How to Superscript or Subscript Text in PowerPoint?


As the events of 2020 unfold (ahem.. the pandemic..), we are seeing more and more education institutes perform their classes via online learning. The relevance of presentations and programs like PowerPoint has skyrocketed. This also means that you now need to type equations and other text in PowerPoint which need you to use features like subscripts and superscripts. But, how exactly do you do that?

You can Subscript text in PowerPoint by simply pressing Ctrl and + at the same time on your keyboard. To Superscript text, press Ctrl, Shift, and + at the same time. You can also Superscript and Subscript text by using the “Font” box in the PowerPoint menu bar.

For an in-depth understanding and a step by step process, continue reading. We are going to look at what these scripts are and how to use them and in a presentation. We will also look at inserting equations in your presentation.

So, let’s get started!

What is Superscript or Subscript in PowerPoint?

If you are searching for how to use superscript and subscript in PowerPoint, I can only assume that you already know what it is and you want to know how you can apply them to your presentations If that is you, feel free to skip the section and move on to the part where we discuss how to use them in your presentations.

But for others, to make sure we are on the same page, let’s take a look at what superscript and subscript are.

What is Superscript Text?

SuperScript is a way for you to offset a number or any text above a previous number or text. The way I like to remember this is “Super” is above (like Superman is above other men because of the powers he possesses!)

Thus, the text written above the usual line of text is called Superscript.

Superscript is when the text is written above the usual line of writing!

A great example of this would be, if you are trying to say the number “10 to the power of” something, so let’s say 10 ^ 3, you would use superscript for this. Please see the image below to see a real-world example of this.

What is Subscript Text?

Subscript is similar to superscript except, instead of offsetting your text or number above the previous one, subscript offsets it to the bottom.

An easy way to remember this would be “Sub” means below (for example “sub-par” means “below” average).

Thus, Subscript is when the text is written below the usual line of writing the text!

So, a great example of this would be if you are trying to write something like “O2” for oxygen. Please see the image below for a real-world example of this.

How to Insert Subscript in PowerPoint?

Now, the next two sections are going to be the meat of this article and we are going to go in-depth with our step by step guide on how to use subscript in PowerPoint presentations.

  1. Open your presentation document.
  1. Set your slide up as you normally would and start typing. Everything will be in normal text.
  1. Highlight the letter, number, word, or sentence that you want to change to superscript (as indicated in the image above)
  1. Make sure that the menu bar has the “Home” tab Selected.
  1. In the “Font” section of the menu bar, you will see a small arrow on the bottom right-hand side of the “Font” box. The arrow will be pointing diagonally to the bottom right. You need to select that arrow and a popup window will appear.
  1. In the popup window, you will see an option with a check-box called “Subscript”. Check that box so that it has a checkmark.
  1. Select “OK” and you are done.

How to Insert Superscript in PowerPoint?

For superscript, you will be doing the same as you did for the subscript section. We are going to include the step by step guide down below. Just in case you skipped over it.

  1. Open your project.
  1. Set your slide up as you normally would and start typing. Everything will be in normal text.
  1. Highlight the letter, number, word, or sentence that you want to change to superscript.
  1. Make sure that the menu bar has the “Home” tab Selected.
  1. In the “Font” section of the menu bar, you will see a small arrow on the bottom right-hand side of the “Font” box. The arrow will be pointing diagonally to the bottom right. You need to select that arrow and a popup window will appear.
  1. In the popup window, you will see an option with a check-box called “Subscript”. Check that box so that it has a checkmark.
  1. Select “OK” and you are done.

How to Turn Off Subscript or Superscript in PowerPoint?

Once you are done writing the text in superscript or subscript, you will want to remove or turn it off.

The steps are similar to how you would write the subscript or superscript in the first place. However, here’s a step by step process to help you through –

  1. If you would like to convert existing text from superscript or subscript to normal text, then first highlight the text on your slide.
  1. Then, make sure that you click on the “Home” ribbon.
  2. Go to the “Font” section of the menu bar, you will see a small arrow on the bottom right-hand side of the “Font” box. The arrow will be pointing diagonally to the bottom right. You need to select that arrow and a popup window will appear.
  1. Highlight the letter, number, word, or sentence that you want to change to superscript.
  1. In the popup window, you will see an option with a check-box called “Subscript” (or superscript based on what you want to turn off). Make sure that the check box is unchecked.
  1. Select “OK” and you are done!

What is the Shortcut for Subscript and Superscript in PowerPoint

Like most features in PowerPoint, you can also turn on or turn off the subscript or superscript mode using keyboard shortcuts!

The keyboard shortcuts to superscript or subscript text in PowerPoint is –

  • For Superscript, press these keys at the same time: Ctrl>Shift>+ (Ctrl, Shift, and +).
  • For Subscript, press these keys at the same time: Ctrl>+ (Ctrl and +)

To exit each script mode, simply press the corresponding shortcut key combinations once again.

How to Subscript and Superscript in PowerPoint at the Same Time?

So, oftentimes, if we are doing presentations that involve anything to do with chemistry or any type of science for that matter, you might need to use superscript and subscript together.

PowerPoint allows you to use both Superscript and Subscript text features at the same time! You can either go to the “Font” options and check the box next to both Superscript and Subscript text OR you can use both the keyboard shortcuts at the same time.

You can refer to the previous section where we discussed how to use each of the keyboard shortcuts.

Basically, to use both of these together, all you have to do is know what the shortcut keys are and that is pretty simple. Once you know the keyboard shortcut, you can use those key combinations to go back and forth between each script.

Whenever you are finished entering your superscript or subscript you will just press the same shortcut keys to go out of it and back to normal text. This will make using either script seamlessly.

How to Write Equations (or Fractions) in PowerPoint? (give a short example here)

While this section will have elements of superscript and subscript in them I just want to say that PowerPoint makes it very easy for anyone to write equations into their presentation and they have a few that are pre-built already.

Method 1 – Using Premade Equations and Fractions

In this section, we are going to show you how to use the premade set of equations that PowerPoint has built into them. I am a huge fan of this as it makes your work a lot easier.

  1. Set your presentation up. I recommend using bullet points for each equation,
  1. Go to the “Insert” tab in the menu bar.
  1. Towards the right of the menu bar, you should see “Equation”. Select the small downward pointing arrow right below it.
  1. A dropdown menu will appear with all of the equation templates that are available.

Method 2 – Write Your Own Equations using SuperScript

If you cannot find the equation that you want. You can write your own using superscript and subscript. You still need to select the “Equation” Option.

  1. Set your presentation up.
  1. Go to the “Insert” tab in the menu bar.
  1. Towards the right of the menu bar, you should see “Equation”.  Select the main equation box.
  1. Use Superscript and subscript to type out your equation. For any symbols that you need, you can select them from the menu bar.

How to Create Templates for your own Equations

You can also add your own equations to the template list for future use.

  1. Set your presentation up.
  1. Go to the “Insert” tab in the menu bar.
  1. Towards the right of the menu bar, you should see “Equation”. Select the small downward pointing arrow right below it.
  2. Right at the bottom of the dropdown menu, you will see an option called “Add New Equation”. Select this and create your equation.

Final Thoughts

Whatever you need to use these scripts for, hopefully, you have found this article to be helpful. Both scripts are used to offset a character or characters, Superscript offsets it to the top, and subscript offsets it to the bottom.

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