How to Display Exponents in Excel (7 Simple Methods)

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To display Exponents in Excel:

  1. Select a cell and change the Number Format to Text.
  2. Select the characters to display as exponents.
  3. Go to Home tab > Font group > Format Cells dialog box launcher.
  4. Check Superscript from Effects group and click OK.
  5. Press Enter.

Now you can see the base and the exponents.


Knowing how to display exponents is useful for improving data visualization and improving reports. This can be useful for scientific and financial reporting or to save space. It is beneficial when enhancing the readability of small or large numbers.

In this Excel tutorial, you will learn to display exponents in Excel.

Consider a dataset that contains data with Number and Power in 2 different columns. We have displayed the numbers with their corresponding exponents in the Number with Exponent column.

Overview of Displaying Exponents in Excel


What is Exponent?

Exponent is the number of times a number is multiplied by itself. It is denoted by a superscript, which is a small number to the top right of a number.

The general form of an exponentiation operation is: an

The expression an means multiplying the number a by itself n times.

Here,

  • a is the base,
  • n is the exponent.

For example,

  • means , which equals to 8.
  • 52 means 5, which equals to 25.

Exponents are used in various mathematical operations, including algebra, calculus, and scientific notation. The formula =23 would produce the result 8.


7 Ways to Display Exponent in Excel

You can display exponents in Excel using the Superscript effect, the Superscript button from the quick access toolbar, a Custom format, Insert Equation feature, keyboard shortcuts, Excel CHAR and UNICHAR functions, and Excel VBA.

Here are the 7 methods to display exponents in Excel:


Using Superscript Effect

The Superscript effect allows you to visually represent exponents without using additional functions or characters. Keep in mind that it doesn’t change the actual value in the cell; it only affects how the value is displayed.

To display exponents by applying the Superscript effect, follow the steps:

  1. Insert the values of Number and Power together in a new range.
    If the number is 2 and the power is 3, it would be 23.
    displaying exponents using superscript command
  2. Select the new range.
  3. Go to the Home tab > Number group > Number Format dropdown > Text.Implement Superscript Command to Show Exponents in Excel
  4. Double-click on the first cell and select only the Power characters.
  5. Right-click and select Format Cells.The Format Cells dialog box will appear.
  6. Go to Font tab > Superscript effect > OK.Implement Superscript Command to Show Exponents in Excel
  7. Press Enter and the exponent will be displayed in the first cell.
  8. Similarly, implement the same procedure in other cells to get the final output.Output of Implementing Superscript Command to Show Exponents in Excel

Read More: How to Type Exponential in Excel

Using Superscript Button from Quick Access Toolbar

When you need to display exponents multiple times, using the Superscript button is a good idea. But in Excel’s interface, the Superscript button is not included by default.

However, you can add it to the Quick Access Toolbar. Once added, you can quickly format text or numbers as superscripts.

To add the superscript button and use it to display exponents, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Customize Quick Access Toolbar dropdown > More Commands.
    quick access toolbar dropdownA dialog box named Customize the Quick Access Toolbar will pop up.
  2. Under Choose commands from option > Commands Not in the Ribbon > Superscript command > Add.
    adding superscript buttonThe Superscript command will be shown on the right side.
  3. Press OK.
     pressing OK to add superscript buttonNow, you can see the superscript icon on the Quick Access Toolbar.
    superscript button in quick access toolbar
  4. Select the power character and click on the Superscript button from the Quick Access Toolbar.
    Here, the selected cell should be in Text format.
    using superscript button
  5. The exponent will be displayed. Follow the same process for the rest of the cells.
    result of displaying exponent in Excel

Using Custom Format

The Custom format in Excel alters only the visual representation of numbers inside a cell. The value contained in a cell’s underlying location is not changed. It is not possible to alter or erase the original number format.

To use a custom format to show exponents, follow the steps below:

  1. Copy the Number range and paste it into a new range.copying values
  2. Select first cell in the new range and right-click.
  3. Select Format Cells.format cells option from context menuThe Format Cells dialog box appears.
  4. In the Format Cells dialog box:
    • Go to Category Custom.
    • Type 0 in the Type box.
    • Hold the Alt key and type 0179 for exponent 3, or 0178 for exponent 2, or 0185 for exponent 1.
    • You have to use numerical keys for this, otherwise, the number insertion may not work.
    • Click on OK.

    Demonstrate Exponents Employing Custom Format in Excel

  5. Repeat the same procedure for other cells to get the final result:using custom format to display exponent

Using Insert Equation Feature

The Insert Equation feature provides an advanced solution for crafting professional and well-formatted equations in Excel. However, it cannot be directly applied to a cell; instead, you can create the equation in a text box and manually place it within the cell.

The steps required for displaying exponents using the Insert Equation feature are given below:

  1. Go to the Insert tab > Symbols > Equation.select equation from insert tab
  2. Go to Script > Subscripts and Superscripts > Superscript.
    Display Exponents Using Equation OptionSubsequently, a box will appear to take inputs.
  3. Next, type the base Number and the Power.
    In this case, 2 and 3, respectively.Display Exponents Using Equation Option
  4. Then move the box to a cell.
  5. Similarly, use the same procedure for other cells.Output of Displaying Exponents Using Equation Option

Read More: How to Use Exponent Symbol in Excel

Using Keyboard Shortcut

Using Keyboard shortcuts allows you to show exponents without using any formulas. You can use exponents of 1, 2, and 3 using this method. You must hold the Alt key down for this.

Follow the instructions below to display exponents using a keyboard shortcut:

  1. Double-click a cell containing a number to enter edit mode.
  2. Hold the Alt key and using numerical keys, press any of the following keys:
    • To insert the exponent of 3 press 0179.
    • For inserting the exponent of 2 press 0178.
    • To insert the exponent of 1 press 0185.

    Display Power with Keyboard Shortcut

  3. Do the same for other numbers.Output of Displaying Power with Keyboard Shortcut

Note: If you don’t enter edit mode, the cell content will be replaced by the corresponding exponent.

Applying Excel Functions

The CHAR and UNICHAR functions can display exponents in Excel. These functions use ASCII and Unicode, respectively, to return characters.

Here are 2 methods to display exponents using Excel functions:

Method 1: Using CHAR Function

The CHAR function returns a character based on its ASCII code. Exponents are superscripts and are not available to input from the keyboard. In such cases, you can display the exponents based on the number you provided as ASCII code for the CHAR function argument.

To display exponents by applying the CHAR function, follow the steps:

  1. Select a cell.
  2. Insert the following formula: =B5&CHAR(179)
    Use ASCII codes 185, 178, and 179 for exponents 1, 2, and 3, respectively.
  3. Click on Enter.Insert Excel CHAR Function to Demonstrate Power
  4. Follow the same procedure for other cells.Output of Inserting Excel CHAR Function to Demonstrate Power

Method 2: Applying UNICHAR Function

Although the CHAR function is quite useful, it has a noticeable limitation. The CHAR function can return characters corresponding to ASCII codes from 1 to 255. As a result, it can’t display superscripts of more than 3.

In such cases, applying the UNICHAR function can be beneficial as it uses Unicode and can display superscripts beyond basic numerals 0-9. The UNICHAR function is supported in Excel 2013 and later versions.

To apply the UNICHAR function to display exponents, follow the steps:

  1. Select a cell.
  2. Insert the following formula:=B5&UNICHAR(8310)applying UNICHAR functionThis returns an exponent of 6. If the exponent contains multiple characters, you have to use multiple UNICHAR functions.
  3. For example, to get the exponent of 46 insert the following formula: =B6&UNICHAR(8308)&(UNICHAR(8310))
    Here, 8308 and 8310 refer to Unicode values for exponents of 4 and 6 respectively.

applying UNICHAR formula to display exponent

The following image displays the UNICHAR codes for corresponding superscripts:

UNICHAR supersccript codes

Read More: How to Make Exponent in Excel Text

Using VBA User Defined Function

Excel VBA offers a powerful and automated solution for displaying exponents. By utilizing VBA, users can create personalized scripts to effortlessly insert exponents into cells, streamlining the entire process and ensuring uniformity.

Using VBA to display exponents is particularly advantageous when working with extensive datasets, intricate calculations, or when repeated exponent formatting is required, as it saves both time and effort compared to manual interventions.

Follow the steps below to use VBA to display exponents in Excel:

  1. Go to the Developer tab > Visual Basic.
    Display Exponents Through Excel VBA
  2. Go to Insert Module.
  3. Insert the following code in the new module:
    Function DisplayExponent(base As String, exponent As String) As String
    Dim ch_arr() As String
    Dim uni_arr() As String
    
    ch_arr = Split("0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9", ",")
    uni_arr = Split("8304,185,178,179,8308,8309,8310,8311,8312,8313", ",")
    
    Dim m As Integer
    Dim n As Integer
    Dim final_result As String
    Dim exp_match As Integer
    Dim exp_string
    
    final_result = base
    
    For m = 1 To Len(exponent)
    exp_match = -1
    exp_string = Mid(exponent, m, 1)
    
    For n = LBound(ch_arr) To UBound(ch_arr)
    If ch_arr(n) = exp_string Then
    exp_match = n
    Exit For
    End If
    Next n
    
    If exp_match = -1 Then
    final_result = "Exponent not available"
    Exit For
    End If
    
    final_result = final_result & ChrW(uni_arr(exp_match))
    Next m
    
    DisplayExponent = final_result
    
    End Function
  4. Save the code by selecting the Save icon.save button in VBA module
  5. Select the cell where you want to display the exponent.
  6. Write the formula: =DisplayExponent(B5,C5)
    As a result, you’ll get the desired output.using VBA custom function

How to Display Exponents Using Scientific Notation in Excel

The Scientific format in Excel represents a number in exponential notation. It uses “E” to indicate the exponent. For example, 16785852123 is displayed as 1.67E+10, which means 1.67 multiplied by 10 raised to the 10th power.

To apply the scientific format to a number in Excel:

  1. Select the range you want to display as exponent.
  2. Go to the Home tab > Number group > Number Format drop-down.
    changing the number format
  3. In the list, choose Scientific.applying Scientific format All the selected numbers will be displayed as exponents now.applied scientific exponent
  4. Use the arrows in the Number group to specify the number of decimal places you want to display.changing decimal places

Notes:

  • Changing the Number Format does not change the actual value. You can see the actual value in the formula bar.
  • Excel has a precision limit of 15 digits, so very large numbers may be displayed differently in the formula bar.
  • To remove scientific notation for large numbers, set the Number Format to Number.

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Conclusion

This article has shown various methods to display exponents in Excel. Among all the methods, the Superscript effect method can display a single character or multiple characters as exponent. If you have any queries or feedback regarding this article, leave a query.


Frequently Asked Question

How to display exponents in Excel charts?

If you want to display exponents from source data in charts, you may get normal characters instead. This usually happens if the superscript in the dataset is inserted by enabling the Superscript effect from the Font tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

You can insert superscripts in the source data from the Symbol feature to get rid of this issue. Follow the steps:

  1. Select the cell > Insert tab > Symbols group > Symbol.
    Symbol dialog box will appear.
  2. Symbols tab > Subset Latin-1 Supplement.
  3. Select the superscript symbol from the dropdown and click on the Insert button.

How to display negative exponents?

You can display negative exponents by using the Superscript effect from the Format Cells dialog box. Follow the steps:

  1. Change the format of the cell to Text before writing the value with a negative exponent.
  2. Select the power with the negative sign.
    For example, if you write “2-1”, select the “-1” portion.
  3. Go to the Home tab > Font group > Format Cells dialog box launcher.
  4. Check Superscript from Effects group and click OK.

How can I use exponents in Excel formulas?

To use exponents in Excel formulas, you can use the caret (^) symbol. For example, to calculate 5 raised to the power of 3 in a formula, you would enter “=5^3”, which would result in 125.


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Lutfor Rahman Shimanto
Lutfor Rahman Shimanto

Lutfor Rahman Shimanto, BSc, Information Technology, Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh, has worked with the ExcelDemy project for over a year. He has written 50+ articles and provided solutions of 100+ comments for ExcelDemy. Currently, he works as an Excel & VBA Developer and provides support and solutions in the ExcelDemy Forum. He has solved 100+ ExcelDemy Forum problems. His work and learning interests are in developing various Excel & VBA and Desktop applications. Outside of work, he enjoys Chess... Read Full Bio

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