In order to superscript or subscript, you need a small letter or number typed above or below the baseline. A Superscript is mostly attached to the top of the regular sized characters, such as in the case when you need to superscript to write square units like m2 or inch2 or numbers such as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Subscript, on the other hand, is a small character or string that sits below the line of text. In this case, it is often used in chemical formulas such as H2O or SO2. So, if you’re looking to learn how to subscript in excel, keep reading. 

How to subscript in excel: 2 ways

Ways to subscript for text values

Every time you want to format text in Excel, open the Format Cells dialog box. By doing so you can quickly apply the superscript or subscript or whatever formatting you want.

But you can’t just apply the format normally to the entire cell because this would move all the text above or below the baseline. So, here are the steps to insert subscript or superscript correctly:

  1. Select the text you’d like to format. For that just double click a cell and select the text using the mouse. Or you can go the old-fashioned way which is to click the cell and press F2 to enter edit mode.
  2. Now, select the Format Cells dialog by pressing Ctrl + 1 or right-click the selection and choose Format Cells, from the context menu.
  3. Next, in the Format Cells dialog box, head to the Font tab and click on Superscript or Subscript under Effects.
  4. Tap on OK to save the change and close the dialog.

Now your selected text will be subscripted or superscripted depending on which option you’ve ticked off. 

Just like any other formatting in Excel, it changes only the visual representation of the value in a cell. The formula bar will show you the original value without any indication of the applied superscript or subscript format.

Ways to subscript to a numeric value

This is how to apply or present a formula or an equation for numeric values:

  1. Click Insert, then Equation, then Design.
  2. Click Script and select the format you want.
  3. Click the squares and type the values.

Microsoft Excel also provides an easy way to insert superscript numbers in cells, as long as they are 1, 2, or 3. Simply type the following numbers on the numeric keypad while holding down the Alt key:

  • 1:  Alt+0185
  • 2:  Alt+0178
  • 3:  Alt+0179