How To Add Superscript or Subscript in Google Docs

Whether you’re calculating the speed of light or writing a copyright claim, learning how to add superscripts and subscripts is a must. Luckily, you can rely on nifty keyboard shortcuts when it comes to Google Docs. The word processor is well-known for its user-friendly formatting features.

How To Add Superscript or Subscript in Google Docs

In this article, we’ll show you how to add superscript or subscript in Google Docs in just a few simple steps.

How to Do Superscript in Google Docs?

Firstly, what are Subscripts and Superscripts? These terms refer to characters that are comparably smaller than the standard text. The difference is the way they are positioned in relation to the type line.

Superscripts are pinned higher than the baseline, as hinted by the prefix super (Latin for above). Normally, you would find superscripts in mathematical equations and chemical formulas. Of course, their application is not limited to scientific research. We sometimes use superscripts for ordinal numbers, i.e. dates – 1st, 2nd, 3rd as opposed to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

There are also some abbreviations that require superscript characters. You’re probably best familiar with trademark TM and copyright © symbols.

All in all, knowing how and when to use superscripts is more important than you’d think. If you prefer Google’s processor to Microsoft Word, here’s how to do superscripts in Google Docs:

  1. Select the character you want to superscript.
  2. Click on “Format” on the menu bar above the document.
  3. Click on “Text,” the first option on the list.
  4. On the right-hand side, you will find text-formatting options. Choose “Superscript.”

The text you selected will now be pinned slightly above the type line. You can also superscript more than one character at a time, although that’s not that common.

Another way to add superscript in Google Docs is through the Special Character feature. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Select where you want the character to be inserted.
  2. Click on “Insert” on the menu bar above the document.
  3. Find “Special Characters” and open the window.
  4. Type in “Superscript” in the search bar.
  5. Choose the character you need for your text.

The Special Characters feature offers an overview of the most commonly used superscript characters. If you don’t have a habit of adding superscripts to your text, this method will work nicely for you.

The Easy Way to Do Superscript in Google Docs?

Put simply, the easy way to do superscripts in Google Docs is by using Keyboard shortcuts. You can pretty much format the entire text by pushing a few buttons. It’s probably one of the best features of Google Docs.

If you’re not familiar with Keyboard shortcuts, Google Docs offers a comprehensive list. Here’s how to open it:

  1. Hold CTRL + / if you’re a Windows or Google OC user. In case you own a MAC laptop, press ⌘ + / to access the list.
  2. Once the list has appeared, find the section called “Text Formatting.”
  3. Scroll down to find “Superscript.”
  4. On the right-hand side, you’ll see the shortcut.

Once you’ve memorized the shortcut, you can now test it on your keyboard. If you’re a Windows or Google OC user, select the text you want to superscript and hold CTRL +. at the same time. For those of you who own MACs, just press ⌘ +. on your keyboard until the selected character is superscripted.

In case your keyboard isn’t responding, you might have to take certain measures. This usually means your keyboard drivers need an update.

Here’s how you can try and fix it if you’re a Windows 10 user:

  1. Go to “Device Manager.”
  2. Find “Keyboards” and click to expand.
  3. Right-click on “Standard PS/2 Keyboard” to open a drop menu.
  4. Select the option to “Uninstall,” then “OK.”
  5. After you’ve uninstalled the drivers, restart your computer.
  6. Reopen “Device Manager.”
  7. Click “Action” and then “Scan for hardware changes.”
  8. Reinstall your keyboard drivers.
  9. Restart the computer once more.

Once your computer’s restarted, try the superscript shortcut again. If this doesn’t work, you’ll probably have to run Troubleshooter to find out what’s wrong.

If your MAC keyboard isn’t responding, here’s how to identify the problem:

  1. Go to the Apple menu and click “System Preferences.”
  2. Go to “Keyboard.”
  3. Select “Shortcuts.”
  4. Find the superscript shortcut. If it’s marked with a yellow warning sign, it’s not supported on the MAC keyboard.
  5. Click the shortcut to adjust it to macOS keyboard shortcuts.

How to Subscript in Google Docs?

As the name suggests, subscripts are characters positioned below or at the standard type line. The Latin translation for the word sub is “below” or “under.” You can usually spot them in scientific texts as parts of chemical compounds and mathematical functions. For example, the molecular formula for water (H20) requires using a subscript.

Of course, subscripts are not limited to isotopes and equations. The second most widespread application of these characters is in computer science. The characters are used to represent the value of certain number systems, such as the binary and the hexadecimal system.

A more practical use for subscripts is abbreviation. You’ve probably come across the following in formal correspondence:   ℁ (meaning “addressed to the subject”) or ℀ (meaning account of).

Subscript are also convenient for depicting percentages (%) and per mile (‰).

Naturally, Google Docs includes subscripts in their text formatting. It’s very much like adding superscript, so be careful not to mix them up. Here’s how to subscript in Google Docs:

  1. Choose where in the text you want to subscript.
  2. Click on “Format” on the upper menu bar.
  3. Click on “Text.”
  4. Choose “Subscript” from text-formatting options on the right-hand side.

When it comes to formatting entire lines of text, subscript works well for adding comments. This can come in handy if you’re working on a group project.

Keyboard shortcuts for subscript also exist. You can find them on the Google Docs list. Here’s a reminder:

  1. Hold CTRL + / if your own Windows 10 or Google OC. For Apple keyboards, press ⌘ + / to access the list.
  2. Find the “Text Formatting” section on the list.
  3. Look for “Subscript.”
  4. Read the shortcut.

Type the shortcut into your keyboard, and if it doesn’t work, go back to the previous section of our article (The Easy Way to Do Superscript in Google Docs).

Additional FAQs

When and Why We Need Superscript and Subscript in Google Sheets

We’ve already covered the widespread application of superscript and subscript characters. Apart from math, chemistry, and computer science, they also have a very practical use.

Google Docs has made it super easy to add subscripts to your text with its helpful Keyboard shortcuts. As for Google Sheets, the app doesn’t have that feature yet.

However, when and why we need superscript and subscript in Google Sheets is another matter. Many people have to include fractions, percentages, or even degrees (°C) in their spreadsheets. If you need to add subscript or superscript characters to your Google Sheets, there are two ways to do it. Firstly, by using Unicode Symbols:

1. Open Browser.

2. Search for “Unicode Symbols.” The results will show online databases of Unicode characters.

3. Click on one of the websites. The most popular sites for Unicode Symbols are and respectively.

4. Type in “Superscript” or Subscript” in the search bar of your chosen website.

5. Copy the character you need, and paste it into your document.

The other way to do it is by installing a third-party add-on to your Browser. For example, the Subscript Generator and Superscript Generator, have a wide selection of both subscript and superscript characters. It’s more than enough for the average user.

Here’s how to use them:

1. Go to Subscript/Superscript Generator, depending on what character you need.

2. Type the number, letter, or symbol you need in the box on the left-hand side.

3. The subscript or superscript version of the character will appear in the box to the right.

4. Copy the character and paste it into your text.

Unfortunately, as of now, these are the only ways to include superscript and subscript to your spreadsheet, since there’s no built-in feature.

As Above, So Below

Adding subscripts and superscripts to Google Docs is quick and painless thanks to the amazing Text Formatting options. Keyboard shortcuts are also an excellent addition to the already user-friendly Google Docs features.

The great thing about learning how to include superscripts is that subsequently, you know how to add subscripts as well. When it comes to implementing the characters to your text, it’s as above, so below.

Did you know about the shortcuts for subscripts and superscripts? What do you think about Text Formatting features in Google Docs? Comment below if you know another way to use subscript and superscript characters.

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