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How to Type Negative Exponents in Word (Typing To The Negative Power)

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I previously published an article on this blog about different ways to type the Power of Numbers using the keyboard. In response to a reader’s inquiry in the post’s comments, this article explains how to type or insert negative exponents.

If you need to insert or type negative exponents in Microsoft Word, using the equation tool and superscript formatting are your best options. These options can help you type the power of any number, including negative numbers.

type negative exponents in Word

The equation tool is simply a feature in Microsoft Word that contains a gallery of built-in equations and equation templates from which you can point and click to insert whatever mathematical equation you want.

Superscript formatting is also a simple formatting feature that allows you to type small letters just above the line of text, making it possible to use it to type negative powers or exponents.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to type negative exponents or the power of negative numbers in MS Word documents using both the equation tool and superscript formatting. I will also show you how to type negative power using common characters that are generally accepted and can even be used to calculate negative exponents on calculators.

Without any further ado, let’s get started.

NOTE: I’m using Office 365 desktop on a windows 11 64-bit system. However, you can use earlier versions of MS Word.

Method 1: Using the Superscript Formatting to type the power of negative numbers in MS Word

This is the simplest method of typing the power of negative numbers or negative exponents in Microsoft Word.

Simply obey the following steps:

Step 1: Type both the base number and the negative exponent. For example, to type 3 to the power -2, type 3-2.

Step 2: Using your mouse, select only the -2.

Step 3: As the negative power is selected, navigate to the Home tab and click on the Superscript icon in the Font group. This will raise the selected characters just above the regular line of text.

You can also use a shortcut to apply the superscript formatting once the text is selected. Simply press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [+] simultaneously on your keyboard after the selection.

inserting the power of negative numbers in Word using superscript formatting

This is how you insert or type negative power in Microsoft Word.

Method 2: Insert or Type Negative Exponents in Word Using the Equation Tool

Obey the following steps to insert or type negative exponents or the power of negative numbers in Word.

Step 1:

Launch your Word document where you want to type the negative exponent.

Step 2:

Position the cursor where you want to type or insert the power of negative numbers.

Step 3:

Now, bring up the equation editor. To do so, press [Alt] + [=] on your Keyboard. This shortcut will open the equation editor toolbar and the equation edit box. The equation edit box looks like the screenshot below:

typing negative exponents in Word - Equation text box

You can also bring up the Equation editor by going to the Insert Tab in the Symbols group. Click on the arrow next to the Equation button, then click Insert New Equation at bottom of the drop-down.

This action will bring up the equation edit box shown above and then the equation editor tab or toolbar shown below.

typing negative exponents in Word - Equation editor tab

Note: Once the Equation edit box appears, don’t click away from it. Clicking anywhere outside of the equation editor box will make the equation tab or toolbar to disappear and returns to the previous editing mode. When that happens, simply click on the equation object to return the Equation tab, then click on it to display the equation toolbar again.

Step 4:

Now that both the Equation toolbar and the Equation edit box are shown, navigate to the Equation tab, under the Structures group, click on the Script button to display the script dropdown.

Now Click on Superscript under the Subscripts and Superscripts category.

typing negative exponents in Word - Insert the Superscript equation

This action will insert the superscript structure or template.

typing negative exponents in Word - the exponent equation

Step 5:

Fill the template or structure with your base number and the negative exponent.

To do so, simply click on the first box and type the base number, then click also on the superscript box and type minus (-) followed by the negative number.

inserting the power of negative numbers in Word

After filling the superscript structure with your negative exponent, simply click outside the equation to dismiss the equation toolbar.

And if you want to edit it again, all you need to do is click on the equation box.

There you have it, a step-by-step guide to type any negative exponent in Microsoft Word using the equation tool.

Generally accepted way to type Negative Power or exponents

Writing exponents with a pen is freaking easy. All you do is write the base number and put the exponent slightly above the base number.

But things get a little confusing when you try to do the same thing on the keyboard or a calculator.

With the methods described above, the problem is solved if only you want to type and print the negative exponents.

What if you want to type the negative power into a scientific calculator and have it return the result? That’s kind of complicated, right?

Well, the symbol used to represent exponents is the caret symbol (^). Thus, when writing math equations, you can use the caret symbol to show that you are writing exponents.

For example, to type 3 to the power -2, you can type the following:

2^(-2)

The above equation is valid and is a generally accepted way of typing negative powers or exponents.

Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions. Thank you.

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