Apply Superscript or Subscript in Microsoft Word (3 Ways)

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated January 10, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can apply superscript or subscript in Microsoft Word using keyboard shortcuts, buttons on the Ribbon or the Font dialog box. If you apply superscript, the selected letter, number or symbol will be raised slightly above the line of text and sized to a smaller size. If you apply subscript, the selection will be lowered slightly below the line of text and sized to a smaller size.

Certain features in Word, such as footnotes, automatically create superscripted characters.

It’s common to use superscript or subscript for:

  • Symbols such as trademark or copyright symbols
  • Mathematical equations
  • Chemical formulas
  • Footnote characters or numbers

In the sample below, superscript has been applied to the registered trademark symbol:

XYZ Manufacturing Ltd. ®

Recommended article: 3 Strikethrough Shortcuts in Microsoft Word

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1. Applying or removing superscript or subscript using a keyboard shortcut

To apply superscript or subscript using a keyboard shortcut:

  1. Select the text character, number or symbol to which you want to apply superscript or subscript.
  2. To apply superscript, press Ctrl + Shift + equal sign (=). To apply subscript, press Ctrl + equal sign (=).

Note: We’re using the equal sign at the top of the keyboard.

To remove or turn off superscript or subscript using a keyboard shortcut:

  1. Select the text, number or symbol with superscript or subscript you want to remove.
  2. To remove superscript, press Ctrl + Shift + equal sign (=). To remove subscript, press Ctrl + equal sign (=).

2. Applying or removing superscript or subscript using buttons in the Ribbon

In Word (not PowerPoint), there are buttons in the Ribbon for superscript and subscript.

To apply superscript or subscript using buttons in the Ribbon:

  1. Select the text character, number or symbol to which you want to apply superscript or subscript.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Superscript or Subscript in the Font group (X buttons).

Below are the buttons in the Font group in Word (note the X buttons):

Superscript and subscript buttons in the Font group on the Home tab in Word.

To remove superscript or subscript using buttons in the Ribbon:

  1. Select the text, number or symbol with superscript or subscript you want to remove.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Superscript or Subscript in the Font group.

3. Applying or removing superscript or subscript using the Font dialog box

Since superscript and subscript are character formats that can be applied to text or a symbol, the most common way to apply them is to use the Font dialog box. You can select or deselect check boxes to apply or remove superscript or subscript.

To apply superscript or subscript:

  1. Select the text character, number or symbol to which you want to apply superscript or subscript.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click the dialog box launcher on the bottom right of the Font group (corner button). Alternatively, press Ctrl + D. A dialog box appears.
  4. Select the Superscript or Subscript check box or press Alt + the underlined character.
  5. Click OK or press Enter.

Below is the Font dialog box in Microsoft Word:

Superscript and subscript commands in the Font dialog box in Word.

To remove or turn off superscript or subscript:

  1. Select the text, number or symbol with superscript or subscript you want to remove.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click the dialog box launcher on the bottom right of the Font group (corner button). Alternatively, press Ctrl + D. A dialog box appears.
  4. Select the Superscript or Subscript check box to deselect it.
  5. Click OK or press Enter.

The benefit of using the keyboard shortcut method is the keyboard shortcuts are the same in other programs.

This article was first published on September 9, 2020 and has been updated for clarity and content.

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Summary
How to Superscript or Subscript in Word (with Shortcuts)
Article Name
How to Superscript or Subscript in Word (with Shortcuts)
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You can apply superscript or subscript in Microsoft Word using keyboard shortcuts, buttons on the Ribbon or the Font dialog box. If you apply superscript, the selected letter, number or symbol will be raised slightly above the line of text and sized to a smaller size. If you apply subscript, the selection will be lowered slightly below the line of text and sized to a smaller size.
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Avantix Learning

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