Apr 15 2010

Adding Subscripts and Superscripts to a Cell

Ever wanted to add a subscript or a superscript to the contents of a cell?  Excel provides a method to do just that, although it might not be intuitive to do so.


Subscript / Superscript Example
Below are the steps necessary to place a subscript or a superscript into a cell.  The process is the same for both, you just select which one you want to use during the process.  So let’s get started.

Step 1: Type the contents of you cell, including the subscript or superscript text.

Step 2: Select the text in the formula bar that you want to make a subscript or superscript.


Step 3: Right click and select “Format Cells” or go to the menu bar at the top and select “Format”–> “Cells”.  Once this is selected, chose “subscript” or “superscript” and click “OK”.

Step 4: Enjoy your new Subscript or Superscript.

That’s it.  This can also be done in VBA code but we’ll save that for another day.  If you want to try it for yourself in the meantime, don’t forget you can do it by recording a macro and viewing how Excel handles it.

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16 Comments on this post


  1. Automobile India said:

    Subscripts will apply only to the element to their immediate left unless parenthesis tell you to apply the subscript to the whole unit.

    May 4th, 2010 at 1:25 am
  2. Automobile India said:

    Another option is to take the column, remove your superscript, and put the superscript in a free floating text box (options for this are on the drawing toolbar – view|toolbars). Then it won’t be in the actual cell, but when printed out or whatever, it will look to be right next to it.

    June 1st, 2010 at 11:54 pm
  3. Automobile India said:

    I’ve a friend who is writing a drafting textbook and needs someone who is experienced in MS Word and symbols such as subscripts, superscripts and square roots. Where would I look for such a person??

    July 1st, 2010 at 4:51 am
  4. used tires said:

    Awesome! Been looking for this, I couldn’t believe that my biology professor actually graded us all lower because everyone in the class did not have their subscripts/superscripts as you call it, in the right presentation style, we were all baffled that she marked us for such a silly thing!

    Till then,


    July 18th, 2010 at 4:21 am
  5. Automobile India said:

    I use a spreadsheet that I created myself as a template, and we use zeros and ones to ‘add up’ scores. To keep track of the zeros we use superscript. For one, two or three zeros we use a symbol so that it can be copied and pasted to another cell.

    August 2nd, 2010 at 4:55 am
  6. PY said:

    You can copy the correctly formated text from MSword. That way you can use the short cut keys to get the super/sub-scripts without going into the option menu. (super script: ctrl+shift+”+”; subscript: ctrl+”+”)

    August 9th, 2010 at 5:45 pm
  7. computer support said:

    Many time came across with this problem while was working in office.
    Thanks for solving my problem. You showed how easily super/sub script we can do. I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.

    August 21st, 2010 at 2:36 pm
  8. hedging said:

    You can now close the VBA Editor window. In order to use the macro, select the cell you want to edit, and then run the DoForm macro. Excel displays your user form, which contains the text in the selected cell.

    November 1st, 2010 at 1:33 pm
  9. Underfloor heating mats said:

    A different option would be to take the column, get rid of your superscript, and set the superscript in a no cost floating text box (alternatives for this are to thewon’t be inside actual cell, but when printed out or what ever, it’s going to search to be suitable following to it.

    November 1st, 2010 at 2:29 pm
  10. Online Penny Auctions said:

    On the Home tab of the ribbon (where they buttons for Bold, Italics and Underline, there are two buttons for subscript and superscript. For example x² for superscript.

    November 2nd, 2010 at 12:24 pm
  11. Certified Translation said:

    I designed myself like a template, and we use zeros and ones to ‘add up’ scores. To hold track in the zeros we use superscript.

    November 9th, 2010 at 11:35 am
  12. Elie said:

    I followed the explanation and it works while I am in edit mode (F2) but as soon as I press enter it shows without the subscripting. Neither when I do a print preview. If I press F2 on the cell it shows the subscripting as performed. Any idea how to this?

    July 16th, 2011 at 9:33 pm
  13. Scott said:

    I use superscripts for footnotes. In a cell, type your text as usual. Then to add a superscript 1 (for first footnote), hold down ALT and press O, E, E to toggle superscript on. Type 1.
    ALT O, E, E also toggles superscript off, if you need to.
    Keyboard sure beats chasing your mouse all over the screen.

    February 26th, 2012 at 12:35 am
  14. Michael said:

    Excel 2010 will not allow superscripted (same goes for subscripts) numbers to appear next to another number in regular font in the same cell (as if numerically writing “5 squared”). The superscript will appear while the cell is active, but once moving to another cell, the superscripted font reverts to normal.

    Here’s the workaround…Type a space between the regular-font number and the superscripted number, then superscript the desired number. You can then select the space (the one you just typed in between the numbers) and make it a font size of 1 to make the space virtually disappear.

    April 18th, 2012 at 5:27 pm
  15. enas said:

    Thank you Michael 4/18/12 That was driving me crazy!!! :)

    December 10th, 2012 at 5:04 pm
  16. Sakshi Jain said:

    But this superscript doesnt appear in the legend of a chart made from the same data. It only shows as a superscript on the spreadsheet. How to get the values 4 and above as superscripts on the charts?

    January 25th, 2016 at 2:26 am


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