the protractor as a straight edge, draw a line that is connected from the right end of the bottom of your triangle, up to meet the top of the right side of your triangle.

  4. 4

    View your triangle and draw freehand. You have drawn a proper triangle. Delta symbols don't need to be perfectly angled, as long as they are clearly in a triangle shape. Practice drawing triangles free hand without a protractor. The delta symbol is always drawn the same size as the numbers or other symbols its referring to. Practice drawing your triangles in small font sizes, to match small numbers and letters.

    Lower case Delta

  1. 1

    Draw a capital letter "S." The lower case delta symbol looks vaguely like the English lower case "d." The difference is the vertical line in "d" is curved.

  2. 2

    Close the bottom of the "S" so it is a complete circle. This essentially the shape of your lower case delta. It only needs to be slightly modified to resemble the exact symbol.

  3. 3

    Draw the lower case delta symbol based on your closed capital letter "S". In the lower case delta, the bottom circle is slightly elongated, resembling an oval standing upright. Modify the bottom by erasing it and making it a small oval. Modify the top of the symbol by erasing the very end of the "S". The lower case delta does not extend as far South.

  4. 4

    Practice drawing the delta symbol by drawing the modified capital "S" outlined in Steps 1 to 3. Like the upper case delta, the lower case is often drawn on a small scale to match the size of numbers and other letters in the equation. Once you've got your lower case delta symbol down, practice drawing it in small sizes.

Tips and warnings

  • The right side of the upper case delta triangle is slightly thicker than the left side. However, this rarely translates to written upper case delta notation. If you choose, you may thicken the line of the right side of the triangle.

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