How to Type Subscript in Word (+ Shortcut)


A subscript in Microsoft Word is a feature that allows you to type characters slightly below the normal line of type. Subscripts are usually smaller than the rest of the text and appear at or below the baseline.

How to Type Subscript in Word Example with H2O

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to type subscript in Microsoft Word using different methods including shortcuts.

Without any further ado, let’s get started.

Type subscript in Word using shortcut

The shortcut for subscript in word is ‘Ctrl’ + ‘=’ for Windows. And for Mac, press ‘⌘’ + ‘=’ (Command + Equal sign) in Word 2016 and later. In Word 2011, use ‘⌘’ + ‘-‘ (Command + minus sign).

Subscript shortcut in Word

To type subscript in Word using the keyboard shortcut:

  • Type the text you want as subscript and then highlight it. For instance, to type H2O, type H2O and then select the 2 in the middle.
subscript shortcut in Word
Select the text you want to subscript
  • Press and hold the Ctrl key. If you are on Mac, press the Command ⌘ key instead.
  • Whilst pressing down the Ctrl or Command key, press the Equal sign. If you are using the older version of Word on Mac, press Command ⌘ plus the minus sign (-) instead.
  • After pressing these hotkeys, if any text was selected, it’ll now be formatted as a subscript. However, if there’s no text selected, the insertion pointer will switch to the subscript mode which allows you to type characters slightly below the normal line of type with smaller text than the rest of the text.
  • Press the same shortcut or hotkeys to switch the insertion pointer to the normal type.

This is how you may use the subscript keyboard shortcut to type subscripts in Microsoft Word.

Using the Subscript button on the Home tab

Another easy method you can use to type subscripts in Word is the dedicated subscript button on the Home tab.

With this approach, you can highlight any text and change it to subscript with just a click on a button. Or clicking the button will switch the insertion pointer to subscript mode so that you can now type text as subscript.

To use this method, obey the following instructions:

  • Type the text you wish to format as subscript and select it. Alternatively, just place the insertion pointer at where you want to type the subscript.
subscript shortcut in Word
  • Go to the Home tab, in the Font group, click on the X2 button.
Go to Home>Font and click on the Subscript button
  • As soon as you click on the subscript button, the selected text will be subscripted.
  • If there wasn’t any text selected, the insertion pointer will switch to the subscript mode by turning to a smaller insertion pointer.
  • Type the text you want as subscript and then click on the button again to switch back to normal type mode.

These are the steps involve in using this method.

Using the Font dialog

You can also use the font dialog box to quickly format your text as subscript.

To do so, obey the instructions in the following steps.

  • Select the text you wish to format as subscript.
How to Type Subscript in Word Example with H2O
  • Press Ctrl+D to open up the Font dialog box. Alternatively, click the Font launcher on the Home tab.
Font launcher in Word
  • The Font dialog box will appear with the font tab active. In the Effects group, click to select the Subscript check box.
Select the subscript checkbox
  • Click OK.

After you select the subscript effects and hit OK on the font dialog box, the selected text will be formatted as subscript text.

To remove the subscript effect, follow the same steps and deselect the subscript checkbox then click OK.

This is how you may use the font dialog to perform this task.

Inserting subscript symbols in Word

This method doesn’t involve formatting text as subscript as in the previous methods. There are subscript symbols that you can insert into your document. These symbols remain subscript no matter how you format them.

In this section, you’ll learn all the available methods to get any subscript symbols into your Word document.

Without any further ado, let’s get started.

Using the Symbol’s dialog box

This is the easiest method to get any subscript symbol in Word. It involves launching the Symbol’s dialog box to select the subscript symbol you want to insert into your document.

Obey the following instructions to insert any subscript symbol in Word using the Symbol’s dialog box.

  • Place the insertion pointer at the location you want to insert the symbol.
  • Click on the Insert tab.
Click on the Insert tab
  • Navigate to the Symbol’s group and select the Symbol drop-down. From the drop-down menu, click on More Symbols.
Go to Symbols>More Symbols
  • On this Symbol’s dialog box, select the ‘Superscripts and Subscripts‘ from the Subset: drop-down list.
Select superscript ans subscript from the Subset drop-down list
  • Now, Word will display all the subscript and superscript symbols for you to choose from.
  • Select the subscript symbol you want to insert and click on the Insert button. Alternatively, double-click on the symbol you want to insert. For example, to insert the subscript 2 or 1 symbol, double click on it.
subscript 1 symbol in Word

This is how you may use the symbol’s dialog box to insert any subscript symbol in Microsoft Word.

Using subscripts Alt codes (Shortcut)

This is my least favorite method to insert the subscript symbol in Word. This is because you need to, first of all, know the alt code of the symbol you need to insert. And we are talking about hundreds of symbols here. That’s a lot of alt codes you have to remember.

However, if you are still interested, below are the steps to use the alt code to type subscript symbols in Word.

  • First of all, get the alt code. A simple google search can give you the alt code for any symbol.

Alternatively, you can get the alt code of any subscript symbol on the Symbol’s dialog box. Just launch the symbol’s dialog box by navigating to Insert>Symbols>Insert Symbols. select Superscripts and Subscripts from the Subset: drop-down list and select the Symbol you want to insert. At the bottom of the dialog, you’ll see the character code of the selected symbol.

  • Now that you have the alt code, type it in your Word document, select it and press Alt+X on your keyboard to convert the character code to a subscript symbol.

This is how you may insert subscript symbols in Word using Alt code.

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