When you're typing in plain text, you can use the caret symbol to express an exponent, such as "2^5" to represent "2 to the 5th power." In most word processors, however, you can use the superscript feature to actually place the "5" in small text above to "2" to display the exponent as you would write it on paper.
Applying Powers with Superscript
Superscript in Word and most other word processors causes text to appear smaller and above the regular line of text. This style works with any text, and when applied to numbers, makes it look like an exponent. For example, to write "2 raised to the 5th power," type "25" with no space between the numbers. Highlight just the "5" and press "Control-Shift-Equals" or click the superscript icon on the "Home" tab, which looks like an "x squared." The "5" will shrink and shift upward.
Plain text does not support superscript. If you save your document as a text file, copy the number into Notepad or paste it into a Web form, the formatting will vanish, leaving you with two numbers directly next to each other. To preserve the superscript, keep your document saved in your word processor's native format.
Information in this article applies to Microsoft Word versions 2007, 2010 and 2013. Procedures may vary with other versions or products.