How-To

How to Use Superscript in Excel

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If you’re entering mathematical formulas in Excel, you might need to include exponents. Learn how to use superscript in Excel.

When you’re working with Excel, you’re (usually) entering text or numerical values into your cells. Sometimes, however, you might need to use something a little different. What if you want to insert a superscript, such as x2, into your spreadsheet?

The good news is that it’s fairly easy to insert subscripts into Excel, although the methods you will use will vary depending on whether you’re working with text or with numbers. As with most things in Excel, you also have a choice of methods to achieve your goals.

Learn more about how to use superscript in Excel.

How to Apply Superscript to Text in Excel

The methods you will use to apply a superscript in Excel will differ depending on whether the cells you are applying it to contain text or numbers. If you want to apply a superscript to text, you can do this using cell formatting.

To apply superscript to text in Excel:

  1. Select the cell containing your text.
    excel select cell
  2. In the formula bar, highlight only the letter or number that you want to appear in superscript.
    excel highlight text
  3. Right-click your selection and select Format Cells.
    excel format cells
  4. Check the Superscript check box and click OK.
    excel superscript text
  5. Your text will now be superscript.
    excel superscript text

How to Add a Superscript Button to Excel

If you’re adding a lot of superscript text in Excel, you can speed up the process by adding a superscript button to the ribbon. This allows you to convert the text to superscript with just a click.

To add a superscript button to Excel:

  1. Right-click anywhere in the ribbon.
    excel click ribbon
  2. Select Customize The Ribbon.
    excel customize ribbon
  3. Click New Group.
    excel new group
  4. Click Rename.
    excel rename button
  5. Give the new group a name of your choosing and click OK.
    excel rename group
  6. Click Superscript towards the bottom of the list of commands.
    excel subscript command
  7. Click the Add button to add superscript to your group and click OK.
    excel add command
  8. Your button will now appear in the ribbon.
    excel subscript button
  9. To add superscript to text, highlight the letter or number you want to appear in superscript, and click your new button.

How to Apply Superscript to Numbers in Excel

If you’re working with numbers or equations in Excel, the methods above won’t work. When you click out of a cell, the number will return to its standard format. There are a number of ways you can apply a superscript to numbers in Excel, however.

Using Equations

It’s possible to insert equations into Excel and make use of the large collection of pre-set mathematical layouts. These include the option to write one value as a superscript of another. There are a number of ways that you can create equations in Excel.

The easiest way is to use the equation editor, which allows you to create your equation based on the format of your choosing. By using the superscript format, you can quickly create a superscript.

To insert an equation in Excel:

  1. Click the Insert menu.
    excel insert menu
  2. In the Symbols group, click Equation.
    excel equation button
  3. In the Structures section, click Script.
    excel script
  4. Click on the Superscript format.
    excel superscript option
  5. In your equation, click in each of the small boxes in turn and add your values.
    excel enter superscript
  6. Click anywhere else in your spreadsheet to see your completed equation.
    excel superscript value

How to Use Ink Equation in Excel

An alternative option is to make use of the Ink Equation feature, which is particularly useful when you’re creating more complex equations. This feature allows you to write your equation using the cursor, and Excel then converts this into text.

To create a superscript using Ink Equation:

  1. Select the Insert menu.
    excel insert menu
  2. In the Symbols section, click Equation.
    excel equation button
  3. In the ribbon, select Ink Equation.
    excel ink equation
  4. Write your equation using the cursor.
    excel written equation
  5. If the preview does not match what you intended, click the Erase button to remove any poorly written sections, and then rewrite them again.
    excel ink equation eraser
  6. When the preview matches the equation you intend, click Insert.
  7. Your equation will now appear in your spreadsheet.
    excel inserted equation

How to Insert a Superscript Number Using Character Codes in Excel

There is another quick way to add superscripts to numbers, provided that the superscript value you want to insert is either 1, 2, or 3. You can use character codes to insert these characters by pressing a set combination of keys.

You will need a keyboard with a number pad, as this only works using the number pad keys and not the number keys across the top row of your keyboard. If your keyboard doesn’t have a number pad, you can use an on-screen keyboard instead.

To add superscripts using character codes:

  1. Type the value you want at the base of your superscript.
  2. Now hold down Alt and press 0, 1, 8, 5 for a superscript 1.
    excel power of one
  3. For a superscript 2, hold down Alt and press 0, 1, 7, 8.
    excel power of 2
  4. If you want to insert a superscript 3, hold Alt and press 0, 1, 7, 9.
    excel power of 3

How to Insert a Superscript Number Using a Formula

You can also use these same codes to insert a superscript using a formula. By inserting a formula with the relevant character code, Excel will convert your formula into a superscript value.

To insert a superscript using a formula:

  1. Click the cell where you want your superscript to appear.
  2. To insert a power of one, type =3&CHAR(185). You can change the ‘3’ to whatever value you wish.
    excel superscript formula
  3. To insert a power of two, type =3&CHAR(178).
  4. To insert a power of three, type =3&CHAR(179).
  5. Press Enter.
  6. Your superscript will appear.
    excel power of one

Mastering Excel

Learning how to use superscript in Excel allows you to work with more than just standard values. You can now use Excel for equations, or simply to correctly show units of measurement. There are plenty of other ways you can open up more capabilities within Excel.

For example, did you know that it’s possible to ring an alarm in Excel? You can also add a checkbox in Excel to help you check off lists. And if you want to speed up how to work in Excel, there are plenty of keyboard shortcuts that can save you significant time.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. MIchele Pacifico

    September 24, 2022 at 10:43 am

    Extremely well done! Congratulations!

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