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How to do subscript and superscript in Google Docs

By Jessica Lau · February 2, 2024
Google Docs logo, which is a simplified illustration of a piece of paper with a dogeared corner.

You've seen superscript and subscript text and symbols before. They're everywhere: temperatures (400°F and 0°C), calendar dates (1st and 24th), chemical formulas (H2O and CH4)—the list goes on.  

Whether you're writing a dissertation on the changing temperatures in the Arctic or you're drafting a formal resignation letter so you can pursue your lifelong dream of joining the circus, here's how to do subscript and superscript in Google Docs

Table of contents

  • How to do subscript in Google Docs

  • How to do superscript in Google Docs

  • How to do subscript and superscript in Google Docs using special characters

How to do subscript in Google Docs 

  1. Open a Google Docs document. 

  2. Highlight the text you need to change to superscript or subscript.

  3. Click Format > Text > Subscript. Or, use the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+, on Windows or command+, on Mac.

    How to do subscript on Google Docs.

Now your selected text appears smaller and aligned with the bottom of the rest of your text. 

Example of subscript text in Google Docs.

How to do superscript in Google Docs

  1. Open a Google Docs document. 

  2. Highlight the text you need to translate to superscript or subscript.

  3. Click Format > Text > Superscript. Or, use the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+. on Windows or command+. on Mac. 

How to superscript in Google Docs.

Similarly to subscript, your selected text appears smaller, but now it's aligned with the top of the rest of your text.  

Example of superscript text in Google Docs.

How to do subscript and superscript in Google Docs using special characters

There are instances where you may need to insert a superscript symbol. For example, the degree symbol (°) or the dagger commonly found in footnotes (†). If you don't happen to know the highly specific keyboard shortcuts for these, you can insert a special character.  

  1. Click the spot in your document where you want to insert the special character.

  2. Click Insert > Special characters

    How to insert special characters in Google Docs.

  3. In the Insert special characters popup that appears, find the symbol you want to insert. You can use the search bar or roughly draw the symbol in the space provided. 

    How to find a special character in Google Docs.

  4. Click the symbol you want to insert. 

The symbol will automatically appear as a superscript or subscript, depending on how it's commonly formatted. If you want to change a superscript to a subscript symbol (and vice versa), follow the steps mentioned above. 

Example of a special character inserted in a Google Doc.

Automate Google Docs

​​Google Docs offers plenty of formatting tools to make your files look pretty (or, you know, mathematically and scientifically accurate). And since you've already gone through all that manual effort of making them look pretty, why not use Zapier to connect Google Docs to thousands of other apps, so you can automate the rest of your tedious document-related tasks? For example, you can automatically save new documents to OneDrive or Dropbox. 

Save new Google Docs documents to OneDrive

Save new Google Docs documents to OneDrive
  • Google Docs logo
  • OneDrive logo
Google Docs + OneDrive

Upload Dropbox files for new documents in Google Docs

Upload Dropbox files for new documents in Google Docs
  • Google Docs logo
  • Dropbox logo
Google Docs + Dropbox

To get started with a Zap template—what we call our pre-made workflows—just click on the button. It only takes a few minutes to set up. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Related reading

  • How to create a template in Google Docs

  • How to add a signature in Google Docs

  • How to strikethrough on Google Docs

  • How to change the background color in Google Docs

  • How to add a border in Google Docs

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