How to Make Exponents on a Computer Keyboard

By Kylene Arnold

Exponents are generally written as superscripts. Most word processors have a button or menu option to enter superscript mode, but these options are also accessible through keyboard shortcuts. Each piece of software has its own shortcut, which usually consists of three buttons that are pressed simultaneously. An alternative method for creating superscripts is to write the exponent after a caret symbol. This can also be accomplished without ever lifting your hands off the keyboard.

Microsoft Word (Windows)

Step 1

Press "Ctrl," "Shift" and "=" on the keyboard to activate superscript mode.

Step 2

Type the exponent.

Step 3

Press "Ctrl," "Shift" and "=" again to deactivate superscript mode.

Pages (Macintosh)

Step 1

Press "Control," "Command" and "+" on the keyboard to activate superscript mode.

Step 2

Type the exponent.

Step 3

Press "Control," "Command" and "+" on the keyboard to deactivate superscript mode.

Open Office (Linux)

Step 1

Press "Ctrl," "Shift" and "P" on the keyboard to activate superscript mode.

Step 2

Type the exponent.

Step 3

Press "Ctrl," "Shift" and "P" again to deactivate superscript mode.

Caret Method

Step 1

Type the base number.

Step 2

Press "Shift" and "6" to type the caret symbol.

Step 3

Type the exponent.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are running a different word processor than those shown above, check your documentation for a list of keyboard shortcuts or for instructions on how to create your own.