How do I type superscripts and subscripts using keyboard shortcuts?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by johnbro23, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. johnbro23 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'm taking notes in stats and I'm always having to use the ^ to represent a squared number, and writing out "sub" before everything that is subscript. Any way to just type in super/subscript?
  2. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    I don't think there are any keyboard shortcuts that can help you, but there are some unicode characters that can be used in place of changing the point size and doing a baseline shift.


    Depends if the font you're using contains them too, I think. Anyway they can be found in the character pallet under "Digits".
  3. Ish macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    You can do it in Pages. Select the character you want to change and press

    ctrl-:apple:-plus for superscript
    ctrl-:apple:-minus for subscript
  4. Luciapalooza macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2008
    Subscript and Superscript

    I figured out to type subscripts and superscripts if you're using Microsoft Word on your Mac

    Subscript: :apple: + (=/+) then type what you want

    Superscript: shift + :apple: + (=/+) then type what you want

    it keeps you in either subscript or supercript mode when you use these shortcuts.

    I hope I helped
  5. TJW macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2008
    for mac, e.g. pages:

    Subscript = (cmd)+(ctrl)+(-)

    Superscript = (cmd) + (ctrl) + (shift) + (=)

    As (shift) + (=) = (+)
  6. guneves macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2009
    do not work :(

    Those shortcuts do not work for me :(

    I am on an MacBook Aluminum 13" with MacOS X Tiger.
    Are those only for Microsoft word?

    I realy need the ²²²²²

  7. bmpwe macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2006
    I know this is a super old thread, but just wanted to say thanks for the tip. Helped me out alot.
  8. MRWZRD macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2010
    Salem, OR
    Shortcut for Subscript and Superscript Text

    I just wanted to clarify that these are the correct shortcuts and fully function is Microsoft Office for Mac 2008.

  9. dfrost303 macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2011
    Subscript: command + (=)

    Superscript: command + (+)

    this also works in safari
  10. UtahRugbyGuy macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2008
    It's just available in some programs and not others, not system-wide.

    It just sucks because you can do it in both Adobe InDesign and Photoshop using Command + Shift + (+) ...but not Illustrator. The day Photoshop has superior type editing functionality than Illustrator, well, maybe the Adobe Illustrator team is just slacking. It's not like it's some unusual request. I'm 100 percent positive you used to be able to do it in older Illustrator versions.

    Currently the only way to do it is manually in the character palette options menu. ...really blows.
  11. AdeFowler macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2004
    The type engine in illustrator has always sucked. Why Adobe can't have a consistent approach to type across all their apps is beyond me.
  12. owlcourt macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2011
    Superscript in Mac Word

    For superscript in Word for Mac:
    Highlight the number
    Go to Format / Font / click superscript / OK
    That's it; you're done.
  13. Anishpar macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2012
    Office for Mac 2011 Shortcuts

    Word 2011---
    Superscript:  + Shift + (=)
    Subscript:  + (=)

    Powerpoint 2011 ---
    Superscript:  + Shift + (=)
    Subscript:  + Shift + (-)
  14. mentaluproar macrumors 68000


    May 25, 2010
    Ohio, USA
    I cannot get these shortcuts working in pages. Any ideas?

    edit: forgot to shift. That a really cumbersome combination. Is there a way to change it?
  15. nickzaf98 macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2013
    MacBook Pro Retina - OS X 10.8.4

    You need to hold the cmd and the +
  16. tis220 macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2013
    subscript: shift + cmd + -
    superscript: shift + cmd + =
  17. Piggy Malone macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2013

    Thank you. Such a simple solution. Saved me hours of experimenting.
  18. DeanLubaki macrumors 6502a


    May 29, 2014
    Sorry for waking up an old thread but really, hasn't anybody found a system-wide way to use subscripts? I would be really useful to me as I have a lot of chemical formulas to type! :confused:

  19. henryseiden macrumors member


    Aug 24, 2009
    There are really several aspects to this and therefore several possible solutions.

    Areas of concern:
    • Typing in applications- document composition applications like Pages, Word. Spreadsheets and other specific apps like Excel, the various Adobe suites, and others. You probably guessed that each app or suite will have potentially it's unique way of handling super (and sub-) scripting, which is what you are referring to.
    • Typing in text apps, note-taking apps.
    • Typing in specific others like Terminal, Messaging, Email that are more closely associated with the OS and tied to specific OS character settings.
    • System wide setting of specific character combinations like 1st, 2nd, etc. These might also affect Web browser apps like the one I'm using now.

    Possible solutions:
    • Set System-wide superscripts. You would have to force superscripts for '1st, 2nd...' or for the last numeric character typed before a space to force those following specific two letters as superscripts WHERE THEY OCCUR. I actually had this working, sorta nicely at one time, but then it stopped. Windows does this rather elegantly somehow. I still seem to have a character substitution in place for 0ᵀᴴ (e.g., 100th is typed as 0ᵀᴴ and put the '10' or other characters before it), as an example. You would also have to do this for common fractions like, '½, ¼, etc.' Mac's error correcting schema seems to occur automatically for specific combinations. Uncommon fractions would require manual intervention. Three (or more) character fractions E.G., '13/16, 5/16, 3/32'. Clearly, the characters exist in the table, somewhere.
    • Manually in specific applications. In ADDITION to doing the above apps tend to control the characters' use and do not follow the system settings. You would have to use a specific keystroke for each program for that. The autocorrect or system settings might work sporadically for this or learn it and work great. I have had limited success.

    It would be nice to have a common solution that works across ALL apps and scenarios. It doesn't seem possible in Mac OS or at least it's unreliable as it is now or has been in OS X.
  20. henryseiden macrumors member


    Aug 24, 2009
    FYI, there is. Try the $4.99 by Tran Ky Nam ( It works as text substitution in any app or limited to specific apps, as you wish. It far exceeds (and replaces) the supplied substitutions in System Preferences>Keyboard>Text.

    As example, typing a number '2', the character 'st' followed by a space substitutes 2ᴺᴰ (which are the Unicode superscripted upper case characters). This, as you can see here, is applicable in ALL apps (as it modifies the system settings, unless restricted. Also, common fractions can be typed directly, like ½ and ¾. Also ℅ ™, etc. substitutions. You do have to be careful not to inadvertently use some of them.

    Works in Yosemite and earlier OS's back to Mountain Lion that by default support Unicode per an Apple KB article.
  21. Wise Young macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2015
    In Microsoft Word 2011, you type [Command]+[Shift]+[=] to generate a superscript and [Command]+[=] to generate a subscript of selected text.

    In Powerpoint 2011, you type [Command]+[Shift]+[=] to generate a superscript and [Command]+[Shift]+[-] to generat a subscript of selected text.

    In Keynote 6.5.2, you type [Command]+[Control]+[Shift]+[=] to generate a superscript and [Command]+[Control]+[-] to generate a subscript of selected text.
  22. shelleyu macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2015
    Trying to use these shortcuts on an imac running yosemite and windows office 2011, none of these short cuts seem to work (in Excel) :(

    also, do i type the number then the shortcuts, or the shortcuts and number at the same time or.....
  23. snipper macrumors regular


    Feb 9, 2004
    Yes, this thread is an oldie, but it shows up top of the list in Google so it might as wel give a real answer: Even in 2018, in 10.11.6 El Capitan Mail there is no keyboard shortcut in OS X Mail for superscript / subscript or – my personal fhateforite – strikethrough.

    However, you might want to know you can create a 'Favorite Style' for superscript, subscript or strikethrough in TextEdit and apply that in Mail by selecting the character and choosing it from the right-click options Font > Styles.

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22 February 1, 2007