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How To Superscript and Subscript in Google Docs

June 10, 2019

Most people will agree that it can be frustrating to work with numbers while using a word processor.

Luckily, it is simple to insert a superscript or subscript in Google Docs and there are multiple ways to go about it. Superscript, which looks likethis is when a certain word, letter, or symbol is displayed above the rest of the line. On the contrary, subscripts are viewed likethis and displays the text below the rest of the line. Either way, you might want to double space your Google Doc now to give them both some breathing room.

In this particular guide, I will be covering three ways to do both superscript and subscript in Google Docs.

Superscript and subscript in Google Docs

Remember in math class you would hear your teacher say the “to the power of”? Well, superscripts, also known as exponents, are how you express the “power.”

Need a shortcut? I’ve provided one below:

If you’re more of a visual learner, follow this step-by-step guide with visuals:

Using the toolbar

This first, and most basic, approach to adding a superscript involves using the toolbar at the top of your document.

1. Highlight the part of your text to be superscripted

To start, highlight the text by dragging your cursor over the section of your document that needs to be superscripted.

highlight text

2. Select “Format” on the toolbar

Next, go to the toolbar at the top of your page and click on the button labeled, “Format.” 

format

3. Select “Text” and choose “Superscript”

From there, a drop-down menu will appear on your screen. Find and click the button labeled “Text.”

Another pop-up menu will emerge. When it does, select the option for “Superscript.” Once you’ve completed those steps, you’ve successfully inserted a superscript! 

superscript

Tip: Looking for more ways to get the most out of this software? Learn how to make a graph in Google Sheets now!

Using the special characters chart

If you are in need of a special character superscript, then this is the method for you. Here is how to access these characters through the special characters chart.

1. Place your cursor where you need to insert the character

Start by placing your cursor at the spot within your document where you would like to insert a superscripted special character.

2. Find and click, “Insert” then choose, “Special Characters”

Locate the toolbar at the top of the page and click on the button labeled, “Insert.” A drop-down menu will appear on your screen with a list of insert options. From that list, click the button labeled, “Special Characters.”

special characters

3. Type in “Superscript” and choose your special character

Once you choose, “Special Characters” a pop-up chart will appear on the page. In the search box, type “Superscript” to access all of the related characters. To use a character, simply click on the icon and it will appear where your cursor is placed. 

special characters box

The methods that I exemplified above are all applicable to subscript in Google Docs, except for a few minor changes.

To start, here is a subscript shortcut:

Not satisfied with that explanation? Don't worry, here are two more methods for how to make a subscript in Google Docs:

Using the toolbar for subscript

This first way will follow the same process as inserting a superscript in Google Docs.

1. Highlight the text and click the “Format” button

To start, highlight the section of the text you need to subscript.

highlight text

From there, find and click the “Format” button located in the toolbar at the top of the page.

format

2. Choose, “Text” then select “Subscript”

Next, a drop-down menu will appear on your screen. From those menu options, choose “Text” and then click “Subscript.” After completing those steps, you’ve successfully inserted a subscript! 

subscript

Using the special characters chart for subscript

Similar to adding superscripts, there are situations where you may need to insert a subscript character that isn’t included in your keyboard. If this case applies to you, using the special characters chart is the appropriate method.

1. Place your cursor then click, “Insert” and “Special Characters”

To start, locate the part of your document where you would like to insert a subscripted special character. Place your cursor and then find the “Insert” button within the toolbar. Next, a drop-down menu will appear. Choose “Special Characters.”

special characters

2. Type in “Subscript” and choose a special character

After selecting, “Special Characters,” a pop-up chart will appear on your screen. Use the search box in the top left hand corner and type in “Subscript.” Once you’ve found a character that matches your needs, click on the icon. A subscript character will be inserted wherever your cursor is located.

subscript box

Sub and superscript master

Whether you're working with formulas or are citing data, you will most likely need to insert a superscript or subscript. Google Docs makes it easy to do so by following a few simple steps.

Want to move on to the bigger picture... or bigger print? Learn how to add and remove headers in Google Docs

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