How to Do Superscript and Subscript in Word

Holly Hunt
Holly Hunt  |  November 28, 2018

If you're writing a paper involving equations or scientific formulas, chances are you're going to need superscripts and subscripts.

And for something so small in size, these can be a major pain in the butt.

Once you know how to add a superscript and subscript in Microsoft Word, it will make your work flow so much faster. Plus, it looks much more professional than the work-around options (for example, X^2).

I'll go over how to add superscripts first. You can jump to how to do subscripts if you're here to learn about those. 

Superscript in Word

A superscript is a character, symbol or number set slightly above the normal line of text. It is always smaller than the usual font and is typically found in mathematical or scientific formulas.

If you need a superscript in your Word document, here's how to go about it.

1. Place cursor where you want the superscript to go

Click where you'd like the superscript to appear. If you already typed what you want in the superscript, highlight that number, character or symbol. 

2. Click the X2 button

You can find the superscript button on the 'Home' tab. It's located near all the font options.

superscript-in-word

Or you can use the keyboard shortcut: press Ctrl and Shift, then hit +. 

3. Type your superscript

Type whatever you want to be included in your superscript. It should immediately be set above the normal text line and be smaller.

Tip: If the symbol or character you want to include isn't found on the keyboard, go to the 'Insert' tab and select the 'Advanced Symbols' button. You can find any symbol you need in there. 

how-to-superscript-in-word

4. Exit out of superscript

If you keep typing, everything will remain in the superscript. To get out of that mode, click on the superscript button again (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift++ again). Now you should be able to type normally. 

Subscript in Word

A subscript is a character, symbol or number set slightly below the normal line of text. It is always smaller than the usual font and is typically found in mathematical or scientific formulas.

If you need a subscript in you Word document, here's how to do it. 

1. Place cursor where you want the subscript to go

Click where you'd like the subscript to appear. If you already typed what you want in the superscript, highlight that number, character or symbol. 

2. Click the Xbutton

You can find the subscript button on the 'Home' tab. It's located near all the font options.

subscript-in-word

Or you can use the keyboard shortcut: press and hold Ctrl, then press =. 

3. Type your subscript

Type whatever you want to be included in your subscript. It should immediately be set above the normal text line and be smaller.

Tip: If the symbol or character you want to include isn't found on the keyboard, go to the 'Insert' tab and select the 'Advanced Symbols' button. You can find any symbol you need in there. 

how-to-type-subscript

4. Exit out of subscript

If you keep typing, everything will remain in the subscript. To get out of that mode, click on the subscript button again (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+= again). Now you should be able to type normally. 

Never let superscripts or subscripts slow you down again!

Now you can make your scientific paper look clean and professional — and save yourself precious time — with these superscript and subscript tips. 

Want more Word hacks for small things that can drive you insane? Check out how to create a hanging indent and how to start page numbers on page 2.

Holly Hunt
Author

Holly Hunt

An avid reader and writer, Holly graduated from the University of Missouri with a dual major in Journalism and English. Prior to joining G2 Crowd, she lived in Madison, WI, ate a horrifying amount of cheese curds, and then found her way to Chicago for a content writing gig. In her free time, Holly is eating ice cream and planning her next trip.