How to Add Superscripts in MS Word

By Carol Finch

In Word 2013, you add superscript to individual characters from the Home tab. Although a simple format change, this can turn your writing into a stop-start process if you frequently use superscript characters, such as the squared symbol. If you prefer to keep your creative juices flowing and your fingers typing, you can also set up a keyboard shortcut for superscript characters you use regularly in Word's AutoCorrect tool.

Add Superscript to Individual Characters

Step 1

Type or insert the letter, number or symbol that you want to change to superscript. For example, if you want to make an x-squared character, start by using regular letters and numbers -- so type **x2** into your document.

Step 2

Highlight the **2** in your text. In the **Font** area of the Home tab, select the **Superscript** button, the x-squared symbol. The button toggles on and changes color, and your number format changes to superscript.

Step 3

Make sure that the cursor is to the right of the superscript number you've just formatted. Select the **Superscript** button again to turn it off -- it will switch back to its original color. If you don't disable it, you'll carry on typing in superscript. If you do this by mistake, highlight the characters and select the **Superscript** button to switch the characters back to their regular size.

Add a Superscript Shortcut in AutoCorrect

Step 1

Type a **2** in your document, highlight it and select the **Superscript** button from the Home tab. Copy the new superscript character. Open the **File** tab and then **Options**.

Step 2

Open **Proofing** and select **AutoCorrect Options**. You're going to set keys into the AutoCorrect tool and connect them to your squared symbol, so that Word inserts it automatically whenever you use the right key combination.

Step 3

Select the **Formatted Text** button. You should see the number you copied in the box below. Type **/#**, without bold, in the **Replace** box. Make sure that the **Replace Text As You Type** box is checked. Select **Add** and then **OK** twice to return to your document. Now, whenever you type **/#**, Word should automatically insert the squared symbol.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also use a keyboard command to format in superscript. Highlight the character, hold down "Ctrl-Shift" and press the "+" and "=" signs.
  • You can choose any keys you like in an AutoCorrect shortcut. It's best to use a combination that you wouldn't normally use in regular typing.
  • Delete keyboard shortcuts if you don't want to keep them -- go into the AutoCorrect tool, select a shortcut and then "Delete."
  • When working with footnotes, it may be easier to use Word's footnote tool in the References tab. This automatically adds and links superscript footnotes in your text and at the bottom of the page.
  • If you're using superscript to format math equations, check out Word's Equations tool on the Insert tab. This contains various pre-formatted equations (see Resources).
  • Use the "Subscripts" button on the Home tab to format characters in subscript.