I have a formula in Excel that evaluates the l_x's (number of lives aged x) in mortality data:

=IF(J3>J2,"l_x increased",IF(J3/J2-1>=devianceThreshold,"Deviance too high",""))

Accross the spreadsheet I refer to the l_x's as lx, where the x is a subscript.

When I press CTRL + SHIFT + F, nothing happens.

Is there a way to make the x a subscript in a formula, like the one above?

It's not a big deal if it can't be done, but nevertheless it would be nice, from an aesthetic point of view.

1 Answer 1


You can't set sub-cell formatting in a formula cell, as far as I know. You could use the Unicode character U+2093 (Latin Subscript Small Letter X: ₓ), which seems to render OK in Calibri or Arial (Excel 2010, Windows 7). There is a Unicode block dedicated to superscripts and subscripts.

I just realised this has the advantage of not changing the Excel row height as well. Bonus!

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