I have to write equations that have a lot of subscripts. What is the shortcut key in Microsoft Office to write subscripts in equations?

  • Office 2007 (for Word) and 2010 (more widely) has a completely new equation editor compared to previous versions. So, what version of Office? – Richard Apr 7 '10 at 9:54
  • The newest version. – Phenom Apr 7 '10 at 13:57

In Office's built-in equation editor you can type ^ (caret) for superscript followed by your text, and subscript is _ (underscore) followed by the text.

You must enter a space after entering. For example,

e_r SPACE next letter 

will give you


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  • 2
    Just like LaTeX! That's great. It would be nice if the menu buttons still worked... – vy32 Aug 6 '16 at 16:46

Any of the answers suggested above did not directly work for me. However, I cracked the problem with a little clarification.

To subscript a character in equation editor:
1. Type an underscore '_'.
2. Press the space bar
3. This creates a small dotted box in the subscript.
4. click on the box and type the text that has to go in the subscript.

To Superscript:
Repeat all above steps with a carat '^' instead of an underscore.

Note: The above was tried on Microsoft word 2013.

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  • This is the only answer that worked for me. Simple and clear, thank you! – Luis B Jun 24 '17 at 16:05

For example

  • a1 consists of 2
  • b1 =a1^2 displays 4
  • c1 @sum(a1^3) displays 8
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I have tried everyone's suggestions, and nothing has worked, but I finally figured out what was going on. I use Word 2013, and write out a lot of tests for math and physical science, which include many formulas with subscripts. However, most of my formulas in physical science use "Normal Text" (text that is not italicized). When you are using Normal Text, the "SHIFT" + "underscore and subscript" + "space" that everyone else had shared does not work. It was only when I clicked on the "Normal Text" setting in the upper left corner of the screen next to the "Equation" dropdown (while in Equation Editor), to turn OFF Normal Text, that the shortcut of "SHIFT" + "_(subscript)" actually worked.

So if you are typing an equation that uses regular text instead of italicized text, make sure you have de-selected "Normal Text" in the upper left of the screen before attempting to use the shortcut keys for subscripts.

Example: To type NaNO3 and make the 3 a subscript, but have the text regular and not italicized, do the following:

  1. Type ALT+= to start Equation Editor.
  2. Click on "abc Normal Text" in the upper left to make the text not have italics ("abc Normal Text" should now be highlighted in blue)
  3. Type "NaNO" (Do NOT type a space after the normal text if you want the subscript to be immediately after the last letter.)
  4. Click again on "abc Normal Text" to return to the usual italics text used in most math equations
  5. Type the underline "_" and the subscript after it, with NO spaces in between, such as "_3"
  6. NOW type a space.

The 3 should now be subscripted following the O. You can then click on "abc Normal Text" again to continue typing the equation.

Hope this helps.

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  • did you know that you are amazing? Thank you – Nickool Dec 16 '15 at 3:26
  • in other words the code for the subscript in equation is _space so you should type underline space and then you will have the subscript:) – Nickool Dec 16 '15 at 3:27

With Microsoft Word Equation Editor 3.0 or 3.1:

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  • CTRL + H puts you into superscript mode
  • CTRL + L puts you into subscript mode
  • CTRL + J assigns both a superscript and a subscript


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You can find more keyboard shortcuts here.

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*Superscript: Press CTRL+SHIFT+ =

*Subscript: Press CTRL+ =

Supposedly. I don't have Office so i can't confirm this, but it's what a Google search got me. Let me know if it works!

EDIT: apperently for equation manager CTRL+L does subscript while CTRL+H does superscript. Once again. i googled it so it would be awesome if someone could check it out.

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    Those are the usual shortcuts for general text, but operations in the equation editor are rather different (for a start there are many more options for sub- and super-script layout). – Richard Apr 7 '10 at 9:55
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    None of the shortcuts mentioned work. – Phenom Apr 16 '10 at 19:30

type Alt+=, to start an equation. type V than an underscore and a space, it will display a box in the subscript next to "V" type in anything in the subscript box. For example Vmax.

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  • 1
    This duplicates another answer and adds no new content. Please don't post an answer unless you actually have something new to contribute. – DavidPostill Jun 26 '15 at 10:09

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