How to Add Subscript and Superscript in Google Sheets

Written by Ivana - Reviewed by Tanja Google Workplace / Sheets

7 min read
Key Points

You can add superscript and subscript in Google Sheets in four ways:

  1. Using the CHAR() function.
  2. Using Unicode symbols.
  3. Copying and superscript or subscript symbol from Google Form and pasting it in Google Sheets.
  4. Using subscript and superscript generators.

Google Sheets is the perfect program if you need to work with statistical data and mathematical formulae. In this case, you’d probably need to use subscript and superscript at some point.

If it’s the first time that you need to use these characters, you may be wondering where to find subscript and superscript in Google Sheets.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to add subscript and superscript in Google Sheets.

What are subscript and superscript?

For the uninitiated ones, subscript and superscript are characters used in mathematical formulae.

Subscripts are characters that are smaller than normal text and are positioned a bit lower. On the other hand, superscript is also a smaller character, but it’s positioned higher than the normal text.

Subscript and superscript are used in mathematical formulas and equations in several cases.

Subscript is mostly used in chemical formulas or in different versions of a variable in a mathematical sequence. Whereas, superscript is frequently used when raising variables to a certain power (x3) or for writing temperatures, such as 100°F.

How to add superscript and subscript in Google Sheets

Although Google Sheets doesn’t have a dedicated option to insert a superscript or subscript in Google Sheets, there are 4 different workaround ways you can add them.

  1. Use the CHAR() function

The CHAR() function is an in-built function in Google sheets. It provides the character value corresponding to a given decimal value.

All characters in Google Sheets have a corresponding numerical value called ASCII codes or ASCII values. For example, the decimal value for the character ‘A’ is 67. Similarly, subscript and superscript numbers 0 to 9 have numerical values, as well‌ as mathematical symbols (), +, – and =.

You can insert superscript or subscript in Google Sheets by entering their corresponding ASCII code with the CHAR function:

  1. Open the Superscript and Subscript Unicode CHAR Table in Google Sheets created by Ben Collins.
  2. You’ll see a table for superscript and subscript codes on different tables.
    1. The first column contains the characters.
    2. The second column contains the superscript or subscript character.
    3. The third column contains the corresponding ASCII code.
    4. The last column contains the CHAR function to display the corresponding subscript/superscript.
  3. Open the link and select the character that you need from the list. For example, if you want to enter x2, find the notation corresponding to the number 2 in the superscript table.

Copy the superscript code for the number 2

  1. Select the cell in the corresponding function column (in this case - 2) and press Ctrl + C on Windows or Command + C on Mac on your keyboard.
  2. Open the Google Sheet file where you need to place the superscript/subscript.
  3. Right-click on the desired cell, or select the cell and go to ‘Edit’ in the main bar menu and select ‘Paste Special’ > ‘Values only’ in the pop-up menu.

"Edit’ > ‘Paste Special’ > ‘Values only’

This will paste the superscript/subscript symbol in the cell.

superscript symbols in Google Sheets

  1. Use Unicode symbols

The second and easier method to insert subscripts and superscripts in Google Sheets is to use Unicode Symbols.

Unicode symbols are similar to emojis and you can copy and paste it in the text. There are a lot of sites online that offer a complete list of superscript and subscript Unicode symbols such as Graphemica, Compart, and Wikipedia.

  1. Open any of the sites containing the Unicode symbols and find the desired Unicode symbol. For example, for the chemical symbol for water (H20) we need a subscript 2. You can also search for it in the search bar at the top of the page.

Unicode symbol for the subscript for the number 2

  1. Copy the symbol for subscript/superscript for 2 by right-clicking, and pressing the ‘Copy’ option. Alternatively, you can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + C on Windows or Command + C on Mac.
  2. Paste the Unicode code for the subscript/superscript by right-clicking on the cell where you want to add it and selecting the ‘Paste’ option. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + V for Windows and Command + Shift + V on Mac to paste without formatting.

Subscript in Google Sheets

  1. Use Google Docs

Another way you can insert subscript and superscript in Google Sheets is to use the built-in Google Docs superscript and subscript formatting options. You can simply copy them from your doc and paste them onto your sheet.

  1. Open Google Docs.
  2. Write the values in the Google Docs file. (For example, H2O)
  3. Next, with the cursor, select the value to be converted into a superscript or subscript.
  4. Tap on ‘Format’ and select ‘Text’.
  5. In the pop-up menu, select ‘Superscript’ or ‘Subscript’. Alternatively, you can also use keyboard shortcuts. For superscript you can use Ctrl+. and for subscript, you can use Ctrl+,.

‘Format’ > ‘Text’ > select ‘Superscript’ or ‘Subscript’

  1. Now, just copy the value from the Google Sheets and paste it into the desired cell in Google Sheets.

Bonus read:
How to Color Every Other Row in Google Sheets

  1. Use third-party websites

One more way you can insert superscript and subscript in Google Sheets is to use superscript and subscript generators.

  1. Decide which superscript or subscript you need.
  2. Then go to the superscript generator or subscript generator, depending on your need.
  3. Type in the value in the left field and the superscript/subscript will automatically generate in the right field.
  4. Copy the generated superscript or subscript by right-clicking and selecting ‘Copy’. Alternatively, select the superscript/subscript and use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + C on Windows and Command + C on Mac.
  5. Paste the copied superscript/subscript in your Google Sheet.

If you want to learn more Google Sheets tips, check out how to use Google Sheets special characters and how to indent in Google Sheets.