How to Use Subscript and Superscript in Excel: A Complete Guide

Understanding Subscript and Superscript:

In mathematics, computing, and typography:

  • Subscript: A character or symbol written in the bottom-right section of another character.
  • Superscript: A character or symbol written in the upper-right section of another character.

Example of Subscript and Superscript


Method 1 – From Font Group:

  • Select cell C5.
  • Highlight 4 in the Formula Bar.
  • Click the Launch icon in the Font group.

Accessing Font group to add Subscript

  • Check the Subscript box and press OK.

Check Subscript in Effects section

Accessing Font group to add Superscript

  • Similarly, highlight + and apply Superscript.

Check Superscript in Effects section

  • Click OK, and this is how your text will look.

Texts with subscript and superscript

If you have followed the steps correctly your dataset will look like this. Your text will appear correctly formatted.

Complete dataset with adding subscript and superscript from Font group


Method 2 – From Context Menu:

  • Double-click cell C5 to enter editing mode.
  • Highlight 4 and right-click.
  • Select Format Cells from the Context Menu.

Accessing Context Menu to add Subscript

  • Check the Subscript box and press OK.

Check Subscript in Effects section

  • Repeat for + and Superscript.

Accessing Context Menu to add Superscript

Check Superscript in Effects section

If you have followed the steps correctly your dataset will look like this. Your text will appear correctly formatted.

Complete dataset after adding subscript and superscript from Context Menu


Method 3 – Apply Keyboard Shortcut:

  • Select cell C6.
  • Highlight 3 in the Formula Bar.
  • Press Ctrl + 1 to open Format Cells.

Press Ctrl + 1 to enter Format Cells to add subscript

  • Press Alt + B for subscript.
  • Click OK.

Press Alt + B to add subscript

  • Repeat for “” and Superscript.

Press Ctrl + 1 to enter Format Cells to add superscript

Press Alt + E to add superscript

If you have followed the steps correctly, your dataset will look like this.

Complete dataset with subscript and superscript from Keyboard shortcut


Method 4 – From Quick Access Toolbar:

  • In the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), click on the Customize Quick Access Toolbar option.
  • Click on More Commands.

Accessing Quick Access Toolbar

  • Excel Options dialogue box will open up.
  • Scroll down the list of popular commands.
  • Select and Add Subscript and Superscript buttons.

Adding Subscript and Superscript in QAT

  • Access these features from the QAT.

Method 5 – Using Symbols Feature:

  • Type your text.
  • Go to the Insert tab > Symbols group > Symbol.

Inserting Symbol from Symbols group

  • Choose Superscripts or Subscripts.
  • Select desired symbols and insert them.

Inserting Subscript from Symbols group


Method 6 – Use of Equation Editor:

  • Go to Insert tab and from Symbols group choose Equation.

Inserting Equation from Symbols group

  • This will open up an extended Equation tab.
  • From Structures group, click on Script option.
  • Insert both Subscript and Superscript.

Script from Equation tab

  • This will create a template.
  • You can type your texts with subscripts and superscripts in the template.

Typing formula in the Equation template

Write other texts just like this to complete your dataset.

Complete dataset with subscript and superscript from Equations


Method 7 – Apply Excel Ink Equation:

  • Go to Insert tab and from Symbols group choose Equation.

Inserting Equation from Symbols group

  • This will open up an extended Equation tab.
  • From Tools group, click on Ink Equation option.

Inserting Ink Equation from Equation

  • In this box, you can write your texts with subscripts and superscripts.
  • Excel will convert it and show it in the preview box. If the preview is correct as you have typed, press Insert.

Writing symbols in Math Input Control

Write all the text and insert it to see what your dataset looks like.

Complete dataset with subscript and superscript from Ink Equation


Method 8 – Applying Copy and Paste:

  • Copy the desired subscript by pressing Ctrl + C.
  • Paste them into your cells pressing Ctrl + V.
₀ ₁ ₂ ₃ ₄ ₅ ₆ ₇ ₈ ₉ ₊ ₋ ₌ ₍₎ ₐ ₑ ₒ ₓ ₔ

Copy and paste subscript

  • Similarly, copy the desired superscript characters and paste them into your cells.
⁰ ¹ ² ³ ⁴ ⁵ ⁶ ⁷ ⁸ ⁹ ⁺ ⁻ ⁼ ⁽⁾ ⁱ ⁿ

Copy and paste superscript


Method 9 – Apply VBA Macro:

  • Prepare your dataset without any subscripts and superscript.

Dataset without subscript and superscript

  • Access the Visual Basic Editor by pressing Alt + F11 on your keyboard.
  • Create a Module in the Visual Basic Editor from the Insert tab.

Insert Module

  • Write the following code in the module:
Sub subscriptandsuperscript()

Range("C5").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "N") + 3, 1).Font.Subscript = True
Range("C5").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "N") + 4, 1).Font.Superscript = True

Range("C6").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "N") + 3, 1).Font.Subscript = True
Range("C6").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "N") + 4, 1).Font.Superscript = True

Range("C7").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "S") + 3, 2).Font.Subscript = True
Range("C7").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "S") + 4, 2).Font.Superscript = True

Range("C8").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "S") + 3, 2).Font.Subscript = True
Range("C8").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "S") + 4, 2).Font.Superscript = True

Range("C9").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "C") + 3, 2).Font.Subscript = True
Range("C9").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "C") + 4, 2).Font.Superscript = True

Range("C10").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "P") + 3, 2).Font.Subscript = True
Range("C10").Characters(InStr(1, Text, "P") + 4, 2).Font.Superscript = True

End Sub
  • Press F5 or choose Run Sub/Userform from the Run tab to execute the code.

Code for adding subscript and superscript

This is your output.

Complete dataset with subscript and superscript from VBA


How to Add Subscript and Superscript with a Formula in Excel:

1. Using CHAR Function:

="2"&CHAR(185)

Add superscript using CHAR function

Note:

The CHAR function can only return 3 superscripts and no subscripts.


2. Using UNICHAR Function:

  • Select cell C5 and use this formula to add subscripts and superscripts using the UNICHAR function:
="NH"&UNICHAR(8324)&UNICHAR(8314)

Add subscript and superscript using UNICHAR function

Get the UNICHAR codes for subscripts and superscripts from the table below.

UNICHAR Codes Output Subscripts and Superscripts
8304
185 ¹
178 ²
179 ³
8308
8309
8310
8311
8312
8313
8314
8315
8316
8317
8318
8305
8319
8320
8321
8322
8323
8324
8325
8326
8327
8328
8329
8330
8331
8332
8333
8334
8336
8337
8338
8339
8340

How to Add Subscript and Superscript with Custom Number Formatting:

  • Select all the cells where you want to add the same superscript.
  • Select range C5:C10
  • Press Ctrl + 1 to open Format Cells dialogue box.

Press Ctrl+1 to enter custom number formatting

  • On the Number tab, under Category, select Custom.
  • In the Type box, enter 0, hold the Alt key, and type the desired superscript code. (e.g., Alt+0+1+7+8 to add superscript 2).

Press Alt+0+1+7+8 to add superscript 2

  • Press OK to see the output.

Numbers with superscript 2

Use these codes for subscripts and superscripts from the table below. Remember to always press Alt before typing the codes.

Codes Output Subscripts and Superscripts
8304
0185 ¹
0178 ²
0179 ³
8308
8309
8310
8311
8312
8313
8314
8315
8316
8317
8318
8305
8319
8320
8321
8322
8323
8324
8325
8326
8327
8328
8329
8330
8331
8332
8333
8334
8336
8337
8338
8339
8340

How to Write 1st, 2nd, 3rd in Excel:

  • Manually enter 1st in cell C5.
  • Highlight st in the text.
  • Press Ctrl + 1 to open the Format Cells dialog box.

Write 1st and press Ctrl+1

  • In the Effects section, check the Superscript box and press OK.

Check Superscript in Effects section

  • Use the Fill Handle (+) to make the rest of the serial number appear.

Use Fill Handle to copy superscript

As you can see, the numbers have been formatted as ordinal. Thus, you can write 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Excel.

Ordinal number format


How to Remove Subscript and Superscript in Excel:

  • Select range C5:C11.
  • Press Ctrl + 1 to open the Format Cells dialog.

Select range to remove subscript and superscript

  • Uncheck Subscript and Superscript boxes and press OK.

Uncheck subscript and superscript

As a result, the subscript and superscript formatting will be removed from the specified cells.

Dataset after removing subscript and superscript


Download Practice Workbook

You can download the practice workbook from here:


Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I change the default font or style for subscript or superscript text in Excel?

  • Select a cell with the desired subscript or superscript formatting.
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + F to open the Format Cells dialog box.
  • In the Font tab, choose the desired font, size, and style.
  • Click on the Subscript or Superscript checkbox.
  • Click OK.

The changes will apply as the new default for subscript or superscript formatting in Excel.

2. Are there any limitations or compatibility issues when using subscript or superscript formatting in Excel?

  • There are no specific limitations or compatibility issues when using subscript or superscript formatting in Excel.
  • However, note that the formatting may not be preserved when copying and pasting text into other applications or exporting Excel files to different formats.
  • Check the compatibility of the target application or file format to ensure proper display of subscript and superscript formatting.

3. Can I use subscript or superscript formatting in Excel’s data validation messages or error alerts?

  • No, direct subscript or superscript formatting is not available for data validation messages or error alerts in Excel.
  • The formatting options for these elements are limited to basic text formatting (font style, size, color, and alignment).

Subscript and Superscript in Excel: Knowledge Hub


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Mehedi Hassan
Mehedi Hassan

Mehedi Hassan, having earned a BSc in Naval Architecture & Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, functions as an Excel & VBA Content Developer at ExcelDemy. His deep interest in research and innovation aligns seamlessly with his fervor for Excel. In this role, Mehedi not only skillfully addresses challenging issues but also exhibits enthusiasm and expertise in gracefully navigating intricate situations, emphasizing his unwavering dedication to consistently delivering outstanding content. His interests are Advanced... Read Full Bio

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