Microsoft Word is great when you're writing text, but as soon as you need to include a little math in a document, things get complicated. You can access most of the math symbols you might need through the "Symbols" dialogue, but the result is often better if you use the "Equation" editor. If you need to type a square root symbol in Word, you can work out the best approach based on your purposes.
Use the Square Root Symbol
The easiest approach to getting the square root sign in Word is to use the "Symbol" option under "Insert." This method works on all versions of Word after 2007. Click the icon and then choose "More Symbols" to go into the main window. Click the drop-down box beside "Subset" and select "Mathematical Operators."
The square root symbol is visible right away. Click it and then click "Insert" to put it in the body of your document. You can also copy the symbol and paste it again for subsequent uses. This is the basic square root symbol (√), so you might want to consider other options depending on the purpose of your document.
Use the Equations Editor
Microsoft Word includes an Equation tool, and it allows you to present square roots a little more professionally. Go to "Insert" and then click the "Equation" option (the pi icon) before selecting "Insert New Equation." As an alternative, you can press "Alt" and "=" to insert a new equation right away.
You are taken to "Equation Tools," and you should see "Radical" among the options listed. Click it and choose an option from those displayed, including a basic root symbol, a third root, and one you can add to whatever designator you need. When you select the option, the root symbol appears but with a box in place of the number; highlight the box and fill in whatever you want.
This option is more flexible because it displays more clearly, and the top bar of the root extends to fill whatever you type into the box.
Use Math Autocorrect
If you're happy with the basic square root sign, you can set Word up to follow some basic math shorthand for all documents. Go to "File" (sometimes this is the "Office Button"), then "Word Options." Choose "Proofing" from the left side of the window and go to "AutoCorrect Options."
In this window, click the "Math AutoCorrect" tab and check the box beside "Use Math AutoCorrect rules outside of math regions." This method opens a lot of possibilities in Word. You can simply write "\sqrt" (without the quotations) to get a basic square root symbol (√).
Use Alt Codes
If you want a way to bring up the square root symbol without all the hassle with settings, you can do it with an alt code. Type "221A" into your document and then press the "Alt" and "X" keys together with your cursor beside the code.