How to Type a Chemical Formula

Chemical formulas represent a common notation used to describe the components of a compound. Chemical formulas use abbreviations of elements and subscript text to note their quantities. For example, water is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, written as H20. Since chemical formulas use subscript text to denote the number of atoms of specific elements, understanding how to format subscript text is essential to typing chemical formulas.

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Step

If using Microsoft Word, type your chemical formula, including the numbers. For example, glucose translates to C6H12O6.

Step

Highlight a number to change it to subscript. Select the "Format" menu and open the "Font" tab. A menu will appear.

Step

Under "Effects," check the box next to "Subscript." Click "OK."

Step

Repeat for each number that needs to be formatted as subscript.