Skip to main content

How to superscript and subscript in Google Docs

If you’re creating a document for math instruction or scientific information in Google Docs, you may need to use superscript. This type of text appears slightly above the baseline text and uses a smaller font size. While most commonly used for math and science, you’ll also see superscript used to indicate a footnote. Similarly, subscript is usually used to write chemical equations and formulas.

You can apply superscript or subscript to text on the Google Docs website, as well as in the mobile app on Android and iPhone. Let’s take a look at how to superscript and subscript in Google Docs.




5 minutes

What You Need

  • Web browser

  • Google account

  • Google Docs mobile app (optional)

Superscript in Google Docs on the web

You can apply superscript using the menu or with a keyboard shortcut. Visit the Google Docs website, sign in, and open your document.

Step 1: Select the text you want to make superscript by double-clicking the word or using your cursor to click and drag through the text to select longer phrases.

Text selected in Google Docs on the web.

Step 2: Go to the Format tab and then select Text.

Step 3: Choose Superscript in the pop-out menu.

Text, Superscript in the Google Docs Format menu.

Step 4: You’ll see your selected text above the surrounding text and in a bit smaller font.

To use a keyboard shortcut instead, select your desired text and then press Ctrl + . (period) on Windows or Command + . (period) on Mac.

To remove the superscript, follow these same steps and deselect the superscript format or use the same keyboard shortcut.

Superscript text in Google Docs on the web.

Superscript in Google Docs in the mobile app

You can apply superscript in Google Docs on your mobile device using the Format tool. Launch the Google Docs app on Android or iPhone and open your document.

Step 1: Select the Edit button (pencil icon) on the bottom right to open edit mode.

Step 2: Select the text you want to superscript. Tap and hold the word on Android or double-tap it on iPhone.

Step 3: Tap the Format button at the top. This looks like an uppercase "A" with four lines on Android and an uppercase underlined "A" on iPhone.

Step 4: When you see the format tools pop up at the bottom, select the Superscript icon. This appears as an "X" with a superscript 2, like an exponent.

Step 5: You’ll then see your text formatted as superscript.

To remove the superscript, follow the same steps to deselect the format.

Subscript in Google Docs on the web

Just like you can superscript on the Google Docs web interface, you can also subscript. Here's how to do so:

Step 1: Go to the Google Docs website and open the document you want to add a subscript to.

Selecting the desired text in a Google Doc and then choosing Format.

Step 2: Select the text you want to subscript. Then select Format.

Selecting Text menu option and then Subscript in Google Docs on the web.

Step 3: From the menu that appears, choose Text. Then select Subscript.

You can also type in subscript by using the following keyboard shortcut: CTRL + , (comma). Then type as you normally would. To turn off typing in subscript, simply press the shortcut again before resuming typing.

That's it! Your text should now be in subscript.

Text in Google Doc now displaying subscript.

Subscript on the Google Docs mobile app

Applying subscript to a Google Doc in the Docs mobile app is actually quite similar to how you would apply superscript in the mobile app. Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Open the Docs app on your mobile device. Then select the document you want to add a subscript to.

Step 2: Select the Edit icon. It looks like a pencil.

Step 3: Now select the text you want to subscript. Then choose the Format icon at the top of your screen. It should have the letter "A" in it.

Step 4: Choose the Text tab in the menu that appears. Then select the Subscript icon. This icon looks like "X" with a little number two at the bottom of it.

Once the Subscript icon is selected, your highlighted text should immediately appear as a subscript. If you want to undo the subscript, just select the Subscript icon again.

Once you're done editing, select the Checkmark icon to save your changes.

Now that you know how to superscript and subscript in Google Docs, learn how to strikethrough in Google Docs or how to select multiple portions of text.

Editors' Recommendations

Sandy Writtenhouse
Sandy has been writing about technology since 2012. Her work has appeared on How-To Geek, Lifewire, MakeUseOf, iDownloadBlog…
Microsoft Word vs. Google Docs
A person using a laptop that displays various Microsoft Office apps.

For the last few decades, Microsoft Word has been the de facto standard for word processors across the working world. That's finally starting to shift, and it looks like one of Google's productivity apps is the heir apparent. The company's Google Docs solution (or to be specific, the integrated word processor) is cross-platform and interoperable, automatically syncs, is easily shareable, and perhaps best of all, is free.

However, Google Docs still has a long way to go before it can match all of Word's features -- Microsoft has been developing its word processor for over 30 years, after all. Will Google Docs' low barrier to entry and cross-platform functionality win out? Let's break down each word processor in terms of features and capabilities to help you determine which is best for your needs.
How does each word processing program compare?
To put it lightly, Microsoft Word has an incredible advantage over Google Docs in terms of raw technical capability. From relatively humble beginnings in the 1980s, Microsoft has added new tools and options in each successive version. Most of the essential editing tools are available in Google Docs, but users who are used to Word will find it limited.

Read more
How ChatGPT could help Microsoft dethrone Google Search
A person on the Google home page while using a MacBook Pro laptop on a desk.

Microsoft is attempting to dethrone Google as the search champion by integrating ChatGPT into its Bing search engine. That’s according to a new report from The Information -- but will the gamble pay off?

ChatGPT only launched in November 2022, but it’s already been making waves among artificial intelligence researchers and the general public alike due to the unerring realism of its output. Chuck in any prompt you can think of and you’ll get back something that keenly resembles human-generated text, and people have been using it to write articles, generate code, and compose musical scores.

Read more
How to create a calendar in Google Sheets
how to add columns in google sheets inserted macbook table

Google Sheets offers quick spreadsheet tools to get organized fast, all natively part of Google Drive so you can easily share documents, collaborate on projects, and check on updates that others have made. That makes Sheets a great place to keep a calendar, such as a work calendar for a team to access or a calendar for school group projects.

Read more